I remember my sister’s beautiful dress and how sweet and young she looked. I remember mixed look of pride and hope and worry on my parents’ faces. I remember Neil sneaking outside to take a few quick puffs on his cigarette anytime an opportunity presented itself, meeting other relatives over their common vice. I remember Gina twirling and twirling with abandon on the reception dance floor as her dress flew in wide circles around her. And I remember dancing a bit crazily myself with my sisters to the immortal words of Sister Sledge: “We are family. I got all my sisters with me…all the people say can they be that close?”
And as I picture the people who celebrated with us that day, I am struck by how many of them have died since: my Nana, my cousin, my dad, my husband, plus other guests I didn’t really know but who were important to my sister and her husband. And I think of how many have been born into our family since then, too, from my other two daughters to a dozen nieces and nephews to the newest great nephew born only a month ago. I guess that’s the human version of the circle of life.
People come and go in our lives- sometimes for years, sometimes for days or less. And it’s far too easy to take them and our time together for granted. One of my biggest faults is that I’m always looking forward to the next thing. When I was in high school, all I thought about was getting into medical school. When I was in med school I couldn’t wait to be a doctor. When I got married, I couldn’t wait to have kids. Its fine to have goals, but the problem with always looking to the next thing is that you tend to miss the thing that’s happening right now. I would love to have some of those wished-away days back now!
So today I am putting tomorrow out of my head and enjoying today. I am sitting out on the deck, listening to the gurgling frog fountain and staring at the Maury cliffs.
After all, Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Mt 6:34). Want to try it?