I was going a totally different direction for this blog. And then I read from a favorite book of mine, Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life, this line: “To be aroused by life is to cherish every moment and to not miss a thing.”
This is not a new thought but it seems to be one for which we need periodic reminders lest we lose awareness of daily gifts. What better time for a reminder than as we enter a new year? The authors quote Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, best known for her classic work on the stages of grief, On Death and Dying, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth—and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up—that we will begin to live each day to the fullest as if it was the only one we had.”
Terry and I just finished the Netflix series “Dead to Me,” full of rich character development as “Jen” and “Judy” navigate life and their relationship, culminating in Judy’s death from cancer. Judy spends her final weeks living each day to the max, with full awareness that each day may well be her last. How many people have I heard with cancer or other end of life medical conditions say what a gift their disease was because it brought them into such awareness? When we so resist that recognition, we cheat ourselves of fully experiencing life.
What if we were willing to cultivate such a response to the opportunity to live another day? Living in this manner is a challenge, but not an impossible task. The sign in my meditation space calls me to “Start each day with a grateful heart.” As I drive to my office I pray blessings on living out the day in grace and gratitude. When Terry and I walk I seek to pay attention to the beauty of the day. At night I seek to fall asleep with gratitude for the blessings of that day. I have not integrated these things daily. But the more often that I practice this approach to life, the more often I experience peace, contentment, even joy; and the more I am capable of passing those blessings onto others.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: “Setting your intention is like drawing an arrow from the quiver of your heart.” Bruce Black