You see it on a Facebook post. Someone will just write the word This and it will have a link to a meme or article. It is a short hand way of saying this is worth reading. This captures something true. This speaks to where I am living right now. This is important. It deserves attention. This one thing right now. This.
I am renaming my blog and making a new commitment to write more and send it out into the world. The name I have chosen is This Life. Maybe it is my stage in life…the last third, or perhaps it was my brush with cancer, or maybe it is the spiritual journey I have been on…but what I find most worth paying attention to right now is life itself. Living awake and alert to all that is happening. Looking for goodness and possibility. Savoring the small moments that are full of beauty and joy.
I read an article in the newspaper this morning about a man that has been taking one photo every day and has done this for 25 years. He said early on, he was in a lot of the pictures, but over time, he shifted his focus to outward. It has become a chronicle of the human condition and the journey we’re all on. That captured my imagination. I take a lot of pictures, mostly of nature. I do it not for posterity, or even to chronicle life, but rather because something has captured my attention in the moment, and I take a picture of it so I can post it and share the beauty with others. I think if I were to take on the endeavor of taking a photo a day, I would spend my day looking for the perfect photo op for that day (yes, I have some perfectionist tendencies that I am trying to recover from), and might miss living my life. But on the other hand, to go through life with the exquisite attention of a photographer, really seeing each moment with all the shadows and light, well, that would be something would it not? And to know that the memorable photo might not be the most exciting moment or the most beautiful thing, but the real thing where life is lived. That it is this. That would be a gift.
I am wired to be a restless sort. I am always looking ahead to what is next. I am a goal-oriented, achiever who needs a to-do list with check marks next to them to know that I had a productive day, which is a good day in my book. That part of me has served me well in life. Hard-working, conscientious, responsible. These are words that have shown up on my report card and performance reviews and psychological assessments. This part of me is well-developed to be sure. And then life gives you wake up calls. You don’t have forever. You might only get this moment. Things will happen to you that will force to realize you can’t always pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get it done yourself. You can be as hardworking, conscientious and responsible as you know how, and you will still find yourself in places that you cannot control or manage, work your way or think your way out of. All you can do is to live with a stance of curiosity and openness. Ok. So this. So this is here and this too is life. So now, how shall I live?
That is what this blog will be about. Ponderings on that question of how shall we live, now, here, in this moment, paying attention to this life. I come to it not as an expert or as one who has all the answers but rather as a sojourner who is writing from the field of living. As a life-long United Methodist, and ordained clergy, I bring a perspective of faith in the Christian tradition but that too has been going through its own ruminations and remaking which may well show up here. So let us begin. One day, one moment at a time. Eyes, hands, heart wide open, looking for what is in each moment, cultivating gratitude for this life.