A Radical Thought
“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal, everything is incredible; never treat life carelessly” — Abraham Joshua Heschel
It’s been a quiet week here, not much excitement when Andy and I keep trying to see if we can do an organic version of “Dueling Banjos” with our respective nose-blowing (trust me, “Dueling Banjos” sounds way better). So far we haven’t had much success with our syncopation. And because he’s the one who introduced this little bug into our house, he’s also the one who is eschewing chicken soup sooner (he would insist that it’s a function of his recuperative powers – do not believe him). Not the most delightful way to spend a week. But, in one significant way these have been some really good days.
I’ve been agitating a lot lately about what to do next. What should this chapter look like? Does it need to look like anything? How do I frame the story line? All good questions; none providing any further clarity or movement just yet. If this was an existential crisis, I could just leave the page blank and tell myself it’s the best answer. This is an itching-in-your-heart conundrum. If you’ve got any ideas, please share them with me. Maybe I’m too far in the woods to be able to see with the greatest clarity. Ah, but this is not the point of this post…
I came across Heschel’s quote on Monday and wondered if I was in fact approaching life too carelessly. Certainly one assumes a certain amount about the moments in a day. I wonder if we could move forward in any way if we stopped and realized that every single moment, action, word, etc is not to be assumed. I have always been conscious of some of the smaller nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed – a change in the heft of the air as we move slowly towards spring, the state of the buds on a tree, the morning conversations among the neighborhood of cardinals that check in with each other as the sun considers rising. I listen to the world as fully as I can. But could I be missing something? Oh yeah, I’m missing a lot.
I began thinking about all the delicious moments that I recognize but dismiss too quickly, not allowing them to be savored as is their due. Slipping under the covers – the feel of cool sheets against my skin. I burrow into the hug provided by our feather-bed and give myself over to the lusciousness of it all. There is no better feeling. Or so I thought. The next morning with chills and a head more congested than the DC Beltway at 8:45AM, I stepped into the shower with the temperature as hot as I could handle. The spray stung at first, and then became a steaming, head clearing, soothing haven from my sniffling, eye-tearing, coughing self. I stood there just marveling at how good it felt and so I remained until the water heater began to hint that it needed a break. Could anything be better? Later, when I went outside with the Sirs for one of their daily constitutionals, the wind was delightfully suggestive. Living in gratitude is an overused expression; as is living consciously. And I can’t say that I have managed to really do either this week. I can say I’ve been aware of some of the elements of a day that I may notice, but definitely dismiss too quickly.
Maybe this all has to do with having some of my senses dulled and as a result, others see the chance and clamor for attention. Maybe it’s the result of this pinball game my head has been playing trying to arrive at my-next-thing. Perhaps it is my soul’s way of reminding me that I trade each minute of my life for something – and I’d prefer it to be something I appreciate. Regardless, I discovered that with little effort I could find something in each day that I had not fully noticed before. Savoring at least one element among the myriad elements that comprise a day, which had merely been assumed and acknowledge it. It offers some balance to my angst, some delight that offsets a stuffed head and achy cough. I can’t say that I’m amazed; I can say that I’m awake. Good morning and Happy Friday everybody.