Without wanting to sound like Lincoln at Gettysburg, I have passed three score in my years. Much of what I have seen I never noticed. A great deal that I did notice, I now notice I did not really see.
When I was younger I swam through a world which seemed to expand endlessly. Now that I am drawn closer to my mortal horizon, I discover I am in water which is deeper than I have ever known. Life we learn is an experience at sea, of storms above and below the surface, of breadth AND depth."We are islands in a common sea,"- wrote Anne Lindbergh. And she is right. Much of what we experience is common to all of us. However, how each of us experience is uncommonly unique. To see the common in an uncommon way reminds us that each moment is an original. And so is each of us.
The clock is ticking. The time to take a look around is now. It is not now or never, but now is better than later. No matter how young we are, it is later than we think. No matter how old we are, it is never too late until it is. An eternity is any moment opened with patience.
I have been writing for almost forty years. On a good day that means I get to spend several hours by myself in a small room. When someone once asked my son what his father does, he answered: "My father types."-What I "type"- are books. In this process my mind's eye has stared at everything from family, faith, and failure to work, will, and working-out. What I have found, on reflection, is that the most passing of incidents are not incidental, and no matter the object of my attention it is all finally a lesson if I am paying attention. Every perspective has a bias. Mine is to hope and prayer. I believe we are better for looking to the positive and letting what is less find us. Prayer, I have found, is a path where there is none.
Though life has much to teach us, the tuition is steep and in the main we pay with our emotions. Across time each of us will have our heart filled and broken. Sometimes a little of both at the same time. Regardless, our heart knows what our mind only thinks it knows. And love is a lens worth polishing if we would look at life.
The character traits required for both learning and loving are honesty, compassion, faith, and humor. Hopefully you will find these qualities framing the work you now hold. While often the wisest things said are those things left unsaid, at the end of each chapter are a few thoughts from others as wisdom is wiser for listening to others.
Life is a lesson in process and about process. It is an adventure in learning as heart warming as it is heart wrenching. Herein are my field notes. What binds us one to the other is not what we look at but how we look at anything. Enjoy the view!
"...that is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood your whole life, but in a new way."-
- Doris Lessing
Peace on your path,
"Our own burdens weigh less