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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Minute

The other day while cleaning my room, I found the most unusual thing. A minute – curled up under the bed. I thought it was dead, so I nudged it a bit, and then stood back and waited. The minute slowly came to life.

I was in awe of this minute, though it was wholly unremarkable in nature. It was small, no bigger than a… well, you know, but it had a certain quality about it that peaked my interest. So I spoke to it.

“Minute. What are you doing here, under my bed?”

“I’m waiting for you. I’ve been here for years, waiting for you to find me. Other minutes have come and gone, but I have stayed –waiting. I was beginning to think you’d never come,” the minute replied matter-of-factly.

I thought for a moment, and I tried to remember this minute, but it looked too much like the others, and I couldn’t place it. The minute addressed my unspoken words.

“We are all alike. A minute is a minute. It’s what you do with us that makes us different from one another. The others—the millions and billions and trillions – they were wasted minutes. They’re gone forever.”

I was sad at that thought, that so many beautiful little minutes had been thrown away by me.

“So, what are you still doing here?” I asked.

“Well,” it said slowly, “I’m a saved minute. I’m different. But you forgot about me many years ago. For awhile you were scared of me and so when you looked at me your fear saw a monster. Then I became a shadow of nothing, forgotten, but not gone. So that when you looked at me, your apathy saw nothing. But now it’s different."

“What’s different?” I asked.

“Why, you are!” said the minute. “You see, I’ve never changed. In all these years I’ve always been just a minute. You’ve changed. And now you see me as I am.”

I took a moment and looked at the tiny minute lying there under my bed. I thought about all the minutes of the world. All the minutes in one life. What a powerful tool a minute is, I thought. In a minute, tragedy and beauty can both be born. In a minute, our country can change forever from a plane hitting a tower. Life destroyed by fear and hate. In a minute a life is lost. Or a child is born. In a minute, two lovers are wed. Or divorce papers are signed. And each choice in each minute is the culmination of all the minutes that have come before it. No minute is insignificant.

A minute can change the world, or it can change nothing. In a minute we can listen to a commercial, or we can add something new to the world. In a minute, we can pollute our bodies with junk, or we can fill them with life. It’s the choice we make in one minute that changes our lives.

The minute under the bed looked at me expectantly – waiting. I reached under the bed and gently pulled it into the light.

“You’re not a monster, and I see you now. Thank you for waiting.”

The minute smiled. “So what are you going to do with me?” it asked.

“Well,” I said. “The only thing I can do, now that I know the truth. I’m going to change the world.”

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