Some Really Good Things in Life
...just in case you're in the mood for poignancy, tenderness, or laughter...
Having your husband wear a Pink Tutu
Holding Your Premature Child
Having Someone Pet You
Hearing Your Mommy's Voice for the First Time
Watching Your Husband Experience Labor
Discovering New Ideas
Finding Your Voice in a Korean Talent Show
Finding Your Voice in an American talent show
Dancing Hip-Hop with your Son at his wedding
Listening to a Nun sing Rock on an Italian Music Show
Listening to Joseph Calleja sing 'O Sole Mio'
Enjoying your first handshake
Enjoying the Happiness of Other People
Poignancy hovers around beauty like a nimbus, for the most beautiful things in life are not things at all, but moments in time—moments that we know will flow on. While the raw moment flows on into a new concrescence, we can nevertheless gather the exquisite moments like flowers and place them in the rose bowl of our memory.
So we gather up our moments, the ones most exquisite, and let them float about inside us as we savor their color, scent, and texture. Even though the memory is not the same as the moment itself—even memory is a new moment—we can store up an entire bowl of exquisite memory moments that we can enjoy later. But what if our memory fails, as it so often does? Process theology would tell us that if we forget, God still remembers. Our moments are saved in God's memory, in God's own heart. The moments we savor are paradoxically fleeting and eternal in the same divine breath. They are gone, yes, but not lost. Whitehead describes God’s nature as “tender care that nothing be lost.”
But if we want to go deeper still, we need to learn how to savor when things go badly, too—when the warmth and chocolate and pelicans are gone, or when loved ones fail us and our insecurities rise up to mock us. This is life, too. On those dark days, when nothing seems worth salvaging, we can still practice the art of savoring, for there is something even more satisfying that deserves our mindfulness and gratitude: we can savor the One who savors us.
We don't need a reason to rejoice. We need each other. We don't need to define a specific event to celebrate; life is sufficient, both as challenge and as gift. In reserving a night to celebrate in formulaic abandon, humanity hoists a lantern which we all can share, a moment we each experience together, an elation that sweeps global humanity like a wave at a stadium of planetary proportions.
But many of us call Marjorie our beloved friend, mentor, and teacher. My stories about her are not intended to claim any unique connection to her. Many of you know her far better than I do. But I do want to claim that she has saved my life. I hug her to my heart, more closely than the passport I keep plastered to my chest when I travel. Marjorie, I celebrate your legacy in our lives.
Still, it is true that moments of laughter, like moments of crying, entail a dropping away of the ego, and that such moments are occasions for sharing in the playful side of a silly universe. These moments emerge not from struggle. but from spontaneity. In a sense they are moments of grace: that is, moments in which we receive a free gift, not requested, that lightens the load of life, helping it become, at least for a moment, easy. It is the gift of surprise and novelty, the gift of being able to look at situations that may be difficult in alternative ways.
Our love is a cascade of caring that splashes from those who came before us to those who will follow after. As we swim in the love of our parents, friends, family, faith, we bathe those in our care for their journeys yet ahead. Love flows; pass it on. (October 30, 2013)
We all have a need to be seen for who we truly are: not our appearance, not our style or our status, but our core. Each of us is unique, each of us reflects a distinct spark of the divine. Today, I bless you to see your fellow human beings clearly through eyes of appreciation, and I bless you that you are truly seen!
Grandparents remember that children possess the ability to experience the world around them in unique ways. When I’m around Asher and Elliot, I witness first hand that Creativity is the most general notion at the base of all that is. This spring break I played a game with Elliot that I’d played with one of my college classes---creating and hurling “Shakespearean insults” at each other in fun. “Thou saucy clay-brained fustilarian” was our model. I’m not sure even I can define “fustilarian” satisfactorily, but Elliot, 4, “got” the idea. He could make up similar crazy taunts: “You carrot-headed, dirty-eared Mimi-roll-baker!”