How Long is Forever?

The girlfriend of a guy in our office is an artist and creates a variety of canvas prints. I saw one on her Canvas ‘N Crafts page that I had to get – “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” This is a song I sing to my granddaughter all the time, so I ordered one for her room. Because I have the attention span of a three year old, I of course told her I was bringing a surprise and she wanted to know what and when for the next few days.

She loved the print and I put it on a shelf in her room. I was putting her to bed and asked her what she thought of the Sunshine print and should we sing the song?

“I want it high on the wall.”
“Well I don’t have a nail, can’t it just sit on the shelf for now?”
“I want it higher.”
“You know you can have this print forever.”
“This long?” (She held up her hand with five fingers extended)
“Longer!”
“This long?” (And she held up both hands)
“Longer!”
She had run out of hands and fingers so gave me a quizzical look and stuck up both hands again. “This long, Papa?”
“Yep, that long.”

So it made me wonder – how long is forever?
When I got the note from a girl in junior high that said, “Sally” + Bruce Forever. I’m pretty sure that forever was about six days.

So how long does it take to get food at a restaurant when your kids are fussing and crying?
How long is it when you are waiting for the results of a medical test?
How long is it for a special vacation to come?
How long is it going to take me to get through this grocery line?
How long until the kids, grandkids come home?
How long until Christmas?
I’m pretty sure we’ve all said – forever.

I realize this is generational but one of my hesitations to tattoos is that it seems people forget they are forever. I understand marking important events or people, but pretty much everything I thought was cool at 19 was not cool at 49. I’m fast becoming a minority in my view about tattoos, but wonder if people remembered that the awesome face tattoo was forever?

On the Sioux Falls bike trail there is a large hill that has several switchbacks. Its purpose is two-fold – so you don’t kill yourself going down too fast and to level the hill a bit going up. I wonder if our understanding of forever is a bit like the switchback. It takes levels of understanding and a little work to comprehend forever. So how long is forever?

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