Someday I hope to write about the achingly beautiful life we have been given and do it justice. Our lives are so chock full of rush and worry...and these same lives are lived out at break neck speed with a cosmic-sized to do list attached to our bended backs. Life passes by like a bullet train, and we stand at the platform waving at a disappearing shadow wondering why we have been left behind.
Or perhaps it is just me... But the train slowed down yesterday for me because of Athena, the small, frail Greek woman in her nineties who stopped my mom and I at the elevator at her senior apartments. She wondered if we would be around for a few moments because she needed two witnesses for her will. As we crossed the threshold of her apartment, I noticed a child-sized easel with some excellently drawn pieces and asked if she was an artist. A humble woman, she was difficult to draw out, but finally she showed me a picture of two beautiful hands reaching out towards a ball of light. "I had a vision,” she revealed. When I pressed her for details, she stated plainly, her voice nearly a whisper, "It was with all of my senses... And I knew I could die in peace."
Her son knocked at the door, and when we found out that the notary would not appear for about an hour, I plugged in my headphones and went for a walk at a nearby nature trail, thinking about being at peace with death. The lyrics to a tune Robin Mark recorded played in my head, accompanied by a haunting penny whistle..."when it all is said and done, all my treasures will be nothing; only what I did for love's reward will stand the test of time..."
A couple walked ahead of me with an unwieldy bike device. A small child tried to ride without success. Suddenly, her mom commandeered the bike and a laughing father and child pushed her awkwardly on the small vehicle. As the penny whistle played a score behind my steps, I began to unravel. A young father walked towards me, his face serene and filled with quiet pride. He pushed a stroller filled with a blanketed infant, too young to walk but not too young to smile. Her face was a mirror of her father's, and as they approached, I saw their lives pure and surrounded by promise. I came undone by the picture, and I could no longer hold back the flood of tears, my own joy and gratefulness overflowing out of these passing life pictures. We have been given this life- this beautiful, awkward, joy filled, painful, abundant life. It unfolds before us every day in these tiny moments of hope and possibility which get swallowed up or overshadowed by the other small things that really don't matter. But today, Athena spoke of a vision, and the day began to slow down. A family had a moment of spontaneous laughter. A father embraced a quiet winter walk with his daughter. And when I had returned for the signing, a fellow occupant of the senior apartment complex showed up in a furry bathrobe and curlers and announced she has worn her formal wear for the witnessing of the will. Suddenly, I was no longer necessary... they had one witness too many. But I was needed as a witness to this beautiful day as it unfolded and embedded itself into my heart. And like Athena, this day gave me a vision that someday I too will die at peace,
knowing a life filled with tiny moments of love and grace…
knowing all my treasures will mean nothing…
and knowing that only what I did for love's reward will stand the test of time.