Can you imagine watching a football game with two teams, twenty-two footballers running around; hitting the ball but doing everything they can to avoid getting near the two large goal posts on either side of the field. Quite a farcical game that would be!
If you look closely is it you on that football field avoiding the large goal post, pretending it doesn't exist? You know you are here with a two-way ticket. You have landed safely but there is no guarantee around the date and time of departure. You carry on living your life in apparent oblivion to the mother of all goals, your exit moment.
Ever so often you are sent a gentle reminder, a missed accident, a cured disease, an untimely death of a young friend, the gory daily news to jolt you out of your material existence... However, you have created a bubble around you that prevents this grim reality from seeping through to your core. No one, no one will be spared that one goal that every human being avoids working towards... the inevitable moment of your finiteness.
I have experienced it in that call from the hospital when you know the doctor is trying to sound nonchalant and serious at the same time. That feeling of standing firmly on the ground, whilst watching yourself talking on the phone from your higher self floating somewhere above you. The pearls of sweat on your brow, the heat emanating from your body and your heart pounding. In that moment your life flashes in front of you and the most important times that you want to cherish stand still like clouds on a still sky.
Self-realisation can take a lifetime or it can take one second after that phone call from the doctor.
In that one second you realize your children, your spouse your family - your core are the most important aspects of your life and you want to hold on to every fleeting moment. Its no longer him or her in hushed tones who has the 'c word'. It could possibly be you. That thought is so humbling bringing you face to face with the finiteness of your life. Yes, you are not going to live forever, there could be the return ticket printed and waiting for you on your dresser. There is this feeling of light headedness and denial where you want to push the next appointment by a week, no by another month because you are so busy. Yes, busy finishing your project, buying groceries, going to the next party and tending the garden. Because you think that by pushing the appointment the return ticket could be pushed further too.
You come home with this air of having lost a battle. The battle of your breaths, the moments that you took for granted, your infinity that you imagined, all seeming to be snatched away in that one phone call. You try to have lunch and it doesn't seem to go down too well. You take deep breaths sending shivers down your body. You choke with tears as your eyes glance at the photos of your school going children thinking that you might not be there to see them to college. You face your spouse with a deep breath mustering up all the slivers of bravado and convey the news in the same nonchalant and serious tone at the same time. You could have punched him in the gut. His breathing stops, his eyes try and comprehend the situation and you see the colour drain out of his face. He feels your fear. It's as if now the two of you are not breathing and fear engulfs you both.
A sleepless night, another appointment with the doctor, another scan and you are still holding your breath, remembering every word of every prayer you ever heard. All the Gods in every religion are called up on as you are not ready to comprehend the ticket let alone the flight to your final goal.
The doctor reads the next report and reassures you that it is not the 'c' word. Your ticket is neither printed nor ready. Suddenly you feel like the luckiest person on the planet and tears of relief trickle down your cheek while your spouse gently squeezes your hand.
How is it that the inevitable is so easily pushed away every day of our lives? All the literature on gratitude, on kindness, on humility seems to be for someone else. For them. For that friend or that relative who has a limited time. I have time. I will do it.
I am planning to start my gratitude journal tomorrow. I will buy that journal I was planning to buy at the start of the year.
"Hello...yes...of course I can come for your party tomorrow....I will need to get my nails and hair done and buy that dress....." The gratitude journal can wait another day.....no don't get me wrong....I will buy it.....day after....