Just a Few Thoughts for Today

I have been in a contemplative mood ever since Wednesday evening and night when I drove Desiree back up to Lewisburg after she had spent a few days with me. On the way up we listened to the music she likes on my iPod, and on the way back I listened to several episodes of “Selected Shorts,” and thought about my life.

On November 9th, I will turn 48 years old. It is hard for me to imagine that I am actually that old. I guess everybody has a mental image of who they are, and for me that image is of a much younger Will Humes . . . the Will Humes of my college days at Eastern Kentucky University, for example. It is amazing to me that those days are so long ago now, and that this year will also mark the 30th reunion of my High School graduation. Where does the time go?

In fact, my lovely daughter Desiree will be graduating from High School in less than two years now (the Class of 2011), and though my body sometimes tells me otherwise, I do not feel my age. I am older now than when my parents divorced. I have less than 20 years before I retire, and (if life expectancy tables are to be believed), I have much less life left to live than I have already lived.

Shouldn’t I have done more with my life by now? Is this all there is? Or to quote the title of one of my favorite movies, is this “as good as it gets?” I had a t-shirt for several years that I loved (but which my daughter hated for obvious reasons, which read “This is not the life I ordered.” And on many days . . . too many days . . . that is exactly how I feel.

Of course, I realize that most people have these feelings. And I also realize that I am past due for a mid-life crisis of sorts. But still . . .

I came across a quote from Howard Thurman recently that has been playing around in and with my mind. Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Is it selfish to do what “makes you come alive” as Thurman puts it? And further, what exactly would that be for me? After all, some days I feel barely alive at all. Is this how the rest of my limited life will be lived?

I hope not, but in order for this not to be the case, I need to discover or rediscover what makes me alive, and then I need the courage to do it. Ah, there’s the rub.

Well, I have rambled on quite enough already. What do you, my gentle readers, think . . . all five of you, that is? I would really like to know.

-Will

A Prayer by Thomas Merton

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road.

Though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me.
And you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.
– Thomas Merton

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Coping with Loss – Anne Lamott

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you will never completely get over the loss of a beloved person. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly– that still hurts when the weather is cold– but you learn to dance with the limp.” — Anne Lamott

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