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A Moment in Front of a Tokyo Convenience Store at 2:47AM

I think the worst feeling in the world is being alone. I could be wrong, of course, but I don’t think I am. I don’t mean having no one around you, we all need time alone like that sometimes. The feeling I’m talking about is the one when you start to think about infinity, but in the wrong direction. The feeling when you’ve checked the same things on your phone multiple times in a row without thinking. The feeling of a thousand endings in a second, being shown on a grey screen in a grey theater with no one in the seats, and no one behind the projector.

I should say that I don’t normally feel that way, but I have before. I think being aware of that feeling is a necessary price for feeling its opposite: eternity. Have I felt eternity? How would I know? I don’t.

What I do know is that this Yin-Yang cosmic world I’m floating in has always given me beauty, and sometimes what looks like a monster close up can be a masterpiece once you get some time or distance.

I also know that if you can learn to ride these waves of life, braving the decent into the dark, icy-purple-black depths, then you will feel the holy pull upwards from a force that feels so good it doesn’t add up, or make sense, or ever make itself known. And that feeling is worth it all.

I felt a form of it tonight in front of a Tokyo Convenience Store at 2:47AM.

A guy I’ve often seen working there late at night, but never spoken to, was crouched down smoking under the glowing lights of the store, reminding me of what some safe-haven in the middle of nowhere must have looked like hundreds of years ago with lanterns and people stopping for rest from all over who’d travelled from far away places. But tonight it was just us.

As I walked up to the door, he politely began to get up, quickly indicating that he was going to put out his cigarette and get back inside to work since I showed up.

I smiled and told him in Japanese,

“It’s all good”

He smiled a real smile, one not pulled by puppet strings but lifted by God. He said thank you as he bowed slightly and went back to his cigarette as I went inside.

So I can’t prove eternity or anything else to you, but I know if I could slow that moment down enough, maybe I’d catch a glimpse of God there with us.

Next time I stop by that grey theater with the grey screen, I’ll tell them they don’t know what they’re missing.

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