On Friday night, I attended a memorial service of a dear friend in Seattle. While there in the church pew, celebrating the life of and grieving the loss of this amazing woman, another friend took my hand and placed it on her pregnant belly to feel the baby kick.
One friend is giddy about a new love interest in her world. Another is dreading the inevitable breakup she will soon have to initiate.
And after a gorgeous spring day – the kind that confirms that Seattle is the most beautiful city on the planet, and nudges my spirit saying, “Remember what it’s like to smile?” and in which I got sunburned cheeks from being outside at Green Lake and along the waterfront of Shilshole – I spent the evening with, and felt the incomprehensible sadness of, my sweet friend who is living in the ruins of having lost a child.
Death and life, the end and the beginning, profound joy and severe pain; contrasting events juxtaposed in the most poignant way. It made me feel so small.
And I was re-reminded: the only way to find life is to live in the present. To be emotionally gutsy enough to feel whatever we need to feel, come what may. To attempt to live in gratitude, no matter the disappointments or frustrations or non-ideal circumstances. To find the gift in the “right now” – because life, ready or not, is going to hold a vast spectrum of events, emotions, stages, chapters, seasons.
We have to be present. We have to. Because in this life, longing is inescapable – but to be available right now is to be open to hope right now.