How Precious is this Life?

Lately I  have been reminded of just how abundant life is.  It comes in colors and  smells and  pictures and voices.  All of it combines together and makes the complex thing we call living.

I was reminded of the beautiful complexity in things by several events.  Last weekend we attended a lovely choir concert that explored the idea of prayer across cultures and across religions.  It was wonderful and it made me feel hopeful at a time when hope is a scarce commodity.

On the other hand, I personally know someone who is very sick and has a terminal disease. This person is in their early 30’s.  That means that life will not be abundant for them.  It is tragic.

Also, I think of the people in Israel and in Gaza.  There are no good answers there.  Israel has a right to defend itself and the civilians in Gaza are not the intended targets, however,  they are being killed and maimed;  The target is Hamas, an organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.   It seems  Hamas is letting its own people die to make a point.  In fact, I wonder if Israel was not drawn into to this simply so the Palenstinians would look pathetic to the world and Israel would look like the agressor.  Antisemitism as at a high point the world over and this war is not helping.

Personally, I think a two state solution is the only thing that will stop the constant war and terror that Israel and the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank have endured. However, no one can seem to agree on that either.

It feels hopeless and it makes me profoundly sad that my brethren in Israel are once again sitting on the knife’s edge of a larger war. It has to end at some point.  How can a people and a country survive in a state of constant alarm?  I don’t really know or have the answers but it has made me think of the abundance and the cruelty of life.

I keep watching pictures and reports of children in Gaza. I see them screaming and covered in dust and blood.  Their lives are hanging in the balance  due to a conflict that has absolutely nothing to do with them.

I don’t think there is a fair way to do war.  War itself is barbaric and I feel embarrassed and chagrined that it is the 21st century, and yet, despite our large amont of technology and medical advancements, we still bomb, maim and kill one another, and we have no system for protecting and saving the young and the innocent from war’s ugliness.

All of this just propels us towards more and more violence.  I don’t know where it ends or who is right in this whole situation.  I would venture to say that no one is right.  The Palestinian people were brought into modern day Israel by the British government in the early 20th century.  They were not a nation or a people originally.  They were arabs who were told they could live in what was then a British Protectorate. So basically, this whole thing is a result of colonialism that ended a hundred years ago. What a damned mess!

Sorry to go on with such a depressing topic but I was reminded yesterday that my life is abundant.   I get to go do things like the opera or a choral concert.  I go out to eat.  I can exercise, most of the time.  I am working part time and making a little bit of money.  I have great and happy kids and a good marriage. My life is abundant and yet sometimes I feel that it isn’t.  Why it that?

It has to do with the chronic illness thing, of course.  As I have said here before, I cannot do all the things that I want to do.  My wings are clipped and they are going to always be that way.  I have to think back to this past summer when I was so sick that walking up the stairs was a once a day effort.   I have come a long way since then.  However, the thought of that nightmare is still with me.

I choose to make my life as abundant as I can, clipped wings and all.  I have to be satisfied with that.

Yesterday we were grabbing dinner after the opera and I mentioned to my husband that the friends who invited us seem to do so much: work, church and volunteer work.  I was mind blown that they fit it all in.  My husband said, “Well, our lives are slower because of your health.”  Yikes.  That really bothered me because I don’t want to clip anyone else’s wings on my account.  To be honest my family has never been the kind that rushes from one thing to the next but my husband is right, we do less than we would because of me.

So I can’t let that fact depress me or I will spend energy on something I cannot change.  I just have to remind myself of all of the good things that are happening and not think about the things that aren’t.  It is just a part of life and when I put it in a wider perspective, it is fine!  I am able to do more than I could for many years and that is wonderful.  Might this relative freedom suddenly get ripped out from under me?  Yes, it might.  But, I always have a choice, which is not what people whose lives are torn and upside down from war, don’t have.

I choose abundance.