I have one of these cool journals. A ten year journal where you have just 4 lines to capture the essence of the day. It is laid out so that on one page one can see what happened on the same day over a period of ten years. February 19, 2009…February 19, 2010…February 19, 2011. After writing the days news yesterday, I looked back over the last three years and sighed. “Nothing’s changed,” I shrugged. Reports of ice time and Caps games and playdates. Same problems, same sadnesses, same simple pleasures that stitched together a day. I grumpily closed my journal and turned over to turn out the light, murmuring about the lack of movement in our simple little life.
But the simple fact is everything changes. All the time. The sameness is just an illusion, a cheap trick. But all it takes is a shimmering ray of sunlight to break the trance.
In the last 3 months, this boy has grown an inch. He’s made friends this year, who don’t live so close to home, on the other side of the county. The first night that he is over there, it is as though he is half a world away. These changes snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking, slowly bit by bit, the way the baby fat disappeared leaving a lean young man at the dinner table doing his homework. Subtle.
Someone I love who was very sick got well, and another person I love who was well got very sick. These things happen, like that, a bomb dropped, a miracle. Sudden.
Jobs change. Addresses change. Adventures arise when we least expect them. People leave. Others come. Some stick around for now. And every now and then we are struck with a remarkable moment of pure laughter and love.
Pay attention to this moment, girl, for all that it brought, tinged with joy or sorrow or maybe both, all it brought is about to slip away. You can try and hold onto it but it will only make you cry when it pulls away from your desperate grasp. Because it will. Are you going to waste this moment here trying to hold onto something that has gone? This is the way we miss our life. We can miss it without even noticing that we are missing it. We can miss it by grieving that we missed it.
A wise teacher once told me that letting go of every breath is the most basic act of faith. The exhalation does not come with a guarantee in writing that if we let go of this air there will be enough to breathe next time and yet we breathe. We are already so practiced in the act of faith. We have been faithful since birth, since the first time we breathed out without knowing if we would ever fill our lungs again.
This is a good thing, because I need that sort of faith to loosen my grasp on the moment and to let it go without knowing what comes next, without worry, without fear, without expectations. All those things get in the way of paying attention. Quick sink in and let it wash over you and bathe it with its warm warm light before it goes again with the exhalation, whoosh…