Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Very Special Theory of Relativity

Einstein, trying to put into laymen’s terms the concept of relativity, explained it like this. “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity.”

Time, being relative, insists the closer an object is to the speed of light the slower time acts upon that object. Theoretically then if an object could travel at the speed of light then that object, or person, would cease to age. But, according to Mr. Einstein, that is a scientific impossibility. He explained that as an object approaches the speed of light its mass increases and therefore needs more energy to push it faster. Hmmmmm….

So this was the little rat running around in the maze of my mind last night. It was well past midnight, the espresso buzz was just an aftertaste in my mouth, and I was ready for bed. These are the moments, the dawn and the dusk of memory, the hazy in betweens, when the mind is tired and susceptible to all sorts of strange perceptions. In this purgatory, the fragments of dreams and lost memories mingle with wayward thoughts and many other things I suppose. So it was that I found my self thinking of Einstein and of first grade and Misty, my first childhood crush.

First grade. I remember that there were four white-washed cinder block walls in our over-crowded class room. They all met at their respective corners each with its own unique smell. I remember that cutting in the lunch line was a cardinal crime but much less about hunger or impatience, than it was a way to find one’s place, the daily litmus test of loyalty. I remember that, in our text books, scientists always looked disheveled, their shoes perpetually untied. And though each morning our mothers made sure we’d never be scientists, by day’s end the halls were full of wild haired Einsteins tripping over our laces. Then as the schooldays would slip out of spring’s pink cardigan and into the clinging green cotton dress of summer, as kickball games on cul-de-sacs and warm water ponds pulled at us with the promise of new friends and caught fish, the clock on the wall slowed proving Mr. Einstein right once and for all.

But what I remember most about the first grade is my own special theory of relativity; that there is nothing heavier, no greater weight than a folded piece of paper with the words “Will you be my girlfriend?” written on it. And that there are no wider wings, none more light or made for flight than those one gets when upon opening that same blue-lined loose leaf one sees that emerald-eyed Misty, the strawberry blonde, has checked the little box marked yes.

Einstein theory also posited the interchangeability of mass and energy. E=mc2 was his brilliant equation for that. I believe that as we approach the end of all things. As we approach the light of God’s infinite love we are going to be changed. That matter and energy will be one. That our glorified bodies will be of that perfect, densest, most indestructible of stuffs called spirit. I believe we will cease to age having come to exist finally in the light of Abba’s presence. But even if I’m wrong, even if time doesn’t stop, just being in the presence of The Father’s most wonderful love, it will seem to.


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