I wonder why I am obsessed with death lately--not in the way you’re thinking just now, reading this sentence, but in the existential, philosophical way, the way which adds that protective layer we need when we think about the inevitable. I listen to Joan Didion on audio books describe the suffering involved in losing your child, and of course it touches me, it makes me think about the delicate balance between the here-and-now and the beyond. It’s unnerving to consider it--Isabella, in all her youthful and playful beauty, seems to me to be immortal, and it’s sobering to see this little bit of myself in her and know she will come, some day, to an end, as will I. That’s always hard to face, though I think my current obsession comes with preparing myself, with tempering my soul, with facing reality in a way that leaves room for awe and wonder and not fear and trepidation.
Life is for living, after all.
I guess what makes this process difficult is suffering. There’s such a variety of it, all confounding and heart-breaking; I am especially sad for those who endure debilitating and terminal illness, who deal with physical and psychological pain for extended periods of time. There’s a discipline to dealing with that that tempers the soul, but no one wishes for that. What we want is the rainbow, not the storm, but both are necessary, as the cliche of course goes.
So what if we just took it day by day? What if we just took each moment God has given us and made use of it for each other? Give yourself to someone and to yourself, even for the smallest of things: read a book to a child; listen to someone complain for a bit, without judgment; don’t respond to someone in a knee-jerk kind of way; give yourself unreservedly to something you have been meaning to do for awhile, whatever that might be; meditate for even just 20 minutes, as quiet as you can be; or else pray as a child does: so simply asking for the simplest of things, so easily grateful for the small things of life.
I’m going to work harder at this myself, but then, that’s how life gets lived--not giving up, trying even as you succeed or fail, and working with the tools of this wondrous life we’re given.