Hurry up! Winter weather be done! Pass quickly, weeks, until I see my living-away kids again! Speed along, months, until I retire (nothing against my church job, which I have loved, but I am just eager to see what full-time freelance writing will be like.)
This is ironic, because at my age life is rocketing by anyway, so why am I seeking to hasten the process? I liken it to flipping to the last page of a book I’m enjoying (DID they end up together?) and every time I do this, I realize I’ve spoiled the journey of discovery for myself. Maybe what I should do instead is try to be really alive and alert, and savor each moment.
To that end, I loved an article just out in America (the Jesuit magazine) that referenced the late Indian Catholic mystic Anthony DeMello. DeMello shared so many wonderful meditation practices in his books, and one in particular has really spoken to me. Simplicity itself, but profound. Here it is:
Sit down somewhere, take a breath, close your eyes and then listen to the world around you. Hear the sounds that have been surrounding you all this time, without you noticing them. Then, after a minute, open your eyes, and now focus on what you see before you. Maybe it is the streaks of light on the wall or a picture on your mantel, or the way the snow flops up against your window. Whatever it is, once again just try to sit there and enjoy it. Try repeating this exercise (listen, look).
As a variation, he suggests, try spending some of a meal this way: Close your eyes and just taste the food in your mouth and smell its aromas. I had to chuckle at this, because my suddenly closing my eyes and zeroing in on my meatloaf would no doubt elicit noisy commentary from my young dinner companions: “What’s the matter with Nana? Nana? We’re sorry! The meatloaf is good! Now can we have dessert?” But I’d be game to try this exercise at some solo meal, whenever that may be.
Aiden and Peter are changing daily. Observing their giant leaps forward in speech and understanding and physical agility is like watching time-lapse photography. And, while I try to recall their cute sayings and doings as much as possible, I am missing a lot I know. I wouldn’t dream of wishing their childhoods away. So let me make my peace with the fact that those amazing little lives are happening in dark winter and a pandemic, and I can’t just separate everything out.
So I won’t.
I look out my office window. Night is falling. I hear traffic in the distance on Pennsylvania Avenue, cars heading home. The streetlights are winking on. I can smell Ya-Jhu’s dinner cooking (NOT meatloaf). Downstairs the boys and Sheridan are playing a rousing game of hide and seek. This is my good life. And in this sacred moment, I know I am truly blessed.