I think we have to experience loss, or the fading away, of things that we hold dear to really appreciate what we have been given for a time… our relationships, our cherished possessions, our health, and even our beliefs… all of these things are in process of fading and changing.
What does it look like for someone to resist the loss of things they hold dear? I suppose when it comes to possessions, we’d call this hoarding. So how many of us are living in a state of hoarding life for ourselves… refusing to acknowledge that things really are passing even as we love them. It happens so often that I talk to someone who is literally dying and they still remain fixated on things they still want to (or “need to”) do in their lives. “I want to travel here. I want to see my toddler grandson get married. I am not ready to give up, yet.”
I think this is why I feel so heartbroken when I talk to elderly men and women who resist so intensely the reality of their aging? They did not just wake up one day and feel old. This happens in process, as does everything around us. Very very few things happen suddenly… and often we are surprised mostly because we weren’t paying attention. Consider, as a metaphor, that birds can visually see more than 2x faster than humans. So things that might seem sudden or surprising for us, our feathered teachers have seen coming from a long way off. The same could ring true for us in our spiritual or contemplative awareness… our consciousness. We are mostly caught off guard by loss because we weren’t paying attention. Or because we were actively resisting such lack of control… essentially hoarding.
What a grievous thing, even a thing stolen from the world, to not be present to and appreciative of what is given for us for today even as it is passing. What a thing that our young people are missing from us when we can’t show them what it means to love life or love another even as these things fade and slip beyond our grasp. This is the way of nature, of reality. The seasons, the day from morning to night, even our precious bodies – the home we carry with us… all of these things rise and fall, come and go, are born and die. Like each and every breath. Do not be surprised by this. Do not be caught unawares or off guard. See differently and show others the value of seeing differently, as well, especially those young ones who are watching and learning… for they too will slip beyond our grasp in their own time.