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Posted By Opening the Heart

   I'm about to become a grandfather for the first time at the end of the summer. My daughter, Abby, asked me what I wanted the baby to call me when he/she began to speak. I thought of all the deep, meaningful connections from my past and I said "Yazstremski" (after the great Red Sox left fielder of the 60's). Without breaking stride, as only my daughter can, she said "Too many syllables". Realizing the wisdom there, we settled on "Grumpy".

   But becoming a grandfather led me to think about what lessons I could pass on or teach this new being of light. Well, I went back again to meaningful lessons in the past that I had received. The lesson I remember most from my dear father was what he would always say when he wanted to offer a helping hand through a dark moment. He would say "Life is short". I thought that was meaningful, but, really, I had no idea what he was talking about. When I was young, growing up, life wasn't really short. It was very long- it was forever, really. But as I grew up and became an elder, I came to understand what his words meant. As I experienced dark, scary things (like my dad dying), I came to know that life is really very short. His lesson was an invitation to stay in the present and embrace the preciousness of life in every breath.

   "Life is short". We've all heard those words and we endorse the wisdom of them, but it's only when life shows us its ragged, hard edge that we really know those words at a heart, visceral level. So many times I had come up short in holding the truth of this teaching.

   On April 18th I had a prostate biopsy. For two months I tried to sit with the uncertainty of what this might mean. Because I did not want Abby to be distracted from her preganancy, only two other people knew about the biopsy: my wife, Ruthi and my dear friend, Peter, who had been through radiation treatment for prostate cancer four years earlier. As I lived through the waiting, I tried to breathe and stay in the moment, but many times I fell short of being able to do this. It was so much easier to rehearse and to drift into the future of "what ifs". My dad's lesson, "Life is short" brought me some comfort and helped bring me to a place of perspective.

   When the doctor called me on April 25th, I realized that the only words I had not rehearsed, the only words I was not prepared for were "Everything came out great, Jon. All the biopsy samples were benign".... The truth is, I think it's really hard for any of us to stay in the present moment for very long. We all fall short again and again. There's always something fascinating going on that lures us back into marching in the parade....

   So, at times, life is so very short. It really does seem like yesterday that my own beautiful daughter was homebirthed into my trembling hands. And now I'm thinking about words I might pass on to my first grandchild.... "Life is short" seems just perfect.

   With Love and Respect, Jon              Jon


1 Comment(s):
Donna Macomber said...
Jon, Thank you for this honest, human, tender post. I am grateful for your good news, your clear results. I love you.
May 15, 2012 02:40:26
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