Sometimes I look down at my hands, form a fist, and release. I know under the surface there is a complex nervous system coordinating my movement. So many processes are happening to just ball up my hand, and I am amazed I can even ponder it.
I breathe in and out. Again. I close my eyes, and I'm full of gratitude. There are these fleeting moments of hyper-awareness, when it seems like every little detail matters.
I had one of those moments recently. My Dad and I were screening in the patio at my house. We worked all weekend together. At one point I was holding a board for him to cut. The Sun was shining brightly behind his head, creating a soft glow around the edge of his hair, the cooler November air reminding me of changing seasons. I experienced lifetimes in a matter of seconds.
I imagined this same moment between my Dad and PawPaw, who has now passed. I felt the absence I'm sure my Dad feels from time to time when he's reminded his father is gone. I felt all twenty-seven years of being a son. I imagined my own son, kneeling next to me and feeling safe and cared for. I saw the day where I will walk this earth without my Dad, and I'll no longer have him in my life. I knew right away what I was experiencing would be a memory seared into my mind that I would recall years from now.
I felt the weight of everything. It was wonderful. It was terrible. Life is so fleeting, incredibly complicated, but so, so good. It's difficult to even type without tears trying to escape from the edge of my eyes.
I continued the project this past weekend by myself because Dad was out of town. He left his tools for me to use. He gave me a plan for continuing the project and showed me how to do the work myself. Some things took me a few more tries than it would have taken him, but I had his example in mind the whole time.
That's life, right?
We do our best to pass along what we know, to equip the ones we are responsible for in hopes they can carry on what we started. We give our energy, time, resources, love, health, money, soul...We pour out until the final transfer at our death, when our last breath leaves our body, and we turn into a memory in the minds of our loved ones.
I am very thankful for the people who have made deposits into the account of my life. It's an account that will bear returns they might never see.
I'm reminded of this old saying,
"Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
I've yet to have children of my own, but I'm challenged even now with my existing sphere of influence to sow seeds of goodness, love, peace, grace, mercy, forgiveness, encouragement, strength, gratitude, generosity...
In this fleeting life, what is worth more than acknowledging that our lives matter deeply and responding appropriately by influencing those who will outlast us?