Didn’t have a post ready to go this morning. Was pretty sure I would let this Sunday go by without one.
But you know how morning walks with Bindi go. Sometimes you see something that wasn’t there before. We just got back. Maybe I have something for you, after all. It’s probably messy. Not quite finished. But maybe that’s okay.
Thinking about being fully here, in the present. Thinking a lot about that, actually.
About standing right where we are. Right when we are. To giving in fully to the joy of the sanderlings in the surf. To stopping the internal voice long enough to see, truly see all the colors in the sunrise. To admiring the white tulips in the vase.
But here isn’t always sanderlings and sunrises and tulips. Sometimes it’s the bitter north winds that slice through your jacket and leave you burning. Sometimes here is sound of the dentist’s drill on your teeth. Sometimes it’s the agony of seeing that one you love more than any sitting in their fear and uncertainty, and being completely powerless to ease their pain.
Sometimes here is just endless gray. Or darkness so thick that there is no air.
And standing right here means all of it. We don’t get to choose which part of here and now to stand in. To be in is to be fully in, and it must be that way. You knew this so well. Feeling the joy completely. And also letting the pain wash over you, just as fully.
We’re often told that all we have is right now. And that honoring this sacred moment, this sacred place - just as it is - can transform us in the most spectacular way. And I believe that.
I think there’s more, and the more is hope. It’s understanding that here is only here. That now is only now. Not everywhere and not always.
I’ve been thinking about the two faces of hope.
Sometimes hope deceives. It makes promises that the future simply will not ever honor, because the future cannot. And in making those promises, hope shifts our focus from what is to what will never be. Hope can lead us to delusion, and to a life less lived. Always looking for a future that will never be, and missing all of those moments that give our brief time the texture and color of pure joy.
In some ways, it was letting go of this false hope that allowed me to find so much joy in my time with you these past two years. Allowed me to love every back rub. To bathe in every smile. To soak up every laugh. To find the deepest joy when you emerged from your room every morning, and made your way up the stairs. In all the little memories that are so precious to me now. Moments that would have missed without the courage to face the inevitability that they would one day, one day soon, come to an end.
But there is another side of hope, isn’t there. The hope that might be realized. Moreover, the hope that inspires us to achieve. To persevere when persevering seems all but impossible. Beyond us. To strive to do what cannot be done.
The hope that may, at some level, fulfill itself.
I don’t have an answer this morning. No neat little phrase to put in your pocket and take out when you need something to tell you where to look.
I don’t know exactly how to thread this needle. How to stand in the here and the now while letting ourselves believe in there and then. How to discern false hope that robs us of our color from the hope that inspires.
Only a thought, and the hope that we might talk about it later.
Perhaps the trick is allowing our focus to shift, ever so slightly, from the sand beneath our feet and the tiny little shells, past the pier, and to the distant horizon, where the sun is just setting over the Pacific. The Pacific.
To hold all of it in our hands at the same time.
I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well.
I love you,