Ooh the Euphoria of the Gift of Life!
Make no mistake, despite your belief or disbelief, life is a gift. You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again..and might feel it, hopefully, before you reach the end of this entry (if you make it that far, and you should, considering I am making a conscientious effort to honor brevity).
Tonight I was reminded of this sweetly simple truth as I trekked around Stone Mountain, my celly clutched in my right hand, warming my earlobe with a queue of conversations. But one in particular slowed my pace, and marshaled my thoughts. Sharon and I chatted over the background music of her inquisitive children. So much so, I could barely hear her. I had to pause periodically to ascertain if she was speaking to me or to one of her little darlings. The four-year-old was vigorously suggesting she take him to McDonald’s, while her daughter might have been singing. She was explaining why Mickey wasn’t an option, and, listening, I mastered my inkling to bow off the line…until she casually mentioned the unmentionable.
The pretty, brown-skinned sistah sitting next to me at the feast, at the synagogue, did I remember her?
How could I not? She’d been a charming conversationalist, soft spoken and sisterly. We spoke of her hometown, the feast, my Sisterlocks, and her son, who appeared to be the hub of attention in a bevy of teenagers across the loquacious dining room. Her only son. Reminded me of my chap, when he was fifteen, hanging with his friends, Raphael and Rodney. Now my son is 22 and excitedly expecting his own papoose next April.
An original, her boy favored a typical teen, outside of a shock of curly blond hair under an unusual yet rakishly stylish hat that set him apart from other, hovering teens. He poked and prodded her when I first saw him. I was standing at the back of a serpentine, feast line outside the temple. He caught my eye. I admired the way he played with his mother so respectfully, so lovingly, incurring her playful wrath and dodging her poorly aimed pops and laughing into her eyes.
“That must be his mother,” I commented, and Sharon nodded.
Upon closer observation, to my naked eye, they shared nothing in common, feature wise, except height, as both were virtual midgets, much like me.
Sharon smiled, shifting her weight while nursing an empty tummy. “That’s her. They, too, come a long way to attend services.”
We’d been speaking of several members who came as far away as Athens and other cities. One young lady, Christina, had discovered the temple online and come, alone, to celebrate Yom Kippur from a town beyond Athens.
I remembered everything as I walked, moving through the fast falling night. “Yes, I recall the sistah,” I whispered, waiting.
Silence. “Her son died Wednesday.”
I stopped moving then. Could be I missed something. Could be she meant to say something else, what with the children vying for her attention. I don’t think the sidewalk vanished, but moving forward felt sacrilegious so I stopped to rewind time. “Wait. Did you just say—-“
“Yes, he died. In a dirt bike accident.” She couldn’t provide more details.
In that instant, a thought, a reminder, to savor the beauty of life overwhelmed me. I breathed it in on the fresh Stone Mountain air, feeling Time intensify throughout my body. Around me, mysteriously, for the first time, as conversation had previously consumed me, the night began to scintillate with insect concerts, fallen leaves rustled, the breeze fingered my locs, and my eyes skirted the street towards the jet woods in hopes of catching another deer family frolicking on the edges of the lawn before a sentry of sleeping trees.
One day we’re here, the next we’ve moved on.
But I’d just seen the sistah’s boy last Thursday, and now this Thursday he was gone, leaving his mother to find her way in a coming maze of days, to seek the path towards normalcy, carrying with her the memory of the breaking of the waters that announced his birth. My heart went out to her. Then the sidewalk reappeared, and I walked forward on the thought that the sistah’s son’s life was a blessing to me, although I couldn’t recall his name.
Seeing his jolly face once more, I savored, all over again, something I already knew—how precious life is. I understood how blessed the time we share with others. And I remembered that if others dishonored us with words and/or deeds far from up-lifting, then we should send them loving thoughts and move on, not allowing anyone to put us down.
Our lives are sacred, and sharing ourselves with others is one of the most beautiful gifts we can ever offer anyone. In short, I vow to use my gift to savor love and life instead of using it to weld the sword in the tongue.
Besitos y abracitos,
Ooh the Euphoria of the Gift of Life!