This morning the inside of my mouth felt like a dry dirt road. I tried to taste something else, but it was too late. I sighed, attempting to digest what flashed on my iphone screen.
The facebook update jolted me. I skimmed through my feed and one particular one caused my heart to pulsate. The impact of these particular words played in my mind like a chorus I wanted to forget: MRI found one tumor. Surgery and chemotherapy scheduled soon. My fingers pressed the profile page and in two seconds, I learned he is only thirty-two years old. I knew him in college and our paths crossed a handful of times. From his profile, I learned he has a family, a wife and and a daughter about three years old.
It was only seven in the morning and my day already felt long. My whole body felt heavy in one sudden instant.
I looked at my own husband. Poking him in the ribs, I said, “Are you awake?” He grumbled a bit and said, “I am now.” I told him what I’d learned and asked if he knew him. He remembered him because we all attended the same university. My husband deals with mortality on a consisent basis, often witnessing and pulling life support on the tiniest of souls. His reaction surprised me because his sigh mirrored my own.
All throughout the day, I kept checking updates on his page. Nothing changed. It read the same.
Later that day I learned of other unsettling, tragic news from my sister. It was of somone she knew in passing. On Sunday morning, two brothers decided to work on their car. They finished a minor repair on it, but the younger brother decided to check another part under the hood. As he worked beneath the car, it slipped, crushing him. His older brother attempted to rescue him, but the inevitable happened. He passed away. At age twenty-three.
Some moments it is too much to bear. The reminder that we are all fragile. That fate steers our individual course. The panolpy of emotions sometimes leaves me feeling exposed and vulnerable.
But it also unearths something else.
A brilliant, palpable pressing desire to live.
As I moved throughout the day, my focus lingered a little longer on the lilac colors of the purple bourgenvilla in our front yard. Since my husband had a day off, we decided to have lunch together, splurging on nachos and a brownie with ice cream. I laughed as I stole the last bite of the brownie savoring the chocolate goodness on my tongue. It was an insignificant reminder that there is so much to appreciate, only if you are willing to participate in the actual living.
All throughout the day, I thought about what I want to complete in my life. What I keep putting off. How I keep jotting down a million to-do’s but somehow things are left unfinished. We all have those goals, aspirations and that one thing or two things or ten things we really want to do. Sometimes we jot them down, even creating bucket lists, but don’t actively pursue what hides in our souls.We stop living, even though we are alive.
As Mary Oliver says, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Ask this question. Everyday.
What have you been putting off? Why? What do you want to do with this one wild and precious life? How do you deal with tragic news that happens to others? Does it make you appreciate your own life?
Image by Khairiflz
I feel this so acutely every single day. Bad news is always there, like a storm cloud, and I wonder when it will unleash its cold, dreary drops on me. But every night, when I sing to my baby and feel his soft curls on my cheek, I think, “This is enough. If my time is near, this is enough.”
Stacia, I love the image of you curling up to Bun and singing a sweet song. That is enough.
For me, it is hearing random I love you’s from my daughter and feeling the embrace of her hug.
Everyday living and living every day aren’t necessarily the same things are they? I write lists all the time and am happy to cross them off but stopping to inhale the moments that are not on any lists – random acts of kindness, a stranger’s smiling eyes, my daughter’s infectious laughter amid tantrums galore – that’s truly where the magic lies isn’t it?
It easier to live in the moment and appreciate that this is enough, especially when you are around young children. They get it. They really get it.
Why does it take tragedy to remind us that we need to appreciate, that life is fragile, and that every life deserves a shot at something decent and good?
When we’re young, we think we’re untouchable. As we begin to age and lose people, we learn otherwise. I’ve lived plenty of dreams, so I don’t feel that I’ve wasted this “one wild and precious life.” I still have other dreams, very private and very small – but important to me. I hope there’s time for them, but if not, more than anything, I hope that my sons will have wings to live out theirs.
I think we all anticipate that there will be enough time to live out our dreams. But if that becomes something that is lost, the hope is that our children can live out theirs. Well said friend.
wow, both stories are very painful. it is amazing how one second can change it all….i think that i put off “just being” and am often thinking of how I should be, instead of just enjoying who I am.
I think we all get caught up on where we aren’t, instead of embracing the moment we are in.
Great pic, by the way!
This post made me sad. I am sorry about your friend. Just today I heard of a friend of a friend that is also dying from cancer. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to take the time to savor our life. It’s so important that we do, and it’s also important to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. xo.
I am so sorry to hear of your friend and his or her battle with cancer. There are reminders everywhere. Even though are lives are not perfect, there are little graces in everybody’s life that should make us appreciate the present more fully.
Life IS fragile, we must live looking for the extraordinary moments is moments of every day living. We must learn to appreciate what we have while we have it. Thank you for this reminder, Rudri.
Yes. Appreciating what we have. Because in an instant it can be gone. I know you understand this truth Suzicate.
This hit me hard today. I’ve been debating a weekend away…all by myself. I really want to go somewhere warm but I’m terrified of flying…especially alone. Maybe this will give me the courage to just do it.
I understand your fear of flying Tiffany. I have it too. I hate traveling alone and always imagine worst case scenarios when I am on a plane. With that said, I still hope you got on that plane and got some time to yourself. We can live in the fear of what if’s. We have to embrace what is. xoxo
Thanks for reminding me, Ru. It really is so fleeting, our time here. and the balance we all try to strike, of accomplishing what NEEDS to be done and doing, well, nothing really. And everything in between. All the moments are just so precious and yet it’s hard to feel that way while in them.
I’m going to try to take away from this a moment to just look around me and be aware of how good Life is right now. I, too, am sad for these people.
Well said Kristi. I think it takes an acute awareness of knowing that at any given time things could be much, much worse. All of the normal moments, the ones filled with screams, aggravation, love, happiness and laughter are all ones that should be treasured. But sometimes I find myself flailing because I don’t know how to appreciate the pureness of that kind of goodness. Baby steps, I guess.