I’m not sure what it was – the way the lilac flowers swayed in the soft Spring breeze as I looked out of the train window, or the remnants of varying emotions within – still lingering from a range of recent events – or perhaps it was just ‘that time of the month’…

But something made me stop today.  Something made me pause, and without any clear reason, I found myself feeling overcome with a strange sense of sadness (perhaps perpetuated by the piece of music which was on my MP3 player at the time)

We all know that nothing in life ever stays the same way forever and for the most part, we’re grateful for that.  Life could not be classed as life without change or growth… but all of a sudden, today, that acknowledgement of impermanence resonated within me with a sense of fright, as I realised just how fragile any given moment is.

All too often it takes a tragedy to remind us of this.  Through soaking eyes we utter those somewhat cliched words, “…this really puts things into perspective…” and vow to henceforth never let any of life’s daily grind detract us from that which is truly important – our family and friends, and our values.  We reflect upon this for a little while but despite best intents and purposes the sentiment can so quickly be lost – the telephone rings, we remember there’s somewhere we need to be or something we need to be doing, something irritates us, we see something amusing in the distance, or we go to sleep – there are so many minor occurrences that can so easily detract our minds back to things which in the grand scheme of things, really don’t matter.

…At this point, I recall an excerpt written by one of my favourite travel writers, Canadian Ryan Murdock, in his book ‘Vagabond Dreams’, a stunning book describing a both physical and personal journey through Central America which I wish everybody would read:…

“Nicaragua taught me that there’s a poverty of life in the West, a poverty of the spirit that mimics the drudgery and dull wasting away of monetary poverty.  Meaninglessness is our great disease.  Life’s spark is smothered by routine, by the grind.”

Herein lies the problem.  We simply have too many other things to think about in life – duties to perform… plans to be made… financial sustainance to achieve…. and other random, sporadic little things to think about – that we don’t always feel as though we have enough available time in which we can revel in what Murdock refers to as ‘life’s spark’ – those moments when we can focus upon fun, and love – all variants of it.  And central to that is appreciation – the underpinning knowledge that the special moments we share, with the people we care about – may not always be an option to us…

Life goes by so quickly these days.  We each live within a constant state of change where the various elements of a ‘typical day’ can change week upon week.  Our circumstances change, and people will come and go from our lives all the time.  It’s simply not feasible for us to forever live out ‘life’s spark‘ in the same way, yet we so often allow ourselves to be consumed by meaningless things that a year from now we will barely remember.  And perhaps that’s why the word ‘fragility’ was the one which so pertinently came to my mind today.  These days, at the ages we are, dwarfed by what sometimes seems to be an insurmountable pressure to ‘sort our lives out’- it is more important than ever to make the most of any opportunity we have for love, and fun (aka – the stuff which matters most, in the grand scheme of things).

But how does ‘making the most’ of these moments manifest itself?  How do we handle such ‘fragililty’? For something so largely important, it can be done in the smallest of ways…   Listening to every word.  Savouring every minute.  Focusing on the ‘here and now’ and not allowing our minds to wander towards external things that may be bothering us. Tight hugs…

…but above all, giving thanks that we ever had that opportunity in the first place – because it’s all so susceptible to change.

… Upon reflection, perhaps today’s strange surge of sorrow was down to the flowers swaying in the wind – looking at them, overcome by how beautiful they looked growing along the banks, knowing that several weeks ago they were not there, and knowing that in several weeks’ time they will have disappeared again, but being grateful for the pleasant imagery they provided today…


One thought on “Fragility

  1. Beautiful post!

    I agree that it is too easy to get swept up in the moment to think about more important issues. One of those things which we can get drawn into is how much we earn vis-a-vis others, and how much we earn at the moment compared with last year, or sometime before that…

    I was thinking earlier this week about earnings and how economists/ politicians are keen for people to have earnings growth because it gives them a better quality of life. Assuming someone earns enough to have a comfortable life already this statement is heavily based on the assumption that more things you can purchase (because of higher income) the better your quality of life is. Poo poo to that notion! X

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