This weekend we celebrated my mother’s birthday. I told her I’ve never been happier to celebrate someone’s birthday…and that’s the truth.
While still mourning my father, the idea that my mother might not survive breast cancer this year was a very real and visceral fear for all of us. Coming around to her birthday – cancer free – was truly something to celebrate.
I got to thinking this morning about something I read once, somewhere…it was something to the effect of…
What would you do differently if you knew you were dying? Well, guess what…YOU ARE.
We are ALL dying.
Not to be grim [smirk].
The truth is, we are all inching toward death, every day. Of course, some of us have a lot longer to go than others. Sadly, this doesn’t necessarily have as much to do with age as we’d like to think.
Sure, we can take precautions; be smart. We can eat healthy, exercise, manage our stress, try our best not to run with scissors…but beyond that we don’t have much control over our ultimate fate.
So…live every moment as if it’s your last!
I am not going to say that.
I have had enough hard knocks over the past couple of years to understand how unrealistic that is…and I am not going to shame myself for my emotions. Sometimes we get hit hard, and we reel from it. If I have a day when I just want to crawl back under the covers and hide…and that is even remotely possible to do that day…I am going to go for it. I am not going to force myself to savor the day because it may be my last.
True contentment and joy are not forced. They are arrived at with grace.
Grace for ourselves, and for everyone else…even, or especially, the people who challenge us.
Grace is not always an easy place to land.
Sometimes it means processing our reactions – not stuffing them down under the guise of perpetually enjoying the moment!
Sometimes, we need time…space…perspective.
So…if we can’t possibly enjoy every moment, yet we are aware that the number of moments we are granted is never truly known…where does that leave us?
I think it leaves us in a place where we have to learn to appreciate the full experience of our humanity. We can allow ourselves to experience ALL of what it means to be human, and get to a place where there is no shame in it.
No shame in feeling angry, sad, jealous, afraid –
Learning to release it...because we can’t stay there.
An image comes to me of an abstract painting. Can you imagine a piece of art that could convey all of the emotion of your life –
No identifiable images – JUST COLORS.
How would it look?
Would you want the painting of your life to be monochromatic?
I’d want it all to be there – messy and spilling out over the entire canvas – the light, the dark, the passion, the fear, the joy...
I imagine if you look closely, analytically, you could see the detail of each emotion, both the subtle and the dramatic shifts in hue. The colors would weave toward and away from each other…often overlapping…one spilling into the next.
Then, if you were to stand back from it…when you take in the piece as a whole…
You would truly see it.
The whole me;
My whole life.
You would see all of the messy layers aren’t random. In fact, they come together to evoke one very palpable and permeating emotion –
Let there be color.