Life is full of contradictions, of moments and ideas that seem, at times, to clash with one another. Yet each one teaches us. We learn to see through the collision. To know what is truth. To separate the reality from both. Such opposites hit home for me one day...in the span of only a few short hours.
As I went to pick up the mail that spring afternoon, I opened the mailbox to find a letter from a friend, the symbol of a strained relationship on the wane. It was a grim reminder, without it even being opened, that nothing ever stays the same in your life. That people change - sometimes for the worse.
Within less than two hours, I was sitting in the home of some new, but already dear, friends who were soon leaving the familiar of Alaska for new adventures...a farewell of a different sort. While holding their five-month-old son on my lap, many thoughts ran through my mind. I watched his tiny fingers wrap around my own, love and trust pressing itself right into my very soul. As his adoring gaze met my own, I realized that this tiny baby lives a reality that so many of us can only dream of. He has no concept of the cruel world that awaits him someday. He knows no hatred, holds no bitterness. For him, life is truly simple: embrace fully, trust deeply, love completely. As he smiled at me through baby drool, I savored the precious moment.
It dawned on me, as he continued to sit on my lap, that this is what I am meant to do - live forward. I do not need to dwell in the past. To waste my mental energies thinking on what could've been. Going backward is for the despairing. They focus on that which is closing, fading. Wishing one could call back a by-gone day is pointless. The soul can only grow when it is living forward, when it is concentrated on the gift of today, of here. Right now: baby smiles over letters in the mailbox; friendships that endure over those that don't. This opens up a new way of seeing things, of viewing life through simpler eyes.
I pressed that beating heart close to mine and wished that moment would last forever. Someday, that baby will be a grown man with hopes and dreams of his own. Perhaps he may even find himself staring into the eyes of a five-month-old little boy, yearning for the reality that he was giving to me at that second. Time is always marching forward, and so are we, whether we want to or not. But living fully in the forward is where we discover untold blessings: to cherish what is now, not what was. Tiny miracle squeezes my index fingers. All is Grace in this minute. Letter forgotten, I resolve to live fully. To hug the baby today because someday, when he is grown, I will remember. He gave me what I need, what I crave: fullness right here. Today.