Somehow, peeing on the rug is normal.
At least, in our house with a toddler who is learning to use the potty, it is normal. In one morning, he has peed through all of his new Yo Gabba Gabba! underwear. He peed on the carpet right by our fish tank, too excited about seeing Tomas, his beta fish, eat the small pellets of food floating carefree on the surface of the water. He peed as he cheered on Diego swinging from vine to vine proclaiming “Let’s go, baby Jaguar!” And, with the last pair from his 3-pack of big boy cartoon undies, my son almost made it to the potty, but a rogue fly buzzing around the bathroom hallway caught his attention.
As normal as the peeing on the rug was, it was also quite normal for me to grab my iPhone, take pictures and videos of the puddles, and send them to my husband with a text message.
It was normal for me to open up WordPress, find a clever way to blog about the event, hit send, upload it, and then check to see if Facebook linked it for all 600+ of my closest friends to read.
But, when did this all become normal?
At Mass the other day, one of the new priests at our school gave the most beautiful homily I have ever experienced. I found myself fighting back tears. I found myself wishing I was at my father-in-law’s church, standing up, lifting my hands, and vocally giving thanks to God. I found myself wishing I was in the silence of the Quaker meeting, with my hair standing up on the back of my neck, my stomach feeling the warmth of the Light to speak. But, instead, on that day, in that room, I folded my hands, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and prayed.
The message was about living deliberately. He said that one of the worst things we could do is to have our obituary, on the day of our death, simply be a delayed announcement of a death already gone by. Of a death we experienced when we stopped living deliberately.
When Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene blew threw, our house didn’t lose power. In fact, we spent the evening watching movies, catching up on old television shows, and watching the strong trees in our backyard bending and swaying in the wind. Others, of course, were not so lucky. And, even 5 days after the storm, some of my friends are still without power in their homes. My parents were home when their power came back on at 6:30pm — more than 48 hours after it went out. And, by the grace of God, luck, or National Grid, if they were not home, their house would have burned down. A burner was still on when the power went out, and it turned back on when the power came back. The burner ignited a cloth that was near the stove, and that cloth quickly blazed up to the refrigerator, now a charred mess, and up to the top where the bread baskets are kept. They heard the fire alarm, ran upstairs, and extinguished the fire.
There is a burn mark on the refrigerator; and a burned memory of what lives could have been lost in a blaze.
The irony, for me, is that I am choosing to go away for this weekend. It is the weekend I turn 36 years old. And, while my friends are waiting patiently for their power to turn on — to use their laptops, their television, charge their cell phones, use their hairdryers, wash their clothes — I am choosing to leave these comforts behind. I am choosing to go where I can live undistracted from instant information. Rather than reading messages about other people’s lives, I will pay attention to mine. Instead of cheering on other people’s accomplishments, I will create some of my own. Before reaching for news on my iPhone as I roll over in bed, I will learn of the newness of my surroundings.
This past summer, our school community lost a wonderful young man to leukemia. Last night, in a season dedication to him, rather than observe a moment of silence for a life lost, our community participated in a moment of applause for a life lived. An obituary that was written as life had been lived, deliberately. Though his illness was untimely, his life was not. He lived as he should, not as he wished he did.
Are we living, or simply living a delayed obituary?
For years now, I’ve been wanting to go on this type of retreat. After sitting and watching episodes of reality shows where people talk about committing to a healthier lifestyle — for themselves and for their loved ones — I am engaging in the journey. I am taking my life by the reigns, and surrendering to living fully.
Deliberately. Wholly. Peacefully.
Peace, love, and redefining normal,