Lately my eyes have been tearing up over the simplest things.
Like the photo of my cousin’s daughter, Veronica, who was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society. She is so young, and lovely, and smart – with a future full of promise ahead of her.
Hand me the Kleenex.
On the plane ride to California, I finished the book A Man Called Ove to heaving sobs, snot and the quizzical looks of surrounding seatmates.
On the flight home, once again Mark handed me tissues as I whimpered and cried off my makeup through the movie Wonder.
What is going on with me?
As I pondered the word ACCEPTANCE these past two weeks, the common denominator in all of my recent tenderness relates to accepting the fragility; the fleeting and temporal nature of life.
Does this happen to everyone when they hit a certain age?
The creases around my eyes and sagging jowl belie the years gone by. However, my spirits perk up when a new friend, in her 40’s, says, “I thought we were the same age.”
Still, time IS marching on.
We all have an expiration date unknown to us, but its reality beckons us to make the most of right now.
That closing scene of the Thornton Wilder play Our Town always slays me. Here, let me just play it for you:
By the way, the film Wonder features this scene, making it a double-whammy emotional gut punch.
Could my tenderness relate to the landmarks of time? This very week would have marked my 15th anniversary. Instead, in another month I will mark one year since my marriage ended.
I accept the passage of time and that creating a new version of happily-ever-after is up to me.
As I embrace this tender truth, I find myself looking at people directly in their eyes to make a true connection. Calling people and having long-overdue, hour-long conversations. Buying Hallmark cards in bulk to let the people I love know that I deeply love them.
For in the final analysis, what will matter?
My answer: How much did I learn, and how much did I love.
At church, we recite the Aramaic “Prayer of Our Father” that touches me deeply, especially:
“…detach the fetters of faults that bind us, like we let go the guilt of others.
Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed from that which keeps us off our true purpose.
From You comes all working will; the lively strength to act; the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age. Amen.”
“Let us not be lost in superficial things” massages my heart.
I gulped down the disappointment when losing what I imagined would be my trek to the International Public Speaking Championship. Just a week later, my heart swelled at this comment from one of the attendees at my Fear Factor workshop in Berkeley last week:
“Brenda was such a wonderful and genuine presenter. I was moved and will grow and grow as I process her message. One of the best professional development sessions I’ve ever attended. Thank you!”
Uncanny! In the same week, the gift that makes me feel alive to use, both rejected and applauded. A contest? Superficial. Impacting a person’s life for good? Deep.
It first hurt, then helped to realize that perhaps my dream of a championship remained rooted in the last vestiges of low self-esteem and ego.
Accepting that my real dream is to encourage hearts and open eyes offers a new level of freedom and fun that I am just beginning to enjoy.
Time marches on.
Though shockingly middle-aged, I feel like a kid just starting out.
I see life through new eyes; accepting the past and ready to embrace an unknown future, but with a daily intent to love the bejeezus out of everything and everyone I encounter.
More on ACCEPTANCE and the new WOW here:
Ah, and of course, after I recorded I was reminded of the scripture: Faith works by LOVE. Not by striving, obsessing, hard work or good intentions.
May we each FLOW in FAITH as we grow in love this week.
And are any of you feeling the passage of time and tenderness attached to it as I am these days? I’d love to hear from you.