Last night I was reading The Wisdom of No Esc
ape by Pema Chodron, this month’s book topic for the Namaste Book Club
, and I came to Chapter #6 Joy. The principle point of the chapter is that sometimes we “subtly forget about joy” and instead bask in our misery of day to day living. Instead we were encouraged to recognize the joy.
“That sense of wonder and delight is present in every moment, every breath, every step, every movement of our own ordinary everyday lives, if we can connect with it.”
The chapter ends with a teaching by the Navajo, who instruct their children that each day is a gift. They tell them, “The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won't have wasted precious time."
This reminded me of a wonderful woman I knew growing up. Ruth was a member of our church congregation and had leukemia long before much was known about the disease. When I was very young she was told she had 3-5 years to live. She refused to accept that and began researching every possible avenue for a cure. A cure never came. However, Ruth also began to live in the present, fully understanding that she may not be given any additional time.
She recognized each day as a gift, each encounter with a friend as a unique opportunity to share and grow. I can never remember seeing her without a smile on her face. She had an amazing voice and sang in the church choir. She made the best cookies, which I enjoyed every time my family went over to visit. She sewed gorgeous hand-made dolls for each of her grand children as a parting gift to remember her by. I don't think she understood the word average, as everything she did was done so well and with such enthusiasm.
Ruth ended up living 17 years past her original diagnosis. Seventeen years of living in the moment, of finding the wonder and delight in the present, of living as if each day were a gift and may well be her very last. What an inspiration she was to me. I only hope that I can live my life so well and remember the joy in every breath, every step, every movement.