More Deeply with the Passing Years

aging faceI began Wellspring with many fundamental questions, including, “what should I do with the rest of my life?”

I have spent my life becoming who I am now. When I was young, like my granddaughter, I became someone new every day. Then I got older and began to feel like I was faking it. I lived in periodic fear that if anyone found out, my world would collapse.

This lasted for many years while I appeared “successful” to the outside world. Then I began to re-align my true self with my outer self. I started becoming new again each day.

Wellspring helped me do this — in the work we did as a group, in the quiet time I spent alone, and in the time I spent with my spiritual director. I also took inspiration from Dick Gilbert, former minister at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY.

Now my days are full, and I try to “let my life speak.” Dick captured how I am now with this meditation:

“Poignancy of Living in These Days”

I inhale and exhale in regular rhythm,

An act so common it never occurs to me to pay attention.

And when I do, I am overwhelmed by the wonder of it all.

 

I eat my food as I have done for a thousand thousand days,

A practice so frequent I hardly notice

The miraculous million events that happen in my body.

And when I do notice, I am taken with their singular beauty.

 

I greet my loved ones, as I have greeted them for years,

A habit that I pass off casually

Until I realize the deep poignancy of greetings and farewells,

How precious they are,

How they touch deeper feeling chords each time.

 

Perhaps it is middle age, or old age,

Or perhaps sentimentality grows in me,

Or perhaps I am awakening to life

In ways transcending my usual semi-awake state of being.

 

The poignancy of living in these days

Penetrates me, burrows deep into my psyche or soul or spirit,

I know not what.

I only know that I feel things more deeply with the passing years,

That the common things of life become uncommon,

That the ordinary becomes extraordinary,

That the habitual becomes sacred.

That tears and laughter come more easily.

Bittersweet is the poignancy of living in these days.

I awaken myself and bow down in deep gratitude.

 

The author is past president of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, NY. The Rev. Dr. Richard S. Gilbert retired in 2005 after serving 44 years in the Unitarian Universalist ministry, including 32 years in service to the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY.

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