Jim gave me this plaque at a time when I was transitioning between careers. I had recently left one position but had not yet found a new vocation, so my purpose seemed unclear – and my life seemed quite dull. In fact, I remember one day when I proudly called to tell him that I had cleaned the grout around our bathtub – and promptly burst into tears. He and I can laugh about this now, but at that time, I was quite sad to speak of grout cleaning as the highlight of my day.
The words on the plaque lifted my spirits by reminding me that each moment holds potential. Our very next moment might offer an invitation to an exciting adventure, or inspire a meaningful thought, or become a memorable experience. The idea that life will never be stagnant, that at any moment life could change, gave me much hope.
These days – years later – the plaque speaks to me in another way. I am learning that even with the maturity of age, the insight of the Spirit, the wisdom of experience, and the routine of my retirement days, I will never be an expert at daily living. There will still be moments that surprise, confuse, or upset me (stagnancy does have its benefits)!
Now the plaque serves as my reminder to be gentle with others and myself when we stumble in life. We can never be perfectly prepared or knowledgeable or responsive for every unexpected moment or encounter. We will not be experts in this unfolding, often surprising journey of daily living. Life is a continuous adventure into new frontiers, whether we are traveling far or simply walking into the next moment.
May we learn to receive one another as sacred companions for our journey, look upon one another with merciful tenderness, and graciously help our fellow travelers who stumble along the way.
For each moment is a new place we have never been.
(Photo by Karen)
Thank you, Charlotte!
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I have looked into the mirror
and have seen with grim distaste,
ever sharper, ever clearer
that much of life has been a waste,
for the legacy I’ve left
inspires not; it’s just severe,
locked in dusty warp and weft
that I wove through year on year.
But there is no time for sorrow,
and although it will cause pain
to my pride, each new tomorrow
I must be stalwart to regain
the simple grace of human kindness
that I mislaid through years of blindness.
I do not know all the details of your life, but I DO know that your life has not been a waste. Know that there is one person who is better, grateful, who has been inspired because of you and your written word.
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Without going into dull detail, I was recently told by someone I’ve known a long time that the hard personality which made it possible to get this far with two really vicious forms of cancer has ‘rubbed off’, and made this individual harder as well, and more unfeeling.
Needless to say, I was and am horrified. I have to be better than that, but I don’t know how.
I’m relating this not in a quest for either understanding or sympathy, but in the hope that you may find this fodder for a future blog post.
Your compassion and wisdom make you uniquely qualified to address a subject like this, how to turn from an addmittedly useful brutality to a more useful vulnerability. I certainly can’t do it.
First, thank you for your gracious words.
I think I understand. In many ways I am a different person, and those who knew me years ago have been disappointed.
Your “hardness” of determination and grit has brought you far. I’m puzzled as to why you’d be to blame for someone else’s character. But I know you will kindly keep that information private.
You are a beloved child of God as well as a friend of mine. Peace…