Dear U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology,
I was initially pissed when I read that you'd be extending 2005 by one second. I mean, who the hell do you think you are? As far as 2005 is concerned, and I think my friends would agree with me, I want out. But you come along and tell us we have to stay in it for a whole other second? I planned on writing you a long hate letter filled with threats and obscenities. But then I decided that, since it is the holidays, I should cut you some slack. I guess if there's anything I've learned from this year it's that creation (that's what we call the stuff you Science People observe,) doesn't always behave the way we want it to and that adjustments should be made here and there. So for the decision to keep this year in play for a bit longer, I forgive you.
But hold on a second, you won't escape this letter completely unscathed. Yes, I forgive you for adding the second to the year, but would it have hurt you so bad to put it somewhere else? I know it's just a second. In the grand scheme of things it's a fraction of a blip on a small puzzle piece of time. But in our lives, a second is powerful. I could have used that second somewhere else.
Earlier in the year Kyle came over for a lunch of Fajita Quesadillas I had prepared. We met for lunch about once a week and occasionally had it over at my place. Normally we'd just catch up. Talk about the kids, his sermon, my work, what we were reading. This particular time the conversation seemed to be sweeter than normal. We both talked about God and how difficult prayer can be with all the years of deconstruction and cynicism rolling around in our minds. We talked about who we are and where we are going and, in the end, about how blessed we were to be where we were. If he didn't have a 1:00 meeting we would have probably talked for hours. But he had to go. But before he left, he looked at his watch and said that he should get going. We then sat in silence for a few moments, reflecting. I thought about how blessed I was to have such a good friend. I'm not sure what he was thinking at that time, but I'd like to believe he was thinking the same thing. But then he had to go. That extra second would have been perfect right then and there.
After my birthday dinner in September we all came over to my place for ice cream and peach cobbler. We sat around the table and talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. At one point toward the end of the evening Kyle and I got up to go to the kitchen to get a refill at the same time. With everyone else in the other room telling stories, he put his glass down and spread his arms open wide, inviting me for a hug and saying in his high-pitched laughter voice "Happy Birthday!" It was a strong embrace punctuated with a question from Kyle..."You know I love you, don't you?"
How about then, U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, why couldn't you have put that extra second there?
If you went to his funeral you would have heard me tell about the last time I saw him. In Sunday School I looked over and saw him peaking around the corner, trying to get Jen and/or my attention. When I looked at him he gave his giggle and disappeared around the corner. I would have given everything I had to you, all of it, if you would have placed that second then and there. You probably took the day off that Sunday morning, leaving me with less time than I needed.
But all that is a done deal and you have to live with the consequences. If adding the second to the end of the year is your penance, then so be it. I've learned that I can use it. It's more potent than it was before and I'll use every nanosecond of that extra second doing what David suggested at the funeral, allowing gratitude to defeat grief. For one second I'll say "Thank You."
And then I'll be out of this year, and you, U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, won't be able to do a thing about it.