“I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.”
~ Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
Sometimes, I forget how to "live". I also realize there are life seasons when life shifts so much that I need to learn, again, how to live. Amidst the details of daily life (even when there is no major concern weighing on me), I assume I know how to live simply because I am getting things done and fulfilling my obligations. I know how to work, how to worry, how to accomplish a task, how to do the grocery shopping and the laundry, how to be kind, how to be unkind, how to sit in an emergency room, how to wait in a doctor's office for an answer, how to look at a CT scan and carry hundreds of questions about life … you know the list. I don't often stop to ask myself, "Have you learned how to live for this time and place in your life?"
Like many, I am drawn to the water and to boats. This small boat was tethered to a private shoreline in Sarasota where I was doing some coursework a few weeks ago. She caught my eye because she was sitting so quietly on the water, and her red paint popped off the sapphire blue water against the equally blue sky. I also believe she caught my eye because I yearn for more stillness. It seems that the water and other elements of God's creation invite us to slow down, to re-member ourselves, and, if we allow it, to wonder if we are "living" or "existing."
If you are one impacted by a chronic diagnosis, on some days simply existing may be a good day. Given God's promise of an abundant life, I believe there are other days on which we have an invitation to either (1) remember how to live if we have been caught up in details and have simply not come to stillness, or (2) learn how to live when our circumstances pull the rug out from beneath us and how we live requires a new plan.
For wherever your life finds you at the moment, I pray that you have moments of stillness that invite you to consider this question. If the above image resonates with you, perhaps take a few minutes to close your eyes and envision yourself sitting in this boat - blue sky above, blue water beneath, no waves to rock the boat, no people around to distract, warm sun beating on your back. Breathe yourself into that place of peace and ask God to help you remember how to live or, perhaps, how to live from a new place.