This weekend I went on a whirlwind road trip that had all the potential to be one stressed-filled nightmare. And it was, at certain moments. But then small, shiny things happened that filled the proverbial empty glass back up. Which seems to be the way life unfolds. It’s all right there for you to decide, half-empty or half-full?
This morning I didn’t plan on writing a post about grabbing random moments and savoring them. But I had one of those conversations with Mr. Moss that felt like a splash of cold water to my senses. His words reminded me of what I already know, but have a hard time practicing in real life which is,
it’s easy to miss living in the Now, and to overlook the one, irreplaceable thing we have at our fingertips. The Life that is-happening-right-at-this moment.
For instance, I can instantly be transported into the future
with all my type A planning and fretting and trying to prevent unseen problems from arising.
Or, I can be carried away into the distant future with a sentimental comment about the summer coming to an end, which then leads me to the actual date Patrick is returning to school. And the thought of this goodbye brings a rush of reactions about Michael’s final year in high school. And oh-my-goodness, I can’t imagine him leaving to college….and it keeps spiraling, all my imagined emotions about the future. Only the other day, as I was doing these mental gymnastics, Mr. Moss stopped me in his own, calm way.
And he brought up the subject of mindfulness. And we talked about the idea that everything in Life is impermanent. And when you cling and hang on and try to ignore this truth, (as I can easily do) it only causes suffering. And suddenly this conversation reminded me of a lecture I once heard by a practicing Buddhist that began with these two questions,
“Will I meet this moment fully?”
“Will I meet this moment as a friend?”
It’s a beautiful choice we all have; it’s a way of approaching our life with a curious interest, a tolerance for whatever may happen because we already accept that life is challenging; so the hope is to have a certain friendliness about our approach to things, one that says, “Ah-ha, here’s this little experience…I wonder what I might learn…”
So with this attitude in mind, here’s a verbal snapshot of our 24-hour-trip this past weekend, when we moved Patrick out of his apartment and into the home he’ll be sharing with four other college guys:
…in as few words as possible:
What?! the hotels are full-so we book one forty five minutes away-there’s glass in the garbage and Jim splits his finger open before we drive away-my parents are waiting-where are you?-we depart at 2 pm for a-six hour drive-with-two stops-and a contentious apartment manager on cell phone-a non-negotiable deadline for our hired housekeeper-the apartment’s a total mess-we clear out the kitchen late at night—then a 6:15 a.m wake-up-to meet housekeeper--someone-left-the gas on-OMG-open the windows--the house key for the new home is somewhere in Pismo Beach- Jim’s finger needs stitches-he has trouble lifting-Papa is waiting at the new house-We are locked out-he waits-we drive to someone’s condo with the key under the mat-did you know-the-gas-is on empty?-The housekeeper needs to be paid-the key’s not under mat--now we need a new bed-we can’t find a new bed-Mimi forgets to leave her phone with Papa-he’s still waiting-everyone is Moving-Lifting-Cleaning-and then-a-total-of eleven hours of driving.
Whew. And this is what I relished about those harried moments:
Papa driving with Patrick in the front seat, laughing at one of his stories. The sun streaming into the cabin of the truck.
Patrick and his grandfather bend over the new bed frame while they worked on clamping it together. Driving up to the new house and seeing the door open and my Dad happily lifting boxes. Stories from Papa about meeting Ben, the college kid who let him in the house, and offered him breakfast.
My seventy-one year old parents washing pots and organizing the kitchen. My Mom hugging the tired housekeeper at the apartment. The room-mates shaking hands with Patrick’s Papa.
The view from the tiny kitchen window. All of us sitting in the warm sun at a patio table eating lunch at Patrick’s favorite middle eastern café called the Pita Pit. My Dad’s funny reaction when he found out what kind of meat he was eating. Our collective soreness- tiredness-and-smiles of relief.
A glass that was half full with crazy Life.
How about you?
I hope you’re enjoying your own brand of crazy Life…