1. I'm sure it's just a figment of my imagination, combined with a bit of sensory overload borne of the "all the info, all the time" nature of these times we live in, but I can't help it. It feels like we are living in a doomsday era, where tragedy and disaster sits perched around every corner, waiting for us to take a collective breath in pause before striking again, always when we least expect it, always fiercer than the time before, always upping the game to show us whose boss.
You think you're resilient? You think you're strong? You think you're going to rebuild defiantly, overcome triumphantly, hell hath no fury, no fortitude, like humanity scorned?
I'll just be here. Watching. Waiting.
Until we meet again.
2. Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Maybe it's because I'm more in tune. Maybe it's because I am bombarded, day after day after day, with examples of man's inhumanity to man, with horrific visions of Mother Nature's power on display. Maybe it's because I feel so impotent in the face of all this tragedy. Whatever the reason, every time the news brings word of fresh calamity, catastrophic and unfathomable, the sorrow and helplessness of it all weighs on my heart with a little more heft.
3. How is it that we are able to so quickly adapt and move on, from one tragedy to the next, collectively and individually? Aurora. Hurricane Sandy. Sandy Hook. Boston. West, Texas. Oklahoma. And still, here we are in the world, functional, operational, scarred but standing.
4. The cycle of life, the study of God and prayer, the comings and goings of the Earth. It's the very definition of what "is" is, was, always will be. So we carry on. Because, really? What else is there for us to do?
5. Here am I. Carrying on. Compiling a meaningless list of thirteen mundane items, just because. Of habit. Of longing for the familiar. Of need for the routine. Of Thursday. Just because it gives me an excuse to change the subject, even if only in my head. Just because, like the rest of the world, I need to pivot.
6. Life is hard. And short. And impossible. And wondrous. And eternal, in so many different ways.
7. Gilda Radner was not only one incredibly funny lady, she was also one indelibly insightful human being. Cancer crystallized the mystery of it all for her, and her book is full of the sage wisdom earned by fighting for every last drop of it. To wit:
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
8. Wednesday night was the final session of the 32 week Disciples I Bible study class I've been enrolled in since September of last year. I already miss its steady place in my weekly world. It was a wonderful experience, one that helped deepen my faith, my understanding, my curiosity. I really want to take it again, with a mindfulness gained by the insight I gained taking it the first time. The Bible is such a richly fascinating document, especially when presented under the scrutiny of a classroom full of dissenting opinions and/or differing perspectives.
9. As one study ends, another begins: I enrolled in yoga class at a new-ish nearby studio that is so close to home, I can walk to and fro. Yoga is something that calls to me over and over again. I have dipped my toes in its well of wellness many times over the years, and here I am, back yet again. It's funny that I don't really know how much I've missed it until I go back. I purchased a long term pass and am hoping to convert this into a regular, good for me habit status once more.
10. My bad ass preacher lady - that's really how she's known, she has a black belt in karate, for goodness' sake - has received a new appointment, and is being called to lead a church in a smaller town just far enough away from here to be considered a road trip. I first met Shauna when my father died, and we wanted to have a memorial service in our home church; the one my parents were married in, the one my brother and I grew up in. The lead pastor - the one I knew fairly well - was on sabbatical, and so the task fell to Shauna. I had heard about her, but was not personally familiar with our young lady preacher until we met to discuss the service. I remember pushing her a little, telling her things like... "I want it to be spiritual, but not too "churchy." I want it to be warm and friendly, not uptight and ritualistic." I remember her looking me square in the eye, and I remember thinking, "She doesn't know my dad. She won't get me, in this." And a few days later, sitting in the sanctuary, surrounded by love, I remember thinking, "I can't imagine anyone else doing a more perfect job in guiding us through honoring my father's life." My heart was, and remains, forever grateful to her for ... well, for getting it so perfectly.
11. In the years since, I have had the opportunity to get to know her a little better, and to adore her, wholly. And I regret, well and truly, believing I had all the time in the world to get to know her fully, and to be a true, real friend to her. I plan to let her know that before she leaves us. Even though I suspect she never really will leave us. Not completely. You can't touch and change as many lives as she has and not leave a permanent mark.
12. And now for something completely different. Contra the apparent theme of grieving something lost (innocence? comfort? ritual? friend?) - here's a chuckle for you: I usually take offense when AARP targets me through snail mail or social media venues, because I do not need the powerful and redundant machinations of a national organization to remind me that I am getting old. Er. Older. Yes, I will be 50 this year. FIFTY IS NOT OLD. *ahem* That said, I have to admit, this spot on list of 22 Things You Should Never Do Again After 50 made me laugh. Out loud. Although, seriously? Just try and stop me from engaging in #2. One is never - EVER - too old for Jello shots.
13. A couple weeks ago, I shared a video that had turned me all squishy. Sadly, Zach Soblech died on Monday, May 20, 2013.
"But what he left behind is wondtacular."
"You don't have to find out you're dying, to start living."
Thank you, Zach.
You did it right.
Inspiring the rest of us to endeavor to get it right, too?
That's a gift that will shine in the world for generations to come.
Just imagine if we all paid it forward.
*Title quote courtesy of C.S. Lewis, from his masterpiece, A Grief Observed.