She has daddy all to herself is the thought I had as I watched this four-year-old girl having breakfast with her father. I was sitting by myself at a table against the wall in this posh, high-ceilinged, hotel dining room in Philadelphia: white tablecloths, chandeliers, tall windows looking out on the street. And there she was, this little girl, playing with a piece of bread in a look-at-me-daddy sort of way. She had turned the piece of bread into an airplane and was making little swooping motions. And sitting there, in what looked like a pink ballet outfit, arching her back and kicking her legs which didn’t reach the floor, she had her father’s complete attention. She had him all to herself. And knew it.
As a grownup, we forget how big little was. When we’re little, there’s almost no such thing as little—everything’s big. And big isn’t something you measure. It’s something you feel. It’s intricacies and dimensions you can’t explain. The “daddy” she has all to herself might as well be a hundred miles across. He’s a kind of everything. And why shouldn’t she have all his attention? She’s at the center of the world. She IS the center of the world—CREATOR OF TIME. Not quantity time—the time that exists in our heads—the time the world calls “time.” But quality time—the time that exists in our bones, the time we’re practically made of, the time that, like taste or smell, can’t be measured or spelled out but forms the “world” through which we see and hear and feel the world.
Once upon a time, space itself was time. It was time as time was “meant” to be. Where an airplane made of bread moving this way and that could create magical space and magical time in the magical zone before our eyes. The little girl was carving the air with a piece of bread, creating space within space, and time within time, and worlds within worlds—all within the undivided warmth of her father’s love. It was twenty years ago. And, for sure, she’s forgotten it—that little time, that time of times, when she had daddy all to herself. But time remembers. Not passing time, the time that flows over us, but the fullness and intimacy of time, the time at the heart of each of us. Something in her will remember even now the time when she was “all there was” and her father was “all there was”—when a moment of time was time itself or time herself—not a “span” of time—but a “seed” of time—a deep down feeling of Love or God that grows still—long after she’s forgotten.
© Jon Pearson 2-5-2023
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