“Mom, I have to tell you something,” says Goldi crunching her favorite graham cracker cereal.
A story is coming. I ready myself by opening my ears even though I am waiting for the water to boil for my morning cup of tea.
“Ok. I’m listening,” I say looking at her eyes that I look as though they have wandered all around the world.
“Well, Annie told me that Mr. Brown went water skiing on Lake Michigan. He did some flips!”
My eyebrows are raised. I can’t picture her very serious and sensible history teacher on water skis and certainly not doing flips!
“How does Annie know this?”
Suddenly I sound like a detective.
“Annie said that Mr. Brown told her class.”
“Really, Mr. Brown did?”
“Yes! Mom! Mr. Brown said that he went water skiing on Lake Michigan!”
I squint and try to picture this man wearing a bright orange life jacket on two skis sliding across the lake behind a boat bouncing on the waves. The image is fuzzy and is tainted by my cemented notions.
“So when did he go skiing then?”
“Probably about two weeks ago!” Goldi insists.
Two weeks ago it was 30 something degrees.
“That’s impossible!” interjects her brother who is also sitting at the table munching.
Logic and reason and all things realistic are what makes any story valid enough to tell according to her brother.
“He probably went water skiing this past summer. ” I conclude.
“Well, ” she says looking out into the distance. “Yeah, well, probably,” she says still uncertain, “I can’t believe he did that! That is so crazy!”
Goldi laughs heartily.
I envision Mr. Brown a little more clearly. He is smiling wide as he “sticks” his landing after doing a double flip.
“Wow!” I said. “That is really something!” I said smiling big.
“Yeah!” said Goldi smiling and giggling.
“Mom!” her brother’s whisper blasts into my ear drum. “Mr. Brown did not go water skiing two weeks ago! Why does she always say things happened two weeks ago?”
Every story that Goldi has told happened two weeks ago. I don’t know why. It’s her way of saying “Once upon a time.” It happened. She just doesn’t know when. Nor does she really care. It’s a story that is worth telling. When she is sleeping, remembering, and dreaming, all those stories are racing around in her mind. The one that captures her attention will be told at a time when Goldi suddenly feels it is the right time to tell it.
Once upon a time has begun so many stories that have been a part of her life. It begins the story of Cinderella before she married the prince. It begins Goldilocks and the Three Bears before Goldilocks fell asleep in baby bear’s bed. It begins the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker before the elves appear and worked their magic. Once upon a time starts all those stories that says it happened. Maybe it happened in the dream world. Maybe it happened in the real world. Maybe it happened in a little bit of both worlds. Two weeks ago and once upon a time, is enough. What’s next is what counts. And so the story is told and the only thing that really matters is that it is not when it happened in her wildest dreams or in real life, but that it becomes a story that became part of her. So it is worth telling and remembering and keeping.
Goldi is keeping many stories I have yet to know. There may be a time when she will tell them. What she may recall over this past year 2020! What she may not! Nonetheless, what she has remembered, dreamed, and kept, happened not just in a time that has now passed, but in a time two weeks ago and once upon a time, there are stories that she has remembered for a reason.
Sometimes it is frustrating that her awareness of time does not go beyond day and night or when she was younger and now she is older. Something from the past is just as real as if it has just happened. I sigh because in her mind, time is so irrelevant.
But then, I smile. I smile because time IS so irrelevant to her. Two weeks ago, and once upon a time, someone began a story. The One who always was. He said “Let there be Light and it seems it doesn’t matter exactly when, but what matters most is that that Light appeared and it still is here. It happened long ago, and it is happening now. This is a story that never ends. Time cannot put this story in its place and it will exist beyond time. For it will always will be two weeks, once upon a time, and for all eternity.
“In the beginning, God” Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word” John 1
2 Peter 3:3 For with the Lord, one day is as thousand years, and thousand years as one day.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.