Mason Jar Life

"I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep." -Kurt Vonnegut

She sat there in her folding chair that swallowed her body and tugged at her hair. Her face showed a life that was lived well and extravagantly. She was young; maybe the age of my mom. Her son was my age.

She had a ventilator she carried with her everywhere. Thin, dark hair was on the top of her head. There wasn't much, proof of her prior chemo treatment, but there was some, proving she had stopped accepting the medicine.

She wanted to live her last days without the thick drug attacking and devouring the disease in her body. She wanted to sit on her folding chair on the back of her porch and watch the birds fly to and fro and hear the crickets sing their song.

She asked me what the day was. July 22nd? Already? she said.

Many times I've commented on how quick time flies but for her time was galloping past and she was like a slug chasing a race car.

Time is a merciless tyrant like that: It throws you into the race and expects you to fly but you can never catch up; no one can. It's an endless cycle of tears and blood and sweat. And for what?

We look behind us and we see the good 'ol days. We see our lives when we were seventeen and everything was perfect. Time was simpler, people were kinder and we were innocent.

We turn around and we see our children at the tender ages of two and three. Now they are grown and they're not going to stop. They'll never get any younger. They are dieing with each passing breath.

So we try and look forward; we turn our eyes and hips and legs to the future: what can be, what will be, what shall be. There is so much. Lots to do, lots to accomplish. Will we do it all? Will we regret anything? Will we create memories and a legacy and beauty with our fragile lives?

A mix of nostalgia and anxiety sets in as we linger in the past and worry about the future.

And yet, we only have today. Right now. This moment. 

To be obsessed with the past or with the future is worthless because we are currently creating our past and our future.

Live your days. Live this day. Take a deep breath and swim in how wide and how deep this moment is because here is the truth: none of it is yours to keep. One flashing moment can steal all the time you have stored up in your little, fragile, beautiful, breakable Mason Jar of Life. 

And to be in the present, is the most beautiful thing.

fabulous image by Louis Lander-Deacon. You can find him here.