Yesterday my great aunt turned 98. I got to tag along for her birthday lunch, though she had no recollection of who I was for much, if not all, of it.
The interesting thing about family is that you get front row seats for the best of people. We may get lazy and show up at our worst, but we also open up a bit.
In our softer moments, we look around with amazement at how caring, talented, considerate, and generous our loved ones are. How fragile and magnificent human life is – and how we get these precious court-side seats for a select few.
That’s a vulnerable space to be in. So vulnerable it’s hard to hold. It passes somewhere between two glasses of wine and the next sentence someone says to you.
But what if you lived there all the time?
What if you opened yourself up to the awesomeness of the life right around you?
The miracle of kids having their own, unique personalities.
The random chance that you married such a clever, funny, caring person.
The heart-pried-wide moment you really know your parents hearts are beating, just like yours.
All of you hoping for a past you can’t re-do.
Holding your defenses together because love is just too strong.
It consumes you to the point of unstable bliss. Yet all the while, you feel your most connected, most content.
It’s hard to appreciate someone for who they are, because it feels so fragile. You can’t hold onto the truth of someone’s existence like you can the character you’ve made of them your head. (Tweet it!)
You can relate to a caricature. You can laugh with it, get annoyed with it, have tried-and-true relationship dynamics with it.
But a real, whole human? You can only stand in awe.
Helpless to contain or control their beauty. Struck that they feel inspired to gift their time to you.
The one who just might be unworthy of all of this. But no one seems to have noticed yet…
You wonder how long you can go on sliding under the radar of good fortune, until someone – anyone – discovers you’re not actually all your personality says you are.
You talk a good game and put on a good show, but behind the skin that makes up the expression on your face, a secret voice asks how.
How do they love you despite all your walls?
How do they not notice how far you are from who you could be?
And how can you possibly live up to who you know you truly are when you’ve already fallen so miserably behind?
Those eyes that open just enough to be blinded by the light of the ones you love must turn inwards to reflect the light of your still pure soul.
Because you are magnificent too. Still. Now, and always.
The frailty of the breath you take is just as sacred – just as special – as the life being breathed through those you love.
Because we are all chosen. We are all gifted with this one gorgeous, meaning-filled life.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!