"Enjoy this life, friends. Everyday you wake up is the opportunity to start fresh. Every day you wake up is a gift, a miracle. May you find tiny miracles and magic throughout your day today."
- Gertrude Stein
Most of us woke up this morning to the horror of Orlando; it seemed almost impossible to find magic.
Phil and I sat, talking over breakfast. Trying to figure out why so much hate exists in our world, why so many people need to nurse grudges and slights until they bloom into some horrible entity of their own.
It takes so much energy to nurse hate, so damn much, and I see people everywhere doing so - whether they're in my own family circle, the places we work, tiny towns to big cities. No one can seem to let go; hate and grudges eat away at them daily.
After the initial articles, we decided to put the unceasing chatter about today's events aside, to not let it consume us. Reading and re-reading the horrible facts, listening to the news, just put a deeper hole in our hearts.
I prayed for all those who didn't get the gift of a new day this morning, for their families and friends who are hurting. I carried them all in my heart today, and I'll carry them there for a long time.
But rather than sit and moan about what this world is coming to, moan about what the government should or should not be doing, rail against the evils of guns, or more, we decided to celebrate this gift of life. Maybe it sounds strange, but in the deciding to celebrate (and maybe celebrate is not the best word, but it's the only word I've got right now) this gift of today is the best way I can honor those who had this gift so horribly yanked from them in the wee hours of this morning.
We wandered out into the hills, the foothills of the mountains, stopping at a favorite winery. Wine got tasted, cheese and fruit nibbled on. Conversation about all the ordinary, and a few not so ordinary moments of our own lives, filled the hours. We watched dogs tussle, babies coo. We listened to laughter filled conversations.
We wandered over to the vines, enjoyed the wildflowers, and just watched life go by.
As I'm typing this, Phil is planting herbs in some upcycled flower pots that had, quite frankly, seen better days. (Can you tell how much I love color? These pots never fail to make me grin.) It seems like a good thing to do right now, this nourishing of life.
We'll tend the pots all summer, drying the herbs, infusing them into olive oil, and giving them all as Christmas gifts. Packages of life and love sent out to those we love.
I can't take away Orlando. I can't take away the grief so many feel right now.
What I can do is not waste my own life, not fill it with hate and grudges. I need to work on this in me, my own life. Because, as they say, if I can't fix my own life, how can I fix the world?
Mindfulness is a hard gig; so is compassion. It's much easier to hate what and who we don't understand. But, Lord, it does weigh us down.
I started letting go of hate/grudges some years back; I'm still working at it; I'll be working at it as long as I live, I suppose. It's worth it though.
Carrying around joy is a much better deal.
I can offer smiles, not frowns. I can refuse to spew hate.
I can extend acceptance and do a lot less judging (So darn instinctive, this judging.) I can offer forgiveness to those who've hurt me personally; they might not accept. I know that.
It's so easy to pray for friends, for those we love and who love us back.
It's not at easy to pray for our enemies and mean it. The idea of praying for an enemy baffles most folks; I know it did my sixth graders, and me at times, as well. Before we prayed the Mass together each Fridat, I would remind them to choose one person who hurt them during the week, and then to pray for that person during Mass. I think they did, at least most of them.
Every day we wake up is a gift; treasure your days, days filled with tiny ordinary minutes and tiny ordinary miracles. Live your life as a prayer.