Well, Since I’m Here … March 19, 2012

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A dip in the pool–an accurate description of me, taking my afternoon swim.

 I have an exercise regimen I attempt to perform in that water in a quest to convince myself that I am actually improving my health situation. So it is partially fun but contains a portion of determined mission. Last Wednesday, my vigil was interrupted by a twelve-year-old boy who decided to be talkative and picked me as his audience. Maybe it was because I smiled at him. Maybe it was because I was the closest adult who possessed two ears, one on either side of a presumed brain.  He told me he had recently won two medals at the Special Olympics. I listened patiently as verbal paragraph after verbal paragraph flowed from his lips, many of them lacking connecting tissue. My day was changed. I would have to squeeze my little exercise plan around the expressions of a young boy who wanted to be appreciated.

There are only two things to do at this point: try to continue your normal procedure, and in the process display exasperation, or give in to the present “here” that puts you in the “now.” So I pumped my legs and moved my arms around as I listened to the young man extol his many virtues and discuss his ability to hold his breath underwater. After while, my cantankerous soul relaxed and I actually enjoyed myself.

Likewise, about ten years ago, I discovered I had an infection in two of the toes on my left foot. I was unimpressed. I felt that I would heal, as I had so many times before, without the intervention of doctors or magical chemicals. I didn’t. I ended up in the hospital with gangrene and the eventual amputation of those two little piggies. It was not where I wanted to be, but it was my present location. It was my “here” that I needed to receive as my “now.” So since I was given a bed as my workbench, I decided to take interest in the nurses and their problems, and to try to turn several belligerent doctors from frogs into princes without having to kiss them. It didn’t take much work on my part–I just had to stop fighting the fact that my circumstances had changed, and while I was healing in my body, try to create some healing around me in the souls. You know.  “Since I’m here…”

And the same thing happened yesterday. I discovered that I was scheduled into a church that only had eighty-five people attending on Sunday mornings. It’s not that I feel that I’m too good to share in a small congregation; it’s just that I want to redeem the time I have left, to touch as many lives as I can. (Or at least I hope my motivations are somewhere near that level of purity.) On top of having to drive two hours to get to this engagement, the state of Arizona decided to have its first rainstorm in the last three months. People in the Grand Canyon State both fear and worship rain. So upon arriving at the church, the folks who were scheduled to help us carry in our equipment–to keep our old bones from crumbling–were not there. As the day continued, the number of warm bodies arriving, braving the “vicious weather”–was limited to twenty-five.

As in the case of my Special Olympian and my sickly toes, I had a choice–to either focus on the circumstance or to accept my “here” as my “now.” Because after all, twenty-five people are twenty-five people, and therefore twenty-five opportunities to enrich the heart, touch the soul, enlighten the mind and invigorate the body. You know what happened? I ended up enjoying myself. And even though I was tired at the end of the whole excursion, and lost money on my trip, I gained a sense of what is truly important, which is, “Well, since I’m here…”

Here are three ways to successfully complete that phrase:

1. “Well, since I’m here, I should probably go ahead and give my best.”

2. “Well, since I’m here, I should probably go ahead and find a way to enjoy myself–or what’s the point in doing it?”

3. “Well, since I’m here, I should be grateful that there is a ‘here and now,’ because some day I will be completely absent of ANY opportunity.”

Yes, opportunity. My friends, you do know that she really doesn’t knock. Actually, she slinks through town quietly in the middle of the night on gossamer wings while we slumber and rest from our chores, oblivious to her presence. What awaits us in the morning is not the benefit of opportunity, but instead, the reality of our “here,” which if we are intelligent, we will turn into our “now.” For sometimes, intelligence is not sitting around waiting for the next bus, but beginning to walk towards your destination, willing to hop on the bus if it comes along.

Well, since I’m here, I will conclude this essay …  and begin my day.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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