Precious….Of high cost or worth; valuable…..Highly esteemed; cherished….Dear; beloved.
Precious. Last week someone sent me a text message asking for prayers for a mutual friend who was having some tricky medical tests. In the message she remarked that, most likely, things were going to be fine but ‘life is precious’ and so we just never know. Life is precious. For some reason her words, no doubt zapped off in a hurry, caused my eyes to fill with tears. Life is precious. Her words, read on my impersonal smart phone, carried the weight of our deep humanity.
Since then I have been surrounded by many of life’s precious moments. Perhaps it was her words that has heightened my sensitivity to each of these experiences. I don’t know. All I do know is that I have been confronted over and over again with how precious, how full of beauty and fragility,this life is. More than once the tears have again sprung up to mark the moment. Its sacred nature. Its fleeting character.
Yesterday I sat in a coffee shop I do not know well. I found myself at the end of a work day with some time before an evening meeting and nipped into the warmth of this place,my novel in hand, ready to unplug for a while. Sitting next to me were two fathers and their middle school aged sons. Coffee and computers were spread out in front of them as they carried on a conversation. One young man played a video game and periodically interjected something into the adult conversation. Another boy intensely studied some homework on a sheet of paper. At one point one young lad approached the other and asked to be quizzed on the content of the pages.
The two boys moved from their fathers and stood right in the middle of the tables and chairs. Gently, with kindness, one boy asked questions and the other answered. Sometimes his answers were incomplete or lacking and the other boy, without condescension, helped lead him to the fuller picture. The material they were studying was completely foreign to me but I was so struck with the way in which they worked together, honoring both question and answer. My heart was warmed by them.
At another table an older couple sat, laughing, talking and seeming to discuss a book they had opened before them. I did not mean to eavesdrop on their conversation but their clear love for one another was difficult to ignore. As I tried to focus my attention on my book, I heard the gentleman say, ” Oh, wait!There’s the sunset. Let’s go look!” They abandoned book, coats and purse and simply walked out the door to watch as the sun painted its now predictable winter show of oranges and hot pinks.
These two experiences and many others have nudged me to remember the precious nature of this life. My friend’s medical tests did indeed turn out just fine. But there are others I know for whom this is not the case. I would venture a guess that you also know of folks who are vulnerable and frightened, those who may be teetering at the edge,unable to find steady ground. Perhaps you are one of them.
Life is precious. Too precious but to do anything but be gentle and kind, to stand with a friend and hear them into whatever answers they are trying to find a voice for. Too precious to not drop whatever we are doing and notice a magnificent sunset. Too precious to not hold onto the blessings of each day, each moment, each breath. Too precious to not be present in the gift that is this day. This very day which will not ever be ours again.
May we walk the earth gently today murmuring, repeating, shouting:”Life is precious!”