When a coin drops, it makes a clear sound. There’s a specific ring to the metal, an overtone, that seems to eliminate all other.
In that precise moment, you won’t hear anything else. Everything stops and your eyes will compulsorily follow the sound of the coin finding its way over the floor. Whatever happened until now will have to wait. That coin needs to be found.
It will silence the buzz around you, make you focused and determined. It will steal you away from things you thought was important and create a bond, between you and itself, where nothing else matters.
A dropped coin will stop time.
We had a talk over the phone today, my wife and I. We tried to search for different words but couldn’t find any, and there was an uncomfortable silence between already short sentences. I listened, she talked. She listened, I mumbled.
My mind was elsewhere, and suddenly I heard myself say that I’m finding it hard to see the point in all. That the work I do needs a receiver, an audience, a reader, a listener. That it’s lonely, and that it wears me down never to find one.
She hung up quicker than she said goodbye.
Creativity, in all genres, is overcrowded. In a way we’ve undoubtedly never experienced. It’s a crowd that grows with every second, and I can’t find my place in a buzz like that. All I hear are the echoes of each desperate attempt I’ve ever made.
Those are my ghosts. Not hers.
I sat quietly at my desk, buried my face in the palms of my hands while searching for even a trace of clarity. I felt the beat of my heart push that familiar warmth of guilt to all parts of the body. My wife had called me for a reason, and like a spoiled kid, I had once again made everything about me.
I was pushing the button of the machine for yet another coffee when she called back. She said she had called me earlier to find comfort, not the be charged with my desperation, and that my feeling of pointlessness wasn’t hers to carry. Not now. Not today.
And she shouldn’t. To unload as I did is a comfortable exit, a cheap shot, a cowards way. It’s my burden. Always has been and always will be.
I could hear her breathing while we stretched the pauses that followed each sentence, bouncing words back and forth until she quietly said: “…because I know my purpose in life”, and everything in me stopped. The heated blood, the heavy heartbeat, the buzzing thoughts, all of it, vanished into silence.
Just the sound of a coin dropping.
I didn’t say anything at the time, and we continued talking. I don’t know for how long or what we said, all I could hear was the silence. Louder than the inner noise that preceded it. Like when heavy rain suddenly ends. And in the midst of it, a ringing sound of a coin, finding it’s way down to my core.
It’s odd in a way. I’ve been talking about finding your purpose for many years now, but it never really occurred to me that I needed to find my own.
She had said it in such distinct way. Like the purpose she nurtured was a natural part of her. All those years of trying my best to change. All those things made and those unmade. All those songs, images and poems. How could I ever have missed that? It opened the door to a room I didn’t know I had, nor needed. Empty and endless, like the bright blue sky.
I have an issue with time. I burden myself with grief over years I’ve wasted. It moves in waves, and it comes from somewhere deep within me. It’s cold, like a metal fist clenching around everything that’s inside. And when it does, it owns me. I get caught up in its firm grip, motionless and numb. Nothing works as it should, and I waste even more time, which feeds this monster even more. A real purpose would heal that wound, since all things passed, would have passed for a reason.
Fatih could give your life purpose. Or family, friends, and work. But all of those, as substantial as they may be, are purposes we all share. It’s a joint effort, a collaboration of life. It’s the Big Machinery in which we are all obligated to participate. Like a beehive ticking away, busy with all its everyday tasks.
My coin found it’s way beyond that.
It aimed at the name of my tiny part in our shared system. At my unique feature. Asking the question Why me? instead of Why us?. The meaning of life is a different search, expanding quickly to the meaning of the universe. A question with only one possible answer: Nothing and everything. Because there is no meaning to life, and there’s every meaning to life. Nothing matters, and everything matters. Constantly.
We’ve dealt with it for as long as we’ve been here, and where our conceptual world has ended, the idea of God has helped us forward. Today we have expanded our borders of scientific knowledge, and by doing so, tricked ourselves into believing that God is no longer part of the search. When in reality, we’ve only moved closer to him.
Our universe is already infinite. Even so, the more we’ll learn, the greater it will be. And by each step we take closer to its origin, the less we will understand what’s on the other side. The search for our big bang will, regardless of our wishes, only end with its ignition spark. Beyond that lies nothing and everything.
Purpose, on the other hand, stands out as a detail in this endless scenario. In our everlasting puzzle of meaning, our purpose is one of the dots. If meaning were an ocean, purpose would be a fish. It’s a part of the deep blue, and it contributes, but it carries its own.
My penny dropped to the rhythm of her words, and the sound of that coin is still ringing in my mind. I’m a fish, and this is my ocean. I don’t know what I’ll find, or even if I’ll find it, all I know is that my quest starts here.
And it’s going to be a lovely search.