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.