I've been depressed this weekend.
Friday night we ran the movie as usual at the theatre my wife and I run. During the second show the lamp sounded odd when I turned it on, so after the show, and after giving the lamp time to cool, I opened up it's housing to have a look.
The bulb had a blue fog in it, a sure sign that air had infiltrated the envelope and that the bulb, even though only a month old, didn't have long to live, if it had any life left.
Something like this has to have a cause, so I looked further and found that the board on which the lamphouse's power connections were made was destroyed, burned through, leaving connections loose and able to cause arcs, which was the root cause of the destruction of the bulb.
My wife and I changed the announcement on the theatre's answering machine, posted a note saying we were closed in the ticket booth window, and we came home. I posted an announcement on the theatre's website, and determined to call our equipment supplier Monday in hopes we'd be able to get the needed parts this week.
Then I got depressed. A dark screen means no ticket sales, no concession sales, no money coming in. No money coming in means no money to pay the bills. No money to pay the bills means dealing with creditors who are rightfully owed money. My mind started going into overload, envisioning having to shut down permanently, all because of the lack of a part that will likely cost only a few dollars.
So there I sat Saturday and Sunday, worried about the consequences of two days' lost sales.
Sunday my son and granddaughter came over. My other granddaughters live with us, so I played with the girls and my son, napped, and did what I do when I have unexpected free time when I am usually working on something, which is basically wishing I was working on what I usually do, and half-heartedly working on other projects I have.
This is, though, Summer Solstice, the time of the year when the lightning bugs start to appear in numbers. I was sitting in the kitchen, my wife was outside by her pond with our granddaughter, Zoe, and the child's mother was sitting in the living room with her baby. Suddenly, Zoe bursts through the front door. Mommy! Mommy! It's lightning bug time!, she cries with the sound of complete and ecstatic joy, She runs into the kitchen to find a cup to put her prizes in, and as she does so she stops long enough to turn to me and say"Pappy! It's lightning bug time! Come play!
How can I not follow her out?
We go. I sit on the porch with my wife, watching her run toward a lightning bug as it's sudden glow lights the evening air, then back away again as it's glow resurges right in front of her. The whole time, a smile of joy lights her face as the intensity of her focus on what she is doing shines in her eyes. Watching, I feel the same smile come to rest on my face, and in my heart.
Each day we get up in the morning to the sound of the alarm, ready to work on the business of the day. Hour by hour we think about making our customers happy, satisfying our boss, what comes next, how we'll use the money we make to pay the rent, buy dinner, fund our retirement. How often do we come back to what is right in front of us? The creativity involved in putting pen to paper, the joy of looking into the eye of our partner as our paths cross, the whiteness and grey hues of the cloud as it crosses the sky, casting a shadow on the grass upon which we walk? How often do we come back to ourselves to remember that each minute is unique unto itself; that, while connected to what came before and what will come next, is yet a timeless instant, sufficient unto itself? That it is, indeed, lightning bug time?