I have to say that this weekend had a couple of stop and think about this moments for me. Mom’s wonderful friend, and one of my old junior high teachers, actually, not all that old, lost her battle to cancer last week. Out of sincere respect for the family, and in amazing small town form, over 100 people showed up at the graveside service, where we gathered to support the family, honor and respect their loss, and celebrate the life of one amazing woman.
I couldn’t help but think as we left the cemetary — what would it be like to bury a parent. How do you explain to your children that their grandmother or grandfather who loves them dearly, just won’t be coming around any more. I thought about Paul Menzel, who lost his dad earlier this year, and Venna Nix and Louise Adcock, whose husbands were so amazing and gracious and gentle, and yet whose lives ended long before their will to live had been exhausted. Our parents are so amazing, and for that matter, our grandparents, and it is such a blessing to have each additional day with them. These are all very sobering thoughts, but they give way to a much deeper sense of appreciation, gratitude, and peace, when I consider how powerfully my life has been touched by each one. I have to confess, I just don’t tend to live like this day might be the last. I’m not sure if it is something about ignoring the things that scare me, or if it is simply a blind ignorance to the possibility that this very breath may be all I have, but I feel compelled to write these words that it might be forever recorded, for some cyberaudience to stumble upon at Google’s providencial hand, that a reader might consider how precious their own existence really is. We have such potential, each of us, for good and for harm. I think maybe the only reason that we do harm to others is because we arrogantly take this day for granted, convince ourselves that we deserve something better than another, or that we’ll have another opportunity later in life to set things right.
It just seems … cocky … foolish.
Now, I don’t mean to go on and on, though I have. But there’s a little wake up call for me when I think about the few precious moments I may have with my wife, my children, on a mountaintop, in meaningful work, at Meme’s bedside. I tend to live most of my life like a boat tossed about in the winds of a great storm at sea, when it is my own fault that I find myself here, and only by God’s grace that I haven’t been capsized so far. It also occurs to me that it is probably by my own hand that I’ll sail on from this place, if I ever am to move into calmer waters, but for one reason or another, I seem to stay fixed in place, without forward or backward movement, as if some invisible anchor holds me fast. What will it take to let loose and really live each moment? How do I undo the paralysis and laziness habitually trained in to my fibers and even in to my very soul?
Maybe I need a beer … maybe I need to go run a mile … or two … maybe I need to go hug my wife and thank her for putting up with my ADD, my melancholy, and especially my manias. Maybe I need to go and pull out my list of 100 things I’m going to do before I die. It has been quite some time since it was updated or even pursued. Maybe it’s time to go there again. Hmmmm…. lots to think about.