Unless you’re in the mood for an earworm, don’t itune the Rent song that so lyrically wraps its arms around what we do with our time in this incarnation. It asks how you measure a life, and answers: In minutes, in daylights, in sunsets, In midnights, in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. It encourages us to measure in Seasons of Love, In truths that she learned or In times that he cried, In bridges he burned or the way that she died, and invites us to remember the love.
This week’s reading says, Choose life. There’s simply no better way to spend your time here.
Your choice might be trekking in Nepal and mine watching hummingbirds from my chaise. Others might wish for potable water or a safe place to sleep.
Choosing life comes down to resonating with what your inner voice, your soul, is pointing to and encouraging you see/hear/feel. It’s why some people are good gardeners, and why others sail or put out to sea. Why we write or make art, parent or make love.
We’re each such a strange, wonderful, and mysterious constellation of resources and desires. Life comes down to how we share them.
Several friends have had parents die in the last while, and others are pending same. The ones on the before side are tenser. Each time the phone rings, it’s a potential crises. The caretaker, doctor’s office, or other bad news. The ones who talk about their recently deceased seem to glow a little. They’re free from the worry, and can relax into memories of the gentler times.
Judaism buries folks within a day, and then asks friends to sit with the kin for the first week of evenings. To say prayers and speak of the departed love one. To hear about a mother who loved to docent at the art museum, and learned to tango at 80. The dad who taught his kids to play tennis and chess. These people come alive again in the telling.
Why? Because they lived doing what was most precious to them. And shared their pleasure and joy in doing so.
It’s hard to get really angry when you’re happy. Harder to exploit others or start wars. Though it’s pretty easy to feel dissatisfied if you’re having trouble simply staying alive, or feeding and educating your kids.
If we want to keep choosing the life we want, we’ll need to work a little harder making sure everybody else gets the same choices.
There’s always gonna be some evildoers. But if most of us are trying to make a good life for us all, ya gotta think there’ll be less kindling for the flames the malcontents try to light.
If you do nothing else this week, take some moments here and there to be very conscious of what you’re doing right then. To think how you have chosen it, to really feel it, and then choose it again. Or not to, and decide instead to choose something else, a different way of living.
If you really listen, you’ll choose the life you want.