life: right here, right now.

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.” -Walt Whitman

I've given up. Given up on it. (And I should have long ago, but I always seem so determined to learn the hard way.) Nevertheless, I gave it up. Gave up that marvelously fictitious idea of happiness. Those grand expectations of how life should be.

The white picket fence. The arm around the waist. The wrap around porch.

They're all gone now. Given up for the life I am actually a part of.

And what is it about humans that we get lost in the dreaming about a certain life that we completely miss the fact that our life is right now, in front of us, staring us in the face asking to be lived? But we are too busy waiting. Waiting for the kids to reach that certain age, the promotion to come, the change of address

And we miss it, don't we?

We miss the life we are a part of.

Johnny Cash had it right, if only in his definition of paradise: this morning, with her, having coffee.

And how can that be his paradise? Because paradise is geraniums by the open window and being on the top of the mountain. It's perfect health, plenty of money, blissful happiness.

At least that's what I always thought. But is it just another expectation I must give up? And the geraniums are dying because damn it I haven't watered them in a week, and I had to hike seventeen miles straight up this mountain to get here, and I always want to be healthier, wealthier, happier. So is there a paradise within paradise?

Or is paradise right here, because all I have right now is right here?

We were sitting on the wood steps outside my apartment and the sun was setting and it was that perfect time of evening, when you can feel the burden of the day leave you and right then, at least for a moment, you are just two kids sitting on steps outside of your college apartment, forgetting about exams and "the real world" lurking around the corner and all these expectations you, and everyone else, have for yourself. And I had been trying to watch the sunset most nights, and I was telling you how I always just want to capture that moment right before the sun falls onto the earth. Want to capture it and put in a mason jar as if it were a lightening bug and sit it on my night stand. I want to capture it and look at it under my covers when the house is dark and quiet late at night.

And I can't do that. Can't stop a moment. Can't stop time. Can't control it.

And we are killing ourselves for control, but it is a hopeless pursuit. Because we can't stop the minutes passing, the body aging, the children growing up, the cancer killing, the dementia setting in.

We can try, we can attempt to prevent, but we cannot control.

So I breathe deep and give it up. Give up the expectations and the fight to control and the endless wanting. And I find something beautiful: there's been life here all along, waiting to be lived, to be seen, to be appreciated. And I drive on open highway under open skies and I thank God for right here, right now, this life.

And I catch little glimpses of the glory that is to come. When this earth is gone and the new has come and there is no weight of sin, but there is life, life in abundance.

And for now I live. Live this life that I have and can't return, but I can accept and give it what it wanted all along: to be lived.