What matters in the end?
With such innocence, Sophia said, “Momma, I am going to set an alarm on my iPad for June 26th, 2066 to see if I still have it then”. 2066!? I immediately paused and flashed forward fifty years into the future. I don’t think Sophia really thought about how considerably things will have changed by then. Her curiosity was so simple and sweet. I, on the other hand, realized that there is a chance I will no longer be here. Perhaps if I am, a lot will have certainly changed. Whether here or not, I will likely have had to part with many things and namely the people that I love so dearly. I don’t really know where or how Sophia and Sonia will be, neither Herb or the rest of my family. There was a sadness in projecting so far ahead; a palpable, heavy feeling in my heart, a hollow in my belly. Mostly, the ache and the hollow afforded me a moment to recognize what I deeply love.
Life is so dearly precious. I have been leading students this past week through a similar reflection. I have asked them to consider that if they only had a year left, what would truly matter. I slowly guided them to close the gap from a year, to a month, to a day and finally to just these moments. What begins to matter? What makes life meaningful? Sophia handed me the same reflection in an even more powerful way.
What matters for me? The first thing that immediately arises are the faces of my children and my husband. I love them so much that it can literally make my heart ache in a expansive way. This circle quickly widens to include my mom, sister and brother-in-law. I don’t want to miss out on these relationships. I want to cherish them equally on the days that feel challenging and on those that feel beautiful. Even if not realistic, having the intention makes a difference. I want to love and possibly receive when it’s given. I hope not to look back wishing I had been more present. Wider than the circle of my family, I derive meaning from community and being able to give back in both big and small ways; one person, one moment or over the course of a longer standing relationship.
Sophia’s passing curiosity reminded me that what makes life worth living are the relationships and the meaning and value behind what we do. There will be a time when I have to let all of this go, but till then I hope to savor and cherish what comes my way.