When I first began to notice the shadows of time, lengthening across the landscape of my life, this life we never think will change – and then it does, that changed my perspective. At some point we all realize our mortality and we begin to see things differently.
Although I know that Life itself – the soul - is eternal, I can see very well that the human lifetime is not; it is temporary; it is one-of-a-kind. Now, looking back from farther up the road, the scale of things becomes a lot more clear.
The moments we hold longest in our hearts may be some of the smallest ones, the ones unplanned, unsought, and even unspoken, that came and went without explosions of passion or oceans of tears for either their sorrows or their joys. The warm dusty summer days, the lovely lazy afternoons and sweet calm twilights. Green rolling hills and cottony clouds climbing vast skies, with nothing special to do, and all the time in the world to do it, and so it was all the more delicious, savoring it. Oh those were the days we say, and yet we hardly noticed them at the time. Till now, 20, 30, or 40 years past, having forgotten the hard parts of it, and remembering how it was to be young, to be beautiful, to be innocent.
Strange how crystal clearly we remember. I would have thought that decades and distance would dull the memory and blur the edges of the images, the moments, and times. It does not. It brings them back like photographs in an album, unchanged and forever unchanging. And suddenly, shockingly, we realize for the first time how beautiful we were, how beautiful and earnest our parents were, or tried to be, even when they made mistakes, for our sake.
Some wonderful people have passed through my life. Too many times, I did not know how to know them, and I didn't have the courage to let them truly know me. I sometimes think of them still, wonder how they are, and deeply wish I could see them again. But they are decades away in unknown places now; they have passed through my days, and gone on. Would I change the way it was, if I could do it all again? I think not. We did what we could, all of us, and all of us came here to learn how to live, and this is the way we learn, by inches, by moments.
When we enter young adulthood, our perspective takes a radical shift from the innocence and carelessness of the child we were, and we begin the task of becoming who we shall be. The gifts of this age of life are courage, confidence, ambition, discovery, and strength. In later years, the perspective will shift again, and the gifts become different too. We begin to understand more. The important things become easier to determine and to decide. Now there is a wider expanse to look back on than to look forward to.
Is there anything I will regret when I reach the point of embarkation from this earth? This place I love so much, and have traveled through all my years, and am only just now finally learning how to navigate? Not so much really; no big regrets. I've taken some chances; I've made some mistakes. I loved a lot and did not always get loved back. But I trusted life and love, and I tried to give whatever I had to give. Imperfectly of course, but the intention was sincere. I think my only regret is that it took me so long to learn how to ask, and to realize how blessed I have been in spite of my ignorance, my flaws, and my shortfalls. I hope to make good use of the rest of my life, and do more and better than I have done so far.
How beautiful and wonderful is God’s marvelous green earth! How incredible to be here, playing and learning this game and dance of life. And how precious beyond words were those people along the way who have honestly loved me, and told me so. Oh that makes all the difference – that they took the risk and the moment, to tell me so.
If you love someone – are you sure they know? When you pause to tell them, it only takes a moment.