Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life Expectancy And Wildflowers

The current life expectancy for a man is approximately 75 years or 27,375 days. Based on this estimate, I have already used up approximately 20,925 days. Hmmmmm! I'm down to about 6,450 days! I admit there are many days when my morning alarm goes off that I wonder "How many more days will my life be driven by the clock"? Usually after a shower, and when I am fully awake, I am just happy to be alive. Of course, I know myself well enough to realize that I will always need wake up calls in my life whether they be alarm clocks or temple bells. I long for freedom but need structure. I am not in a panic about the estimate of 6,450 days left to live. For now I live one day at a time and I strive to live it well and fully. Of course, living well and fully does not necessarily mean living an extreme or adventurous life. It means being present to the life I have and living in the moment. It means celebrating the ordinary and being open to the extraordinary. Every life is an adventure and one never fully knows where your life will take you. It may be a journey of the body that takes you all over the world or you may never leave your home town. Regardless, it is always a journey of the spirit. My rather ordinary life has taken me places I never dreamed of being. I like the mystery of life and how it unveils itself in ways we never see coming. I may not really have 6,450 days left. Maybe I only have a few hundred or maybe 32,850. Whatever the number they will reveal themselves one sunrise at a time. It is a good thing, when one opens their eyes first thing in the morning, to greet the dawn with a prayer of thanks for another day with its endless possibilities for meaning and joy. Sometime during the day one should pause and notice your own breath. Hear it? Feel it? If so, it means you are alive so don't die before you live. My young son makes fun of me for saying this but "Seize the day"! Of course, in the evenings, when he catches me napping in my chair, he will sometimes wake me and ask, "Dad, are you seizing the day"? Well, in those situations I am seizing my dreams.

Once in my daily thoughts I mentioned that I thought of my friends as wildflowers in my life. They are all over the place, they come in a variety of shapes and colors, and all of them together add beauty to my life. There are some friends I have known most of my life but I am also still making new friends. Occasionally an old friend reappears and it's like they never left. One of my current friends is someone I met many years ago. She worked in my office and we were peers. We knew one another but really weren't close friends. At some point she disappeared and I didn't know where she went. Many years passed. About five years ago, I was walking through a crowd at a concert and I heard someone call my name. I turned around and there she was with another old friend. Our friendship was renewed and now she is one of my music loving, road warrior, friends. In fact, she's the only girl in a group of guys but our group could not function without this woman. Bridget is our event planner, caterer, loan officer, ticket purchaser, and my partner in crime as we find musical events for our group of friends to attend. I could give you a very long list of famous musicians that we have seen together. When it comes to music, she is the female version of me. She knows more about music than any woman I know. Another friend who reappeared in my life a few years ago is Fr. Dennis. When I was very young and in the seminary, he was one of my teachers. Over the years we occasionally kept in touch but eventually lost touch. A few years ago he retired to Kentucky and he tracked me down. Now I consider him one of my best friends and I can't imagine not having him in my life as my surrogate big brother and spiritual advisor. He is also one of the funniest people I have ever known. We have wonderful conversations, full of laughter, whenever we are together. The last wildflower I will talk about is my regular lunch partner. She works in my office and I believe was once seated next to me to secretly improve my attitude. I think someone thought I needed an attitude adjustment and Wendy would be the person to make it happen. The plan kind of backfired when we immediately clicked and hit it off. It turned out that we were two peas from the same pod and actually very much alike. I like to believe we've both been a good influence on one another's attitude. We have been close friends for a long time now. I like her because she is easy to be with and we can talk about anything. She's funny, she makes me laugh, and she's not afraid to say anything. These are just three examples of friends who make a difference in my life. I have probably embarrassed all of them by writing about them and mentioning their names so I hope they forgive me. There are more of you out there so I feel very blessed with an abundance of friends who are wildflowers in my life.

No comments: