A thought for the new year
Time, the wag wrote on the wall, is nature’s way of preventing everything from happening at once. Maybe all philosophy in the world was graffiti once upon a time. If not, this piece of graffiti qualifies as high philosophy nevertheless. The truth of it stills the soul for a moment, gives us pause, awakens us to the truth of the temporal in the spiritual development of a person. Time carries us from situation to situation in life, one by one, until eventually we have lived them all. The measure of a life, however, is not whether we have spent our particular number of allotted days but whether in the spending of them we have lived life to the fullest as we went along. But what, precisely, does that mean?
Living life well is akin to paddling a rowboat in an ocean. We have a choice. We can go into the water and fight each passing wave, resist each undertow, confront each swell, fight each current until we break apart, or we can give ourselves to the water to be tossed by it and swept along by it and massaged by it and pummelld by it until, exhausted, we find ourselves beached at the place we had hoped to arrive.
Life is a wild and mesmerizing melody. To live life well, we can join the dance of life, move to its magical music, be moved by its rhythm for us, sing its plaintive songs, or we can sit sullen and watch it all go by, forever a stranger to the cadence it requires of us and the multiple keys it challenges us to reach. In either case we can go with the flow or we can resist it all the way to the bitter end. We can learn from it or reject it completely. There is only one thing we cannot do in life; we cannot ignore its lessons.
Life is a relentless teacher. And life teaches relentlessly.
—from For Everything a Season by Joan Chittister (Orbis)
(Reflections are provided each week by a member of the congregation.)