The Ends of Comprehension
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“Ya bring the right end around the other end and pass it through this loop. Then ya jus tighten yer knot.”
“I got it Dad. But you didn’t answer my question.” He rolled his eyes again and got that look like he was afraid of answering, at least with a direct answer.
“You said time began when God created the earth, right?”
“That’s right son.”
“But God has no beginning and no ending?”
“But how can that be? How can something that is, never have started?”
The ends of my rope were well secured together, but the two ends of time were flapping wildly in my young 15 year-old mind. I needed to understand this paradox of time and God’s infinite nature. Bless his heart, Dad was doing his best to help, but becoming quite frustrated. He eluded the question again.
“It’s time to make another pass with the gill-net.”
“Will you explain it later?”
“I told you all I know. Now get on the other end and help me load it back into the boat.” It was my turn for the eye roll. Shrugging, I threw my hands up in defeat, yet obeyed my Father. We loaded up, shoving offshore for another haul of mullet.
The Gulf of Mexico and our nets, offered up a wide variety of sea fare. The best of which we were required to throw back, like the beautiful snook and red fish. We caught lots of junk fish too, like sting rays, sea urchins, starfish, sea-horses and horseshoe crabs to name a few.
Dad had always been a good provider for our family of six and made a good wage at his regular job. The fishing was a favorite pastime, which put extra grub on the table. Selling from fifty to a hundred pounds of filets a week afforded an abundance for the nicer things, while still meeting the financial demands of the family. And every member was required to assist in some way. Either clean the fish, make deliveries, or catch them. I was happy doing the latter. Back then, $200.00 a week extra was like a thousand today. Every end was met except for the quandary of me comprehending the incomprehensible.
I tried imagining no beginning to God’s existence, but the more I thought on it the more bewildering it became. Then there was eternity—no ending either. How would I ever reconcile this with a logical mind? There were no ends to meet together to tie up a clear understanding.
It was in the truck on the way home that Dad lit up like Arora Borealis and broke the silence between us.
“It has a beginning and it has an end. One day there will be no more time.”
“But aren’t days a part of time?”
“Be quiet. Listen. I meant that at some point time will expire and not exist anymore. God created time. He exists outside of it.”
“Okay, I can understand that.”
There’s no possible way you or I are able to reconcile God’s pre-existence, because we are not infinite as He is. One day, when eternity begins, I think we will understand. For now, we just take it on faith that God has always existed and He always will.”
I believe that dad, I just wish I could understand it now, rather than later.” Dad grinned.
“Maybe you could think on it while you help clean the fish.”
“What? I helped catch em!”
“Everyone else is busy this weekend. It’s you and me son. Don’t worry, you have plenty of time!”
Twenty years later, while shaving, I visualized my dad’s bewildered face looking back at me from the mirror. My son Daniel had just asked a question.
“Dad, how can it be possible that God never had a beginning?” Seems he had some loose ends that needed to meet up.
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This is brilliant. What a shame it didn't make the deadline. I remember struggling with the same thing as your young MC. It wasn't until I was an adult that I began to understand that time is totally a man made invention. I also remember a Native American story about the old woman who said the earth lay upon a tortoise back. When asked what the tortious was standing on, she answered a bigger tortoise. When asked what that one stood on she answered Don't bother to keep asking. It's tortoises all the way down Sonny. I even wrote a story on it too. It is difficult at times to wrap our human minds around God issues. Your dialog was realistic and you did a fine job of developing the characters. I really liked this.
It's a shame you didn't get this one in. It is excellent. I remember when making 4.65 an hour paid my rent and raised my son. I always made ends meet with very little problem. That was the good old days. As I said. this is excellent writing here. Loved the entire piece.