Monday, January 25, 2010

Life Never Stops

Life never stops. It may not stop even after death. If you're a Christian, there's the hope of resurrection. I wonder sometimes, "If there is a Heaven and I get there, will there be expectations of me? Will God give me a job in Heaven? Will I have chores"? Heaven has to be more than billions of people sitting in the lotus position staring at a light. Since I am an aging hippie, will Heaven be an eternal Woodstock? If you're Buddhist, you have the hope of being reincarnated over and over until you reach Nirvana. If I am reincarnated will I be born into a better and more comfortable life only to discover that I have a lot more responsibility and a lot more challenges? OK, I really wasn't planning on getting so esoteric. I was thinking on a much simpler level. The other day I was riding down the elevator with a group of younger people who were all complaining about how busy they were and how much they had to do. I could have been the parent of everyone in the elevator. I told them that I thought my life would be much slower and much less busy at my age but that wasn't happening. Even though my children are adults now and mostly out of my house, my wife and I are still working full time while also trying to justify our existence and be relevant in a ever changing world that looks more and more alien to us with every passing year. I guess it should be no surprise to me that life never stops making demands. There is never really a time when I can totally relax. There's never a time when you can, as my wife says, "Take your finger off the button". There's always a "to do" list, there's always an agenda, there's always a project, there's always something to be concerned about, not to mention the surprises of life that we never see coming. Does this mean we should all go jump off a cliff? Not at all. It simply means that we must learn to be more awake, more aware, and more open to the moments in our lives when things happen that refresh us like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. For example, my granddaughter spent the night with my wife and I on Saturday. When she stays we us, she sleeps in our bed. I could hear her waking up on Sunday morning so I pretended to still be asleep. She rolled over next to me and tapped me on the shoulder. I said, "Good morning, Chloe". The first words out of her mouth were "I love you, Pa Paw". Such a moment is worth a thousand bad days. In the midst of life's demands, challenges, and annoyances, what makes it all worth it are the Chloe moments, the friends and family moments, the Zen moments, and those other unexpected times when, to use the words of C.S. Lewis, you are "surprised by joy". My life may never slow down. As long as it is busy, and I can keep up with it, I know I am alive. If anything improves with age I hope it is my ability to get lost in the eternal moments that are woven into my days and that when I least expect it, I am surprised by joy.

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