First One

May 1st: ONE

You can only think of one thing at a time. You can really only do one thing at a time. One is a lonely number yet one is the first number to emerge from nothing. There is always a first even though you cannot fathom a last. The first day of school. Your first love. Your first child. Your first car or house or plane trip. Your first failing grade. Your first speeding ticket. Your first job. The first death of someone you love. People scramble to be first in line or the first through the gate. One is a profound number but often things we consider to be singular and solitary change. Our sun is the only sun in our solar system, the sun around which all of our planets revolve but we now know of other suns. Some suns collapse and others are yet to be created. What was once The Truth changes. Galileo was tried as a heretic for suggesting a new Truth. My one true god became three in one, split but equal, parallel energy that doesn’t diminish but maintains equivalency. I suspect that the Truth of God is far beyond any Good Book definition upon which we humans depend and defend. Some women carry a pregnancy to term expecting a single live birth only to produce a twin that remained concealed beside the first. One becomes two. People collect first edition books but does the publication make the book valuable or the essence of the written words? Is a first edition Mark Twain a better experience to read than an eBook version on a Kindle?

I do believe in the unique potency of firsts. You only graduate from high school or college once. As a catholic (and in many religious sects) you make your sacraments only once. Once you are baptized you don’t do it again, although some believe an infant cannot chose baptism so they re-baptize. I think God’s statistician recognizes the do-over. A big deal and a high value is placed on a person’s virginity and certainly the first time you have sex can only happen ONCE. But having sex and making love are not equivalent. And the first time you make love may not occur until long after you’ve been having sex.

I am not a believer in reincarnation. It it exists, I suspect I will return unaware of past lives and past experiences. It will all be new again. Reincarnation seems spiritually economical. God recycles souls as they become more enlightened. But economy of energy, matter, space and resources is a uniquely human concept. The Creator defies the Laws of Physics. Those laws only apply to us. And so I believe I have this ONE LIFE.

A single linear arc through time in which to exist, grow, feel, trust, learn, love, know, suffer, reconcile, forgive, redeem and die. My arc cannot be swapped or fractionated, I can’t jump tracks. I may have a nautilus of a life. I may have a life that plots like the NASDAQ.

I will not be the same, singular, unique creature at 45 that I was at 15 or 25 or 35. Every day is a new day. The Creator could have made all that He made is a single moment, instantaneous and complete. Instead, He made light from darkness, then stars and heavens and planets, then wind and water and mountains. He thought me long before He made me. He knew me the moment I was conceived. Each day He makes me just a little different. He stands before his canvass and dabs here, smudges His thumb there. He invites me to stand beside him and consider the work. I have an opinion, do I like it? Art historians discover paintings beneath great masterpieces, first attempts covered with seconds. In college, I loved Kandinsky. I had a framed poster from the National Gallery of Art in my dorm room.

My first year of medical school….with my very first credit card….I bough a numbered serigraph from a gallery in Aventura: a Thomas McKnight. It cost $800…..a FORTUNE. I bought my first piece of art on layaway and 12% interest. After Hurricane Katrina, I bought a second McKnight.

Decades ago, I wouldn’t have bought photography as art, but I love photography now. The momentary capture of a single, unique second in time that will never exist again captivates me.

Every day is a new day. Every day is a first. Every breath is a single breath. Breathe in, breathe out. I make only one decision at a time. I am at this moment a singular and unique being. I will be the same but different an hour from now. This filament of divinity…..that I am me and not me, a creation that is forever evolving and changing, a dynamic being….it is the ONE truth. What I think, feel, do, experience, become, lose or destroy I do with or through that truth. There is only ONE ME. But that ONE ME is a lovely creation in motion. I am alive and with every breath I change. My cells divide, my synapses fire, I exhale and I am a different thing. But still me.

I have only ONE SOUL.

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