Thursday I skipped my 6 am boot camp workout. I had been tired all week and felt like I needed a break. So I got up at my usual 5am time and went to the living room. In the dark quietness of the house I sat and meditated on the beauty of the rare stillness of the moment. It is interesting how a house makes it's own unique sounds. The dogs snored softly in the hallway, the hiss of the water heater kicking on and the creak of the house as it adjusts to a slight temperature change. It's in these quiet moments that I 'feel' life all around me. It's always there, it is just that I don't take enough time to be consciously aware of it. Something that I must work on. For this 'presence' is life.
Before I knew it 6 am was here and the usual hustle and bustle of the morning begins. Mike gets up to fix Noah breakfast while I head to the shower. On rare mornings like this, I also like to take Noah, my 12 year old son to school while I head into work. On this day, we ended up sitting in an unusually long line of traffic. I happened to glance in my rear view mirror and noticed a young man sitting in the car behind us. He appeared to be asleep. I thought to myself how strange that was and then quickly turned my attention to my son who chatted away about where the front of the traffic line was located. I drank my coffee while admiring his cuteness and thinking how quickly my children have grown up. Suddenly there was a loud crunching sound as we were hit hard from behind and thrust forward. My coffee splashed everywhere as my son and I gasped in alarm. The young man behind us had apparently 'woke up' and suddenly hit his gas pedal. Nothing to be alarmed at with this incident. My son and I were fine and there was very minor damage to both cars. My point in bringing it up was this. Life can change in a second.
I'm an RN and in the line of work that I do I see similar situations like what occurred with my son and me, only they are magnified 100 times. I deal with the results of these accidents on a daily basis. One minute a young lady is talking to her son in traffic, and the next she is rear ended so hard that they both end up in ICU on a ventilator. Their family left to deal with the consequences and decisions of the results of an accident that occurred in a split second due to someone not paying attention or being 'asleep' to their surroundings.
One of my responsibilities in the role that I have at the hospital, is to help families make decisions with death and dying. Quality of life versus quantity of life. Each one is personal and everyone has different thoughts on this. Some will press forward with life no matter what state the body is in. Others accept letting go and would not want their loved ones to live in that state. My husband and I have discussed this situation thoroughly and know each others wishes. We chose quality of life, not quantity. Each person must arrive at their own thoughts on this matter in their own way and be respected with the decisions they make and the place they are at. I have witnessed a 90 year old, five pack a day smokers cling to life at all costs and want all life preserving measures done, even if it meant living on a vent, in a bed and in a coma for the rest of their life. Yet, I have also witnessed younger people who chose to let go when life meant not living it as they were used to.
Yesterday, my husband and I went for a ten mile run. It was a great run. The temperature was 40 degrees and the sun was shining. The birds sang to us the whole time and I noticed the trees had the beginning sprouts of Spring buds. It felt wonderful to get out and feel the pavement beneath my feet and the cool wind on my face. At points in the run when I started to struggle, I focused on the stillness. Yes, even though I was running, there is stillness to be found. Be a silent observer. Listen to your breath, feel the sensations and there, that's where you will find the stillness. This stillness is being totally awake.
Life is precious. In a moment, it can be taken away. I want to strive to not 'sleep' through life, but to be 'awake' and observe life. To be aware of it around me at every moment.
I encourage you, my reader, to do something you love every day, try something new. Try practicing being 'awake' at all times when you do these things. Oh, and most importantly, be sure and hug your loved ones and kiss them every chance you get, for life can change in a split second!