So I sat with this fear,
Being patient with it for once.
And I was shocked to learn its source:
A sense of entitlement,
That I should live forever.
Where did this entitlement come from?
Perhaps nowhere other than the desire
That it be true.
So I started from the opposite end,
And made a prayer,
A prayer that I have said
Everyday since, with variations:
That means that each day is a gift,
Each moment is a gift, and
My life is a gift;
And that means that that this day is a gift,
This moment is a gift,
My fifty years is a gift.
Often, I begin by saying, "Lord";
Sometimes, I picture her holding me
In the palm of her Hand.
Usually, each day, moment, life is a gift;
Sometimes, it is a blessing, or a miracle.
Once, at dinner, my oldest son wondered,
If this day was a gift
And there was something wrong with it,
Could it be returned?,
Could you get your money back?
What is the relationship between
My life as a brief episode of being,
And it being a gift?
Usually, I claim this as a logical conclusion:
Because: my baseline is nothingness,
Therefore: any something is a gift.
But sometimes, on defiant days,
It feels more honest to say,
"In spite of this, I claim this day as mine."
Mostly, however, it's a prayer of thanksgiving,
And I use it to guide me
Into a listing of the gifts
I found in the previous day,
And the gifts that are possible today:
A powerful therapy session,
A useful piece of work,
A moving show or story,
An important conversation.
Or: An instructive failure,
A creative understanding,
Hearing someone through their pain,
Or: The textures of the trees,
The surface of the road on which I run,
The feel of the air,
The phases of the moon,
The morning star.
And sometimes I think of
not just my life,
But all of us,
each person's life
is a gift
So all of this is all of ours.
And now, having completed
Fifty years, I feel my life
As a significant piece of human history,
A piece I did not necessarily
Expect that I would to live to see.
And this is a gift, it is a blessing.
Finally, some days,
The prayer goes on like this:
And this moment is always eternal,
Is always a coming into being,
Is always a passing out of being,
This moment always is,
This moment always has been,
This moment always will have been,
In the constant mind of God.