I recently had a conversation with a friend which sparked a bittersweet memory.
One of the things many of us miss as adults is the wonder, the surprise, the simple serendipity of joy. In childhood we experience it often, probably because most things and experiences are new to us, and we’ve yet to become jaded.
One of my favorite memories of my daughter Molly was when I gave her a gift. She was turning twelve, and I knew just as the Sun rose in the morning that soon she would be developing into a teenager, full of doubt and promise. One who no longer trusted her parents to be all-knowing and truthful. Because, of course, we weren’t and could never be.
But here we were, proud father giving his daughter a present. She opened it, her eyes widened, and there was that sudden exhalation of breath. Excitement, happiness, joy. Innocence and appreciation in one second, one breath. Followed by the big hug.
I don’t even remember what I had given her. But what she gave me was so much more. An everlasting memory of a happy young woman, unspoiled by the adolescent hormones of parental treachery. Not yet jump-started into that distrust generated simply by being parents and adults.
Zen masters tell us to be in the now. Live life as if each moment was your last. This is what Molly showed me that day.
I’ve had many difficult times of year. The holidays and my birthday comprise one such time. Not because of those specific events, but rather because of who’s not there.
But, I’ve already received my present this year. As I get every year – when I remember it.
Live in the now, with joy, and never be disappointed.
Thank you, Molly.