I've been reminded again by the great universe that life is to be lived one moment at a time, because we cannot know how the next will change our lives forever.
A small thing: last week I was fixing a salad for myself for lunch and was holding an avocado half in my left hand, a knife in my right. I brought down the knife to whack the seed and sliced into the inside of my left index finger -- a fairly deep cut. I knew instantly that I needed to go to the ER, thought briefly about calling one of my neighbors, decided I was okay enough to go alone, grabbed a clean dishtowel nearby and wrapped it tightly around the cut, holding pressure on it with my other fingers, snatched the car keys, and was off to the hospital.
Three-plus hours and no lunch later, I came back home with five stitches and a 'script for an antibiotic. Fortunately I missed nerves and tendons, and surprisingly, the finger didn't really hurt or throb at any time. Stitches are now out and while there's a lump and a dry scab, the finger is fine.
But my plans to attend a meeting of writers in Redding were squelched.
Last night while we were downtown at the annual ArtWalk, my sister-in-law called: my brother had a seizure while in the middle of a conference meeting, and had dislocated both shoulders and had a small fracture in one. He's in the hospital. Cause unknown, although it may be a side effect of a new medicine. There is no history of seizure in the family nor with him.
I've talked with him twice and he sounds fine and very grateful that it didn't happen while he was driving nor in one of the cities he often travels to for business. They're investigating; he's in the hospital for a few more days.
My dear sister-in-law sounded wound tighter than a spring, and she told me she thought she'd lost him. I heard the fear in the pitch and speed of her words, and I know that only time is going to help ease that.
His life just changed drastically; so did hers. Even if he never has another (please, please, please), the spectre will be there especially for her because she watched it happen.
And my heart was in my throat all the while I talked with him. I am grateful he seems okay and that it happened where it did. But oh, please, no more.
But life throws these curves at us -- an illness, a death, an injury, loss of a job, news from a child. The good things also change us, but somehow it's easier than the bad things that force adjustments we may not want to make in an otherwise good life.
Which brings me back to the moment. It is all we have, this moment. In that moment we must do the best we can, where we are, with what resources we have.
We take preventive measures like reducing fat or sugar in our diets to help our heart health -- and boy, do I struggle with that old sugar thing every day! "Do I really want to eat this for the good of my heart?" I ask myself -- although I'm still working on asking myself that BEFORE I eat the piece of candy instead of feeling guilty after it's sliding down my throat.
We lock our doors, wear our seatbelts, drive safely. We get flu shots, regular checkups, annual tests. We get our teeth cleaned and checked. Maybe we exercise regularly (another oughta-do I'm still working on). We are proactive.
And stuff happens anyway, at least sometimes.
So I guess what we work towards is to do all the preventive stuff but mix in a huge dose of gratitude and gentle, loving, kindness towards ourselves and others in each of those moments that we have. A big order for only one moment, hm.
But it is all we know we have, and it is a good goal for each day: to make the most of each of our moments. Don't squander them. We never know how our life may change in the next moment.