As a boy, I had a pair of ceramic football bookends. On the outside of each football-half, a player displayed his prowess. One was charging with a small football and the other was kicking another ball.
Our life gets separated by BOOKEND-LIKE experiences. These are life experiences that reoccur in a similar fashion months or even years apart.
For instance, you may be a parent and remember the moment when you held your first child (or a niece or nephew!) Years later you may hold your first grandchild (or grand-neice or nephew.)
The events are similar, but the person having them experiences years of living, relationships and knowledge in between. Life offers repeat opportunities where we have a chance to relive the joy of a first time or get to do things differently the second time around.
In the Bible, we see a bookend experience with Peter when he first meets Jesus. Peter fishes all night and in the morning heads toward shore exhausted without a catch.
Suddenly, a carpenter instructs Peter that he should drop his nets on the other side of the boat. Although pissed off, Peter does it. Amazed at the huge catch, he realizes that this carpenter, Jesus, is no ordinary man.
Some years later, Peter once again goes fishing. He just witnessed the execution of Jesus, after having denied his teacher three times.
Dejected, Peter fishes all night and again catches nothing. A man on the shore instructs Peter to drop the net one more time. Peter does and hauls in a HUGE catch. At that point Peter realizes that it is Jesus sitting at the shore and rushes to him.
Their reunion includes a crucial bookend experience for Peter. Three times Jesus asks Peter “Peter, do you love me?” Could it be that Jesus gives Peter a chance to redeem himself for each of the three times he had denied his teacher?
I don’t know what bookend I am up against at present. It’s my birthday this month (a BIG ONE). I will see an old friend after many years and much living and changing on both of our parts. I wonder about that reunion and what we will repeat and what we will do differently.
Regardless of what side of the bookends, I feel grateful and exited for the priviledge to live, love and create beauty.