True stories. Misfortune seemed to just constantly follow Fred around. After a heavy and prolonged upper New York State blizzard, he went to Lucinda’s house and rang the front doorbell. At that moment all of the snow on the roof above him let go; the avalanche hit him with such force it slammed him flat against the pavement, knocking him unconscious. When Lucinda opened the door all she saw were his two feet sticking out of the pile of snow! And as Lucinda aged she slowly slid into moderate Alzheimer’s. One Sunday as she was driving herself and Fred home from the church, she suddenly pulled over to the side of the road, turned the car off, and then just sat there. Eventually Fred asked, “What are we doing?” Lucinda replied, “I’ve forgotten how to drive.” Fred countered with, “But you were just doing it!” Nonetheless, they sat there for half an hour, at which point Lucinda remembered how to drive, turned the car on and off they went! I never did find out whether or not that trip that day had any further adventures.
Since anything can happen, living can be a dangerous affair. Each day presents us with two options: Do we live that day fearfully awaiting tragedy, or do we engage the day with a determination to get as much life out of it as possible, come what may? I was watching a documentary on India and they showed people bathing in the river for purification, while right next to them others were washing their laundry, sending little islands of soap bubbles floating down the river; the commentator then said: “… and they pollute even as they purify.” Somehow, I think that is how real life is for many of us as we struggle to live out each day, accomplishing some successes as well as some failures. At the end of the day though… which do we focus on?
It has been said that the act of consciously seeing changes what is seen. I remember taking art classes in high school and one of the first lessons was about how to see. We were shown a photo of a tree and then asked what we saw. Most said brown trunk, green leaves, blue sky. And then we had our first lesson in how to see things differently. For a while we only focused on the texture of the tree trunk, the glistening of the leaves, the spaces of sky between the leaves which defined the leaves. And then we were instructed to paint the tree without any brown, green or blue. That was the day I awoke to the fact that a tree can be pink with red leaves and a black sky peeking through… and still be very much a tree!
So… is this new day something to be feared or to be explored? Can it be different than yesterday? It all depends upon how we look at it.