September 14, 2021
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”—Thornton Wilder
I will be leaving on a 12-day trip tomorrow to visit my sister and her family who live across the country. Yes, I am anxious, not just about the usual worries that come with air travel, but about the Coronavirus and being in such close proximity with people who may not be vaccinated, may be carrying the delta variant, and may decide masking just isn’t for them. Any travel is a risk; yet, we had to cancel our visit last year because of Covid, and when will travel really be “safe” again? Was it ever?
Much conversation and many decisions and choices these days still revolve around Covid, this microscopic virus that is doing what viruses do—infecting its hosts—and so often leaving us feeling helpless, hopeless, divided, or angry, especially here in the Southeastern United States. We are so eager to know when things will be “normal” again that many act as if it already is: thus, the rise of the delta variant. But “wanting to know” is really code for wanting to feel in control again. The truth is, though, that the world has always been an uncertain place where we liked to believe we had control; now the Coronavirus has taught us that the world is not certain, and we, mere humans, do not have control of it.
Instead, whether we like it or not, we are holding the tension between what we would like our present experience to be, our ideal, and what it actually is. It is in that space between the two poles that we now must live. How, then, do we live? Albert Einstein once said that “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Indeed, we do have options for changing ourselves in order to live more gracefully in the now of not knowing, options that include practicing discernment, wisdom, trust, faith, and gratitude. And, I would add, living in the present moment, aware of its many gifts.
“Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Every day, each moment, there is something to celebrate and something to cherish, if we have the eyes to see. “Consider the lilies,” Jesus Christ advised. Just that. I am trying to practice this awareness, and yesterday I noticed for the first time the vivid saffron-colored coreopsis (pictured above) springing up in a corner of my yard where I did not plant them. I felt as if the Creator had dropped off flowers for me. This morning, I watched three hummingbirds defy each other to sip from the feeder as they performed their aerial aerobics. Then, my plump tuxedo cat circled the sink, twice as he ritualistically does, before “asking” for a drink. These are moments to cherish, moments that may never come again, moments in which to be grateful for life. These are the moments that fortify me, and perhaps you, for whatever does come next.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” –Mother Teresa
Often in my blogs, I will share a poem I’ve written that accompanies my theme. But today I am grateful to offer a special gift. A poet friend of mine, Susan Luther, recently composed a piece that captures all that I am trying to convey in this blog and is lovingly willing to share it. It is a powerful, yet gentle, reminder to trust that there is something to cherish. There is something, or someone, calling us to have the courage to open our eyes to see it and our hearts to give thanks. There is reason to “cherish the day,” when we are “conscious of our treasures.” May you be blessed with moments of cherishing, and know that you are cherished, as well.
Blessings, Rosemary firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ghazal on an Imperfect Haiku
the high script of clouds hot green
tea – cherish the day
In pain, war, grief, joy: our days are few. Cherish the day.
– And if we find no clear reason to cherish the day?
Does the Carolina wren worry about death? Do
the clouds? Does the day demand its due? Cherish the day.
The doorbell rings. A friend wearing a mask brings ripe figs,
flower, a book splattered with fig juice. Cherish the day.
Arcs, swirls, circles – rainbows of red, green, gold, lilac chalk.
The sidewalk artist’s gift defies the blues: cherish the day.
Give us melons! But in Auschwitz, a meal of used spaghetti-
cooking water was a heaven-sent boon. Cherish the day.
What’s the silliest thing you can think of? The Chicken Dance?
Whatever it is, laugh like a loon, and cherish the day.
You say: the day you first saw me, BAM! you fell in love.
I took a little longer, but oh, cherish the day.
Melancholy, the black dove. When she swoops close, settles
on your shoulders – Eat. Sleep. Breathe. Live. Hope. Cherish the day.
‘Love the years of longing; love the brief days the desert blooms’ –
the brief, glorious days the desert blooms. Cherish those days.
The dragonfly’s wings move independently, yet it flies:
as we – sans factions – could learn to do. Cherish the day.
Script, prescription: hand, glide across the keyboard, the blank page.
Eyes: watch the inchworm inch its sure, slow way. Cherish the day.
Human, your days are few. A bristlecone might admonish you:
It’s a cliché, but true. Cherish, cherish the day.
© Susan Luther
Give us melons! See Numbers 11:5-6.
‘Love the years of longing . . .’
– see Edith Södergran, trans. Stina Katchadourian:
We should love life’s long hours of illness
and narrow years of longing
as we do the brief moments when the desert blooms.
from “Nothing,” in Love & Solitude
Bristlecone: bristlecone pine. These trees can live thousands of years, like the “Methuselah Tree” in the White Mountains of California, which is over 5,000 years old.