I mentioned yesterday that I had friends coming over to watch The Blind Side and have a healthy lunch...we had a great time and really loved the movie. What a completely uplifting movie - funny, serious, thought provoking, poignant. And the food was great...tuna salad and a big tossed salad with some Sesame Semolina bread from Panera. One of the friends brought a half of a bar of dark chocolate from Trader Joe's that we each had 2 squares of for dessert. It was great, because it wasn't too sweet, but was rich and creamy and totally satisfied without setting up a craving for more. And since there wasn't any more, that worked out well. I've been known to hit the Wawa, our local convenience store, to extend a sweet fest that has threatened to peter out due to running out of resources, shall we say. But this not too sweet dark variety did not compel me to want/need/desperatelyseek more.
I found out yesterday that the 56 y/o father of one of my son's good friends died suddenly while biking in Valley Forge State Park with one of his sons (the one with whom my son is good buds). Apparently he had a massive heart attack, and paramedics were never able to get him back at all. The 23 y/o son who was with him must have tried CPR and everything he possibily could until EMTs got there, and I've been so sad, shocked and upset since hearing about this, esp. how excrutiating it must have been for his son to witness whatever he did and not being able to change the course of events. This dad was one of the good guys - soft spoken, a Boy Scout leader (both his sons were Eagle scouts), great husband, in good health. Always a person who did the next right thing, including taking care of himself. His only risk factor was family history of heart disease, which played a role in how he cared for himself and his family. A huge shock, an event that seemed impossible, and now the lives of his loved ones are inextricably altered.
What a perspective jolt this kind of tragedy brings. My husband went to a Phillies game a couple of weeks ago with this man and a couple of other guys, and recalled that while they were in the car, the subject of someone dying in their late 40s in much the same manner was mentioned. The same fellow who just passed away on Saturday remarked, "It just reminds us to live each day as though it was our last." It's so easy to glibly arrive at that conclusion. Almost trite. And then tragedy hits closer to home and that notion of living each day fully becomes one of the only comforting thoughts I can find to navigate the immense sadness. It truly makes me want to live more boldly, extending more care and love and service outward. I feel compelled to it, but I also know that as the days pass, the wisdom and urgency of the call to live each day as though it is my last will dilute as my own life continues to unfold with the mini-dramas, joys, pain, struggles, and busyness of daily life.
Those thoughts bring me rather tidily to something I referred to yesterday that had given me food for thought. Chris from A Deliberate Life had commented to my Friday post about working my food plan one day at a time. It was short so I'm going to repeat it:
"It is a one day a time thing...but those one days turn into weeks and weeks to months and months to years...as anyone past thirty knows...the years go and go and go...fast. Go all in."
Having been a "one day at a timer" for many years in AA, I've heard that before a zillion times. But when I read Chris' comment Saturday morning (before our friend's death), it struck me with a new awareness; that each one day at a time is a single unit of the many days we are given to live our lives for however long they last. I'm not doing what I do today at point A so I'll get to point Z eventually and then begin to REALLY live the way I want to. I need to make it count today, and if possible, make it count with joy and gratitude that I'm still able to look up and observe a clear blue sky as backdrop for amazing trees, rooftops, birds moving through. Make it count by loving who I love and letting them know it. Make it count by eating, moving and living today the way I want to. And if I don't, not take it too seriously... but seriously enough to remember that this isn't a dress rehearsal.
For example: I made the URL of this blog "willswimagain", because it's been my deepest desire to get back into the water and be nurtured and restored by it's properties. I've resisted for years because I've felt too fat to get into a bathing suit
I suspect that my friend who died this weekend while biking with his son would have found that an acceptable way to go...doing something he loved, with someone he loved (minus the trauma that his son likely endured in witnessing the event, of course). But having been fully in connection with his son, with his body and its physical abilities, and with himself.
When AA was in its early years, the founders were forever deliberating over things like who to allow in to the fellowship, what they had to believe, rules, regulations or lack thereof...all kinds of human ego-driven stuff. Eventually they arrived at what is now know as Rule 62 - Don't take yourself too seriously. That referred to AA as a whole, but also to individuals. Thus another of the endless paradoxes of life - don't take ourselves too seriously, but recognize that there is no "big show" that we're heading for. Life is the big show. If I want to be lean, healthy and strong, I live lean, healthy and strong today. Not when I finally get there.
That said, I AM going swimming when I get off work, and I AM going to languish in and relish the feel of the water surrounding and moving over every molecule of my body. Then to my church's Strawberry Festival which is an annual BIG FUN DEAL in our community. I will eat 2 charred hot dogs from the grill, on buns, with yellow mustard and chopped onion. Also some unsweetened strawberries. And that will be dinner and the end of my eating for the day. It's going to be a good day - I feel it in every cell of my being!