The Kind Stranger Chapter 5: Before the beginning

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The English Channel, Sept 2010

Yes, I know.  “Before the beginning” doesn’t make sense, does it, but the truth seems to be that the Kind Stranger knew me long before the beginning of our friendship. When I met him on that first day, he was completely new to me. Yet I could somehow detect that I wasn’t new to him.  He knew more than he would let on. Now I’ve learned to trust him, I’ve got over my initial suspicions about it all and relaxed.  It took a little while though.

However far back I choose to remember, now I know him better I can detect the shadow of his presence almost wherever I look. Everywhere.  On the day I was born, as I think back, he was there, his shadow all but invisible to the inattentive, imperceptive eye.

Before the beginning. Now I know the Kind Stranger was there, I’m reassured.  That means that all through those early school years, through my teenage experiences, school changes and family up and downs, he was there. During those relationship traumas, the sweet and embarrassing coming-of-age moments, the learning about myself and the opposite sex, that time of discovery of my own emotions of early love, that first kiss, he was the tender observer. I suppose it could seem almost voyeuristic, but that would profoundly miss the point. This was no shallow invasion of personal teenage privacy. This was the Kind Stranger doing what he does best: utterly caring for me. He allowed me to discover life in my way and in my time, tenderly protecting from the worst, yet letting me feel the pain necessary for me to learn the more important lessons thoroughly. Then I didn’t realise he was watching.  Now I’m glad he was. Then I might have wondered why he let it happen that way. Now I don’t need to question. Of all the people in the world, he is the one person from whom I have no wish – nor need – to hide.

Before the beginning. Could it be that he knew me before anyone else – even before my own mother? Could it be that from the moment I was conceived I was somehow known to him?  Before then? How impossible! Ridiculous!

But what if it was true? Let me think about that for a moment.  I met him on the street. He had arranged that meeting. He had chosen to make that the moment in history when we consciously met in time and space. Knowing the Kind Stranger as I do now, I’m confident that it was no arbitrary moment. He planned it! I needed to NOT know him for those earlier years. He knew my life would be better if that first encounter was exactly then. Not a moment too soon. Not a moment too late.  Perfect.

Perfect. How can I argue with that – apart from somehow setting myself up to pretend I know better than him – and we both know I don’t. And remember it seems he is not limited by my expectation that he should be physically visible to me – or audibly heard. Or tangibly touched. No. He is the benign master here.  He is the one who invites me to trust him for that too, and I do. He knows the what, the how, the when and the where. So there is no need to ask such an unanswerable question as why. Thankfully. It will save me hours of wondering. I don’t need to ask why.

Before the beginning. it’s patently impossible for someone as human as me to comprehend that. Before the beginning is more than a lifetime away. It’s outside time where there are beginnings and, inevitably, endings. If it is true he was around before the beginning, it  may also reveal that there is an ‘after the ending’.

I’ll need to think about that.

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