Life is busy. Life is difficult (as Scott Peck reminded us.)
Life is unpredictable. Life is filled with too many lists.
Too many emails.
Too many distractions.
Too many thefts of our time, our minds, our need to actually live the moment. Weeks fly by and we can’t remember what we did. Yesterday goes by in a flash and we aren’t even sure what we had for lunch.
Yet I’m sure in every 24-hour period, there are countless opportunities when we can think of another person. Be kind to a stranger. Refrain from scowling at a bad driver. Actually notice how the sun is reflecting off a flower petal.
Remember that we are alive, we are fragile, and we want every second to count. Especially as we grow older…we boomers and beyond understand how rich life can be if we are present.
Quaker poet Jeanne Lohmann invites us to pause and just be alive in her wonderful poem, “Questions Before Dark”:
“Questions Before Dark”
“Day ends, and before sleep
when the sky dies down,
consider your altered state:
has this day changed you?
Are the corners sharper or rounded off?
Did you live with death?
Make decisions that quieted?
Find one clear word that fit?
At the sun’s midpoint did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites the possible?
What did you learn from things you dropped
and picked up and dropped again?
Did you set a straw parallel to the river,
let the flow carry you downstream?”
So many good things here. We do, especially as boomers and beyond, live with death. Our friends, our families, our own mortality. But I don’t see this as a depressing thing; more as a call to life.
To me, that’s a wonderful way to describe the natural world around us. So many miracles. Yet unless we make a conscious effort to see them, we walk right past them.
I love the idea of contemplating how each day changes us. As Buddha said, we never enter the same river twice. And there’s a lot to be said for occasionally noting where we are on our journey.
“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”