Gift

The slow arc of your life, sustained by a continual return to the lifegiving moment, which holds you in your course and shows you the breadth and depth and height of time. I call it a return, but isn’t it more like a repetition? A repetition of the same that makes the same new and lets you face the newness of the future – that lets you function in the world.

Kierkegaard wrote about repetition. The Danish word for it, gentagelse, literally means ‘taking back’, but for Kierkegaard it means more than wresting the past into the present. True repetition for Kierkegaard points both back and forth in time, it renews the past while opening it up to the unknown. It has a mysterious relation to the moment, and in a sense is the moment: a kind of suspension of time that gives you back the past as the new for no reason, just as Job was given back his life and more for no reason. Repetition happens: it’s experienced as a gift, not taken.

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