Living My Life and Waiting for the Next Tide
The human body at peace with itself is more precious than the rarest gem.
Cherish your body; it is yours this one time only.
All the worldly things are brief like lightning in the sky.
This life, you must know, was the tiny splash of a raindrop,
a thing of beauty that passes away even as it comes into being.
Therefore, set your goal! And make every day a time to attain it.
~Lama Tsong Khapa~
Recently a friend of Carol’s and mine died after last year’s diagnosis of cancer. I can’t say she suffered from cancer since she did not believe in suffering or pain, admitting only to discomfort. Instead of fearing her cancer, she named it Cora, respecting its power and chronicling the struggle to control her body. I wanted to write about our friend Pete but couldn’t decide where to start. While I waited for inspiration, the above quote arrived by email, a favorite of Beth Allen’s mother who also recently died of cancer.
As I thought of Pete and Beth’s mother, images of many people close to me flashed through my mind. I never imagined them leaving this earth, but before I knew it, only their memory remained. In the vast scheme of things, our lives are indeed tiny splashes of rain, absorbed into the soil before we know it. Some of the people I knew as a child grew old and died. Others seemed old when I first met them. Those I have not seen for years still seem to me whatever age they were when I last saw them.
I still imagine myself as the child pulling on woolen mittens to play in the snow, the teenager ready for summer adventures on my bike or the recent graduate anxious for my first professional challenge. I never thought about dying when I was younger. I still don’t like the intrusion of mortality into my fantasies. Yet I don’t know whether I will wake up tomorrow morning or even finish today. I have plans, dreams and ideas I would like to pursue but have no way of knowing which ones I will see fulfilled.
My challenge is to accept whatever today brings and make the best of it. Sometimes I fritter away the hours and then wish I had done something more productive. Sometimes I wake up with fresh ideas I need to write down before even landing on my feet. Each day dispenses its own challenges, secrets and rewards. I can’t choose what will be in the mix. The best I can do is to meet each day with flexibility, ready for whatever it brings me. The little surprises make it getting out of bed worthwhile.
Life Lab Lessons
- Do you accept what life gives you or do you try to force life into your mold?
- Do you ever succeed in forcing your way on the world?
- Do you become frustrated when you fail?
- How much time do you have left to live?
- What would make today one to remember?