Zach Sobiech is a 17 year old diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. With only months to live, Zach turned to music to say goodbye. Zach tu…
THIS is what life is all about.
I’ve currently been reading a book called, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. She chronicles her journey and the steps she took over the span of one year to make her life “more happy.” I was especially intrigued by the following:
“As I became more aware of the preciousness of ordinary life, I was overwhelmed by the desire to capture the floods of moments that passed practically unnoticed. I never used to think much about the past, but having children has made me much more wistful about the passage of time. Today I’m pushing Eleanor in a stroller; one day she’ll be pushing me in a wheelchair. Will I then remember my present life? I couldn’t get a line from Horace out of my head: ‘They years as they pass plunder us one thing after another.’
I decided to start a one-sentence journal. I knew I couldn’t write lyrical prose for forty-five minutes each morning in a beautiful notebook (and my handwriting is so bad that I wouldn’t be able to read it afterward if I did), but I could manage to type one or two sentences into my computer each night.
This journal became a place to record the fleeting moments that make life sweet but that so easily vanish from memory. It also helped me amplify the effect of happy experiences by giving me an opportunity to observe the third and fourth prongs of the Four Stages of Happiness, by expressing and recalling my feelings. Even after this summer had faded into the past, I’d have a way to remind myself of unmemorable but lovely moments -the night Jamie invented a new kind of pie or Eliza’s first trip alone to the grocery store. I can’t imagine forgetting the time when Eleanor pointed to her spaghetti and said politely, ‘Mo’ pajamas, please,’ when she meant ‘Parmeasean,’ but I will.
On our last day at the beach, when we were packed up and ready to leave, Jamie and I sat reading the newspaper as we all waited for the ferry. Eleanor wandered off to practice her stair climbing on a short set of three stairs, so I went to help her climb up and down, up and down. I considered going to get a section of the paper to read as I stood with her- and then I realized it, this is it.
This was my precious, fleeting time with Eleanor as a little girl, so adorable and cheery and persistent, as she went up and down those wooden stairs. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, she looked so darling in her pink summer dress; why would I want to distract myself from the moment by reading the paper? She’d already grown so much; we’d never have a tiny baby again.
I’d had this thought before- but suddenly I grasped that this was my Third Splendid Truth: The days are long, but the years are short. It sounds like something from a fortune cookie, but it’s true. Each day, each phase of life seems long, but the years pass so quickly; I wanted to appreciate the present time, the seasons, this time of life. With Eliza, so much had already passed away-the Wiggles, Pat the Bunny, the make-believe games we used to play. One day-and that day wasn’t too far away-I’d think back on Eleanor’s babyhood with longing. This moment of preemptive nostalgia was intense and bittersweet; from that moment of illumination, I’ve had a heightened awareness of the inevitability of loss and death that has never left me.
I made a note of this moment in my one-sentence journal, and now I can hang on to it forever. ‘All packed up to go home-waiting for the ferry-Eleanor had as much fun climbing the beach stairs as anything we did all summer: up and down, up and down. Heartbreakingly adorable in her white had that Jamie bought. Clutching her favorite toothbrush of course. But everything changes, everything passes.’ (Sometimes I do cheat and write more than one sentence).”
I liked this passage so much that I, too, was inspired to start a one sentence journal. I had a similar experience my senior year of college. I decided that I wanted to take a photo a day of my senior year, for I wanted to cherish the moments that I knew would inevitably end. But then, just with the end of the year came the end of my chronicles. Why?
Hence the start of my “Daily Sentence Sentiments” - what can I say? I love alliteration.
May 19, 2013
Today I went to Celebration Church. Priscilla Shirer talked about facing battles. 1. Go into battle by first getting on your knees. 2. Claim the victory that is already yours. God makes over 8,000 promises in the Bible. If a cute boy shows interest in you at the pool, don’t leave without his name.
It’s hard to believe how much time has passed since my last blog post. I haven’t forgotten about it, and, truth be told, I have been wanting to publish a post for quite some time. Even though I had the desire to write, every time I sat down to type I just did not know what to say…or more accurately, how to say it. See, for the last few months I have been feeling rather uneasy, and, well, sort of disheveled. I’ve had a million thoughts running through my mind and no way to articulate just what I’m feeling. Unsure? Restless? Scared? Nervous? Excited? All of the above? My internal dictionary is failing me at the moment. I still don’t think I am any more ready to write again, but between reading my friend’s blogs and reading about blogging in the book “The Happiness Project,” I figured today is just as good as any.
For a girl who has spent her last 20 years in a classroom, maybe it is best that I use an analogy that I am familiar with - books. See, I think books are a lot like people. Although they come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, they have an underlying theme. Most of them are comprised of chapters. Chapters symbolize a change in plot, a new beginning in the story. Most of our lives are made up of new starts and new beginnings. Some are predetermined - everyone will have a first chapter and a last. The rest of the chapters are not. Over the last few months I have closed a lot of chapters. I’ve turned the last page as a rehab aide at Shands Rehab Hospital, as a babysitter to a loving family, as a volunteer coordinator for Hands to Love, as a student, and as a Gainesville resident. Taken individually, these are chapters that, albeit difficult, can be closed with a bit of reflection and a sense of readiness for the future. However, cumulatively, closing all of these chapters at once can be a bit unnerving and unsettling. Even more difficult is to look towards the next chapter and see nothing but a blank page. Don’t get me wrong…I know the basic outline for it - internships, study for my boards, take my boards, get a job. But that is all I know…nothing more, nothing less.
“Where do you want to work, Lauren?” “What field are you interested in?” “Where do you want to live?” My answer to all of the above: “I don’t know.”
And so even though I don’t know what is in this next chapter…I think I am going to name it, “Trust”. I am trusting that I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. I am trusting in Him and His plan. Because even though I see a blank page, I know that He has already authored my life story just as He sees fit.
“Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten”
You spend your Saturday night looking at heavy-duty hole punch reviews on Amazon, because you’ve completely warn-out another heavy-duty 3-hole puncher, and it feels as though it’s productive, even though it’s not actually studying or writing.
Or maybe that’s when you know you’ve been a grad student for too long?