By Judith England
Today is Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. It’s a day when we remember and honor those who gave their lives while in military service. It’s also a day when we make time to look back on all those who went before – civilians as well as soldiers.
But it can also be a day when we can choose to look on the life that we have now with gratitude. A day to pull ourselves together and stand for one moment body, mind, heart and spirit all together in one place.
War tears people and nations apart, but so does the conflicting demands of simply living in modern life.
One of my all-time favorite books is “A Gift From the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I’ve shared this book with many people, especially young women on the verge of moving out into the world and lives of independence. The slim volume brims with wisdom about finding the balance between self and other, between caring and being cared for, between the need for connection and the drive to independence and self-expression.
There’s a German phrase Lindbergh uses to describe a certain condition -“zerrissenheit” which translates to being “torn apart”. I take it to mean those times when the push-pull of life’s demands are equally strong, and diametrically opposed. I trust that anyone trying to balance out the importance of relationships, family, work, friends, creativity, and privacy can relate to what this phrase means. Constantly attempting to negotiate these needs can leave us resentful, exhausted, and confused as to who are our most authentic selves.
The only remedy is to re-member. To re-member ourselves. To re-member in the sense of bringing together all those parts of who we are physically, emotionally and spiritually. To re-member is to heal the dis-membering that can happen so easily, pull us off center and lose sight of what’s important.
This life we live is a precious thing. a finite gift that only asks us to show up to reap its rewards. Like those tickets for a door prize that say in fine print “You must be present to win”.
Sometimes a song just gets stuck in your head, and thinking about how cool all this being alive stuff is, Elton John’s “Your Song” is playing out – especially the line “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is when you’re in the world”.