Cancer. AIDS. No death row pardon. Words which can and sometimes do lead to a person's ultimate end. Do you ever think what it would be like to know when you were going to die? When people say, ‘savor each moment, live each day as if it were your last,’ how does someone truly do that? I am so distracted by life itself my mind doesn’t even allow that to happen. Sure, we know that the inevitable will come to us all, but we fail to find the time to just sit quietly and take it all in until we’re diagnosed with a terminal illness or face to face with our own demise.If death IS staring us in the face, there is no more time to savor the moments.
I was watching an interview with a famous actor who announced he had inoperable cancer. I wondered what was going through his mind as the cameras were clicking and the microphones were being shoved into his face. He tried to keep the interview light, sometimes even joking, but to look deep into his eyes I had to wonder where his thoughts truly were. As he played with his dog or play flexed his muscles for the audience, there was this far off distant melancholy about him. I know if that were me, I’d suddenly feel as though I were on the outside looking in. Nothing could be real any longer. Nothing I’d touch or smell, hear, see or taste would be the same from that moment on. My senses would be frozen forever. I think it would feel as though I’d stepped into an eternal dream, a place nobody else could come. I would want my family, my children to accompany me; but no, this would be a journey I would have to make alone. Until my faith in God and all that I’d longed for was there to greet me at eternity’s door, I would spend the last days on earth capturing every precious moment and taking them out at will to savor and enjoy.
The idea of trying to capture time and hold it steady reminds me of watching our children grow. We want to freeze each moment of their lives from the time they are a tiny newborn placed in our arms to the time they take their first step, ride a bicycle, etc. At times I would look at my child, the tiny toddler moving clumsily about the house, and the next moment I’d look again and they’d be grown teenagers. How did I miss this glorious transformation?
Now when I look out the window and see the stark grass and trees against the gray sky I want to ready myself for the first buds of spring, but life has a way of tearing me away from my window. The next time I look out, the grass is green and the trees have cloaked themselves in full, thick leaves. I’ve missed it again.
Is there ever a time when we can just sit back and bask in the present – breathe in and out, in and out, only concentrating on every breath? I don’t think that opportunity ever comes, even when that breath is our last.