Saturday, January 23, 2010

1:56, Hot cocoa, my dog and rain showers

It's 1:56 am and the house is silent except for the sound of an occasional rain shower passing by, but I lay in bed wide awake. I can feel my pulse in every bit of my body from the tips of my fingers, to the small of my back, to the end of my nose. Every bit of me would like to have a nice dream, picturing myself on a boat in a harbor, with the breeze gently stirring the air. But all I can focus on is the beating of my heart and the dull ache in my head. So I get up.

Our sweet boy dog Tucker looks at me and dutifully gets up too, following me upstairs while I make a cup of cocoa. Maybe the cocoa will sooth this restlessness.

Tonight they had the big fundraiser for Haiti on the television. I thought to myself how well the medium is suited for these tragedies and how well they have perfected the delivery. I remember the 911 telethon. It's the same format. Images of the devastation and the human toll are flashed across the screen, while faces of those people the world has idolized sing or speak in appeal for help. At the end, I may donate a little more money than I already have given. At the end I am always left with a sad feeling that I haven't given enough of myself to help.

Perhaps it is because it is January. Perhaps its because thousands of people have died. Perhaps it is because people I have known and loved have died, or that people I know and care for are fighting disease that could one day kill them, but I am left with the feeling I am not doing enough. Am I living this life I have been given well enough. Am I making enough of a difference.

Each of us are given gifts. Some of those gifts are showy and impressive like Jennifer Hudson belting out a song with spiritual zeal, or George Clooney with dreamy eyes and a charming dimple. Most of us are given smaller less noticeable gifts. But each of us have these gifts. What are your gifts and how are you using them.

Life is a circle, I think you have heard that before. There is a symmetry to it that makes sense. A friend said to me that she remembers someone signing off of her radio show by saying, "In a hundred years there will new a whole new set of people." In that idea there is a lot to think about. In a hundred years, what difference will any of this make. A pessimist would say none at all, but I would say it makes a hell of a lot of difference. How we live our lives not only defines us, but it imprints the next generation. How we live our lives now, affects those around us, not just our children, but our friends and their children and their children's children. What we do could even be significant enough to imprint a generation in Haiti, Hallifax, Afghanistan, Chicago, Hirschfeld or China. It matters a lot.

When the air is still and I feel the beating of my heart, I remember I am alive. With that comes a keen sense of responsibility, especially to those who have gone before, especially to those who lived lives of consequence. What am I doing about it. Am I living my life like it mattered, because it does.

What will I do tomorrow to make this world better. Even if that is just in my little corner of it.

Ok now you can see why I couldn't sleep. That's a lot to be thinking to be engaged in at 2:17 in the morning. So now that I hear my husband awake and both dogs are now sitting at my feet, it may be time for me to try again to go to sleep. After all, tomorrow is another day.