I lost another friend today, a sister (sistah to be specific). We probably would never have met had we lived normal lives in the normal course of time. Instead we got cancer. Sheryl died leaving behind a husband, a nine year old daughter and a nineteen year old son. Because we shared so much for so many years, I can’t help but put myself in her place and wonder what I will think of my life when I reach the end of my days.
When I was twenty-two, I became mortal. Oh sure, we’re all mortal but there aren’t many twenty year olds who stare it in the face. I lost my hair and my eyelashes and my health and my dignity and for time we thought I’d even lost my fertility.
When I was twenty-four I became immortal again at the birth of my daughter, the first of three in the next three years. I bargained with God for days and months. To see them be born, to see them walk, to live long enough for them to remember my smile. I counted them off as though they were prayer beads, “Thank you Jesus, full of Grace for one more day.”
But time passed, and I began to count less frequently. Children walked and talked and ran. Days passed into years, even into decades. I count infrequently now. Birthdays and anniversaries inspire me to look behind me at the string of beautiful shining days filled with so much more than I dared hope for so long ago when a gentle doctor spoke deadly words with tears in his eyes.
So many days.
These days are why I am passionate about living with less. It isn’t really less at all but a way to honor all the answered prayers for days I didn’t earn or deserve by living them with joy and love, not wasting them with grasping and fear. I’m holding loosely to things because one day I will be like Sheryl, on my death’s bed looking back over my life. It won’t be the fashionable clothes or the investments or the cars or the rooms filled with things that I will want near, but the people I have made space to love deeply, the memories we have created and all the experiences I wasn’t to busy to do and enjoy.
This is why I am a minimalist.
Because life and time are finite, but they don’t have to be filled with finite things.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom. ~Ps. 90:12