I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life, liturgy, missed opportunities and creating events. It seems as if too often we let ourselves move through life on autopilot. We deal with the tasks at hand, doing the maintenance, creating the meals, fixing the clogged sinks, washing the jeans and towels, figuring out what to make for the next meal, paying the bills, filing the papers we’ll need next year at tax time. Mealtime comes and we crash on the couch, sitting in a row, looking at the screen. We go on vacation and talk to each other. We have fun together, we laugh and listen, reminisce and dream. Then we throw the switch, go back home, deal with the laundry and the bills, and it’s business as usual. There are errands to run, bills to pay, groceries to buy, gas tanks to fill. Why would anyone expect “vacation” to exist during the year?
We invite a friend for dinner. We dust the house and make sure the bathroom is clean. We finally deal with the stack of junk mail. We set the table, put out real napkins and candles. Chill the wine. Does everything have to be an event? No. But what happens when nothing is an event? What happens when the only time we communicate with the people we love is on the annual vacation? What happens when we visit friends we rarely get to see and never put our smart phone away? I still remember the Thanksgiving meal at a friend’s home forty years ago. . . the china was on display in the china cupboard – the meal was served on mismatched, chipped everyday dishes, with plastic mismatched cups. What does it do to you when nothing is special? What does it say to those gathered at your table when you make no special effort for their arrival?
Life can be wonderful, cruel, hard, blissful. But being on auto-pilot can sap the blood right out of you. Life is a gift. Notice it. Give thanks for it. If you love someone pay attention to them. If you are thankful to someone then make a point to tell them. When was the last time you told someone you love them? When was the last time you told your child that you are proud of them? When did you write a frivolous letter to bring a smile to a friend? When did you bring flowers home just because it was Tuesday? Life is uncertain. Tomorrow might not come. What are you doing today?
Love is precious. Friends are gifts. Sunshine makes flowers grow. I love yous aren’t improved by reserving the saying of them to semi-annual occasions. Pick up the phone. Track down a long lost friend. Look out for each other. Notice those you love. Tell them. Listen to their dreams. Hold their hand. Dry their tears. Hug often. Don’t relegate life to days off and vacation time. Give encouragement. Put down the remote. Pick some daisies. Put them behind your back and make an event of presenting them. Write a love letter and mail it. On nice paper. With a stamp. Do what it takes. Don’t miss opportunities. What matters? Show it, live it, express it, give thanks.