My friend, Gretchen, left us all this blessing on her bathroom mirror. “You’re going to be OK”
Our lives are our stories. If 50 is the end of Act I and the next Act is about to begin, then these short moments right now are my intermission and I’m pausing to reflect on my first Act. Typically, Act I introduces the characters and setting and then leaves you hanging with a problem. Act II is usually shorter and ends in resolution (and often a pretty good song and dance number, too).
Yesterday was my friend’s funeral/celebration of life. It reminded me that our world is broken as evidenced by her tragic death, and by the numerous bumps and bruises we all experience in our lives. In the Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, my favorite part is when Marlin is lamenting that he didn’t do his job to protect his son.
Marlin: I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Dory: Well you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.
It is so true. Good and bad things happen to us and other people…and we have no choice sometimes but to let them. I loved the message at her service …be joyful, enjoy every beautiful moment, give your life to the things that matter, and use the gifts you’ve been given. She did, despite the harder things that happened in her life. Her legacy speaks volumes. Act II for her was 7 days. Was there a resolution for her second Act? Yes.
She left us all with the blessing (above) for our lives. (It figures it would be from a book called Numbers. Math teachers!)
And now here I am. I’ve made it across a line…I’m not sure if it’s actually my true midline, but I do know one thing…. I’m going to be OK.
It is my 49th birthday and the beginning of my 50th year on this Earth. Twelve months. 365 days. 52 weeks. 8760 hours until I cross the midline. The big countdown has begun.
I was sitting on my back porch with fireworks going off all around me last night. America was celebrating independence. I was wondering what exactly I was celebrating. Life, I suppose. Another year of it.
I started wondering if I could recall every year of my life and summarize in one thought what was meaningful or significant to me that year. It was harder to do than it seemed. Try it. Some years are just so life-changing they overshadow all the others. For me those years were 1979, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2013. The years in between were really just surviving or enjoying the repercussions of the events from the “significant” years. I’m hoping 2017 makes the list. I don’t really want another survival year. When next year comes and I actually do cross the symbolic midline, I want to be able to say, “Wow! 2017 changed my life.”
A portion of that change is in my control, but still, being master of your own destiny is a lie. The very laws of nature are always against us as we try desperately to organize a disorganized system. Think about it. The very first thing we do when we enter this world is cry. The rest of the time we try to pacify ourselves with a bottle or a hug —stuff that makes us happy or love from others. And because we live in community with others, we also have the responsibility of being a provider of bottles and hugs.
So, what to do with the next 365 days?
Love more. Live more. Give more.
More bottles and hugs FOR me, and most importantly, FROM me. That just may be how this year will make the list.