Last night, I went to a memorial for a woman in my Buddhist group. She passed away last week after battling brain cancer for eighteen months. Only fifty years old and the single mother of a teenaged son.
In Buddhism, everything is one. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Black and white. They are not opposites but compliments. Part of the whole. Nothing should be judged; it just is. That can be hard to see when you or someone you love is going through something traumatic. Why? is always the question. Because is not the answer one seeks.
I doubt anyone reading this post hasn't suffered a loss, or known someone with cancer, MS, Parkinson's or any other debilitating or deadly disease; perhaps you are living with one or have survived it. My hat is tipped to you. I'm sure the idea of embracing such an affliction seems utterly asinine. We are supposed to fight it, hate it, resent it, not surrender to it. By that, I don't mean give up, but to accept what is and find the path it is guiding you to...be it healing, treatment, activism or living life in a new way.
Okay, I don't mean to sound all California, airy-fairy, crunchy granola. We know I'm a little more pragmatic than that. However, I think that if there is any gift in such tragedy, it is to look at our own lives and make whatever adjustments we can or should to make them better. More in line with how we want them to be. Be more like the person we hope to be. Not wait for "when", but take the now and live it fully.
That sounds lovely, until the alarm goes off and we have to battle traffic and drag our ass through a day of work. But, that's just what I mean. That's the now. That is all we have. We hope for many, many nows, and sort of expect them to keep on coming. But, really, we don't know what amount of nows we own. Each one is a little gift. A sweet surprise. A wonder. Even when they might suck.
But, I hope your now doesn't suck. I hope you are having a great now. And that all the nows that follow will be even better. But, just in case you stumble upon a lackluster now, take a second to think of something that brings you joy and hold on to it. Move toward it if you can. Right now.