I sat with her in the bright winter sunshine of a cold, cold day, her hospital room feeling more settled than most I had been in for a long time. In her heavy accent, she shared with me about growing into adulthood in a communist country where she only received two hours of water a week, no electricity, and had to walk an hour and a half one way to get groceries twice a week. “Just to apply for my green card, I had to drive 8 hours and wait in line the night before they opened. It took me five times until I got in,” she said. But she did finally get in, and found the exact amount of money she needed for ticket to the United States just one day before she had to leave. Now, she speaks with pride and wonder about her two children, both with strong faith and hearts to serve and seek after their own spiritual health.
“Why? Why did all this happen to me this way? Why did God make this possible that I could come here?” she asked. “I ask my children this often and my 14-year-old daughter said to me once, ‘Maybe it’s so you could have us, Mom.'”
“Yes,” I agree. “For them. And for this… for this moment. For this conversation. To be here in the hospital, sharing your life with me and all those who are meeting you every day.”
People want such complicated reasons for why things happen the way they do. We want to know what our grand purpose is, why we are here, why something good or bad came our way. But what more do we really need than right now. We have been given everything we possibly need to be present and to love in this moment. This. Moment.
And yet we ask for more! There are days when asking God/the Universe/Life for more feels like such pride, such hubris. How dare we?!? How dare we say, I haven’t been given enough… not enough possessions, not enough good luck, not enough positive experiences, not enough breaths. Everything, everything, everything has been happening to us to prepare us for right now. For this very important and precious person right in front of us, this one who needs us here. Now. All manner of things have worked together to bring us to this place of taking this one breath, seeing this one sunrise, appreciating this one cup of coffee, and reveling in this one bird who sings as if his life depends on it.
Do not ask for more. Do not wait for tomorrow. Do not assume that whatever you think you need to do is more important than what is in front of you. We are given infinitely more than we will ever need.