I often find myself outside contemplating how amazing life is! I feel very lucky and filled with gratitude. How well life is turning out!
However, as we all know, life can change on a dime. A healthy, happy person can be in life one minute and the next she’s gone. I recently heard that a very close friend of mine had died suddenly. We had recently been making plans to see each other soon, writing emails back and forth. And now that opportunity will never happen.
“Life is Fragile” is the title of the first post I ever wrote. I was making a website for my fledging book, How To Be A Zen Mama. It was September 2009. I saw the word “blog” and clicked on it out of curiosity and have been writing ever since. Thus the first blog post was born. My dear friend was one of my biggest supporters. She would often send comments and ideas for blog posts. She loved life, her children and husband. She loved her many friends from all walks of life. She loved to travel and cook. We had a lot in common!
It’s amazing how much I’ve learned over the past 6 years since I began writing my blog. I’ve written most posts as a conversation between friends about life, parenthood, interesting ideas and recipes. I made many great new friends throughout the blogging world. I’ve treasured every email from someone who’s been touched by a post. I’ve learned, too, many things about eastern thought, raising children, life and about myself. I’ve loved having a positive Facebook page. I’ve loved the writing. I always hoped I’d be writing at this time of life.
What I’ve learned most is that the people in your life are what’s most important. It often takes a tragedy to realize this.
When I wrote “Life Is Fragile”, I wrote from the heart about what we all go through. I am reminded now that “Life Is Fragile” is still as relevant today as when I first posted it.
So now, in honor of my dear friend….here it is… my very first post, reposted 6 years after it was just written.
This is a picture of my middle son, Charlie. We just dropped him off for his freshman year of college. He was definitely ready to go. In an instant, the last 18 years have flown by. We had so many great times at home with him just enjoying our daily interactions. He knows a lot about mindfulness with his unique ability not to be limited by time.
Often at my job as preschool teacher I say to myself, “Life is fragile.” These young 4 and 5 year olds are still babies and their parents are figuring out life at the same time. I really feel for what they’re going through. I get to see so many facets of family life through my job, also as mother to three almost-grown children and their friends, and lastly living in a close neighborhood where eventually you know, without searching or being a gossip, a lot of things about a lot of people. I am a very non-judgmental person who really feels for the personal struggles that so many people go through.
I have watched parents agonize over the little things. I have seen a neighbor’s heart-breaking move due to financial reasons. I have been to a memorial service for a beloved baseball coach of my son. I have watched friends try to be positive through their cancer treatments. I know that all they must be wishing for life to be back to normal.
Not too long ago, when my oldest children were about 2 years and 4 years old, I hated dishes and I hated laundry. It just seemed like I was destined for greater things whether it was being an author or even looking back at my 3rd grade teaching job. I had gotten a paycheck then and worked less than I did being at home with my two children. Then I read a chapter from Mitten Strings From God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kennison. The book is a series of chapters about slowing down and enjoying life with her young boys.
In one of the very first chapters, Katrina Kennison talks about an author for whom she was an editor. Olive Ann Burn, author of Cold Sassy Tree, was trying to continue to survive cancer, but ultimately did not. She wrote about what she would miss about life. She’d miss the dailiness of things. One of the things she mentioned was dishes. She wrote of the special things she’d miss seeing out the window as she did the dishes.
“I have learned to quit speeding through life, always trying to do too many things too quickly, without taking the time to enjoy each day’s doings. I think I always thought of real living as being high. I don’t mean on drugs – I mean real living was falling in love, or when I got my first job, or when I was able to help somebody, . . . In between the highs I was impatient – you know how it is – life seemed so Daily. Now I love the dailiness. I enjoy washing dishes, I enjoy cooking, I see my father’s roses out the kitchen window. I like picking beans. I notice everything – birdsongs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain.”
— Olive Ann Burns
Well, from that moment on I decided to love doing the dishes. I didn’t want to wait for a tragedy, like cancer, for me to appreciate the dailiness of life. The laundry took a little longer. But now as I fold my children’s clothes or my husband’s or that of the many boys end up in our house, I feel a part of their lives and what they love and realize how much I would miss them if and when they are gone.
I’ll miss my friend so much! Our friendship was just getting started, going to that next level, now that our kids were grown up. She’ll be a constant reminder to me to emulate how well she lived every day as a generous, caring and lovely woman.
Life is fragile. The people you know now may not be in your daily life forever, whether it’s off to college, a new job or something more permanent. Treasure the dailiness of living. Even if it’s only found in the laundry or the dishes.