The Time Machine
Have you ever taken a backwards glance and wished you could rewrite the story of your life? At such moments you might wish for a time machine, through whose magic you could place the bet you kept in your pocket or call the lover whose message you ignored. All would be done in the name of happiness – and not happiness then, but happiness now. Recently I have had the opportunity to do just that, via the time machine of the memoir. The first draft was the story as I had always told it to myself: the story of how my wife and I taught my son. He had challenges, and we helped him where others couldn’t. Nice story. Plus, in this story I am a kind of hero, a wise and compassionate father who guided his struggling son. But it wasn’t working. It wasn’t working, that is, until I saw that it was not the story of how I taught him, but how he taught me.
And so I began to rewrite this story. The story covered the same years and dealt more or less with the same events, but it was a very different story. Moreover, it was a story of my life I had never told. I knew it was true – that is, I knew I had believed one thing before I began the journey of being his father and that I believed something else after so many years of that experience – but I didn’t know why. I decided to write the book again and find out.
This is the best time machine ever invented. Instead of traveling backwards and changing what I did wrong, I stay right where I am and see what was right. Without my fear, I would not have found any courage, and without my nearsightedness I could not have learned to see. As a storyteller, my flaws, foibles, and frustrations are all narrative gold.
And my life, I see, can indeed be revisited whenever I please. It’s comforting to know. We must crave time machines because we perceive the past as unalterable, for it has already happened. Yet to know the past is just as much an act of imagination as to know the future, and requires every bit as much trust. Seeing as you are in neither place, you must trust that your intention always has been and always will be to know love.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com