Sunday Morning

My cousin’s last day was spent out on his bike, a seventy-mile ride on a Saturday morning. He did the ride alone, and nobody had any contact with him after that. At some time in the next twenty-four hours he died, and his body was found by the police on Monday morning when his employer called them, worried because he hadn’t turned up for work. He always turned up for work.

I would wish for my last day to involve an act of freedom–a walk by the ocean, a long bike ride, something I love. I hope that the walk and the bike ride were suffused with joy, with pleasure, for my stepdad and my cousin. Neither knew it was their last time to do that thing. If they’d known, would they have enjoyed it more or less? Eventually, everything has to be done for the final time. There must be many things that, without our realising it, already fall into that category for all of us.

Final acts acquire holiness. My stepdad’s walk that day has. When we go to Ireland we almost always take the same route. We look out on the sea because it’s the last sea he saw. We write his name in the sand. We reflect, each of us inwardly, that one day we will never see this place again either. It’s a dull shock.

If finality makes something holy then every moment is holy, because every moment could be the last. That’s a thought we spend too cheaply. Live each day as if it’s your last, we think, and then we don’t. Everything is holy. It’s only when we die that the holiness is called up. But it was always holy, all along.

Samantha Harvey, The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (Grove Press; May 12, 2020)


Photo: Mine. 5:23 a.m. A Holy Moment, on Sunday, a Holy Day. Cove Island Park Stamford, CT.

Comments

  1. so powerful and true. every moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This made me cry. It has so much meaning. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Over the years I became known for two sayings: “Life is short and dead is for a very long time. Enjoy your life” and… “You never know when the next thing you know will be the last thing you know”. I was reminded of that yesterday when I learned that the 28 year old, recently married son of a colleague, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at work. Yes, we never know. All that being said, have a great day 👍

    Liked by 3 people

  4. These musings are so powerful and so wise, and yet so difficult for me to embrace. I *want* to enjoy each moment and take nothing for granted, and at the same time, if I dwell on the very fact that “this could be the last time I…,” the moments become so fraught with meaning I feel paralyzed. I want to savor, but also want to keep moving, if that makes any sense.

    Reading Jennifer Louden’s new book, “Why Bother,” right now, and she talks a lot about allowing oneself to settle, to sit in the moment and feel, rather than just rushing on to the next experience or obligation. It resonates with me. This morning, I am settled on the patio, watching the sun play over the pool, listening to the riotous birdsong, with a backbeat provided by the frogs. A beautiful day is breaking and for now, I am going to do nothing more than enjoy it. Happy Sunday pal….

    Liked by 7 people

    • “If I dwell on the very fact that “this could be the last time I…,” the moments become so fraught with meaning I feel paralyzed.” – you’ve captured exactly how I feel when I think this…Exactly.

      And the book? Recommended?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am finding the book interesting. It’s a pretty quick read, but Louden’s observations are causing me to step back and look at things from a different perspective, which is always valuable.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I sat on our deck, wrapped up in a blanket and wrote my blog this morning. The air was still chilly. Morning light had not completely made its way over the eastern horizon behind me.

    I too hesitate to imbue each moment as if it is my last. Yet, I must somehow live the contradictions – savour the moment/let the moment go.

    Perhaps it is that each moment also contains the promise/faith that the next will arrive. I must trust it will. And so, I am learning to heed the invitation to savour the poetry of life calling me to awaken to the beauty of each moment I’m living without imbuing it with the fear it could be my last.

    A very delicate balance.

    Thanks for this beautiful poetry this morning David.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Beautiful Louise. So Love this: “I too hesitate to imbue each moment as if it is my last. Yet, I must somehow live the contradictions – savour the moment/let the moment go.
      Perhaps it is that each moment also contains the promise/faith that the next will arrive. I must trust it will. “

      Liked by 2 people

    • You have nailed my feelings, Louise. Doing one’s best to suck the marrow out of the present moment while at the same time embracing the promise of the next. A delicate balancing act indeed….

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Anybody’s last day … #SoSad … “Everything is holy. It’s only when we die that the holiness is called up. But it was always holy, all along.”
    Samantha Harvey, The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (Grove Press; May 12, 2020).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael Zahaby says:

    Powerful!
    Everytime i left my parents, who lived abroad, to return home i felt it would be the last time i’d see them. And it happened twice in the last 2years. It was the last time i saw each of them. But sitting on the plane when it was “wheels up”, i felt grateful i was of service, and that i enjoyed every minute of every one of those visits. Great post. Stirring!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Valerie Meluskey says:

    The image of her cousin’s last bike ride reminds me of the image in the movie E.T. with the children riding their bikes into the sky. Today, someone shared a lovely quote: “Hope is the ability to hear the melody of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it today!” Seems exquisitely apt to our inspiration today!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A refreshing take on the value of enjoying each moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The trouble is, you think you have time.” — Buddha
    Beautiful reminder. But without a practice, our ego thinks we have time.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Anonymous says:

    Samantha Harvey’s passage brought to my mind…the accidental death of a person I knew…he was mountain-climbing with his teen-age son…they were on the way down, stopped to rest and eat…they had just unharnessed from each other…when the dad went over the edge, having lost his footing…his son reached out unable to grasp that “last touch’ as his dad’s cap landed near the edge (I’ve heard he wore that cap for a long time)…He sat and screamed…was able to contact family with his cell…other climbers heard his screams…stayed with him and then they all started down the mountain, these people drove him about 80 miles to his physically, nearest family members, his grandparents…He’d fallen thousands of feet and the recovery wasn’t for several days…When I learned of his death…I recalled a conversation with his wife years earlier in their foyer…I said that my husband was off on a several days rafting trip…she said I didn’t know he was a rafter…she said something about her husbands mountain climbing and I said you know if they either of them had an accident on their adventures and passed away, at least they were enjoying life in a pursuit they enjoyed…His service was touching…A letter was read that he’d written to his wife…Wow , the depth of those words were felt in everyone’s heart…His family and the community lost a great, caring and intelligent man, who touched so many all over the World…

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I am late reading this (as I often am). It has been a day to reflect. My mother-in-law passed away last night just before midnight. Another COVID casualty, in another residence. I am saddened, not by her death, but by the fact that she was a woman who did not enjoy life. If there is an afterlife, I sure hope she finds the joy in it.
    As you know, I am very much a live-in-the-moment, not take anything (or I try not to) for granted kinda gal. We don’t know when our post-it will come (Dead Like Me https://youtu.be/mz3P02rj1UQ ) so I don’t know. Try to find the beauty in every day. A beautiful moment. Doesn’t have to be big.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. I love reading the comments to your post as much as reading the post. A deeply touching excerpt. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Dave, having (finally) won my daily battle with WP (I get you on my mails and on my smartphone, but NOT in the iPad), I can join as the usual latecomer….
    You scared the xhit out of me when I started reading that text – I thought: Oh NO, not another loss in the K. Family….. and then, nearly immediately, I skipped to the end and did a great inhale, reading that it was a quote!!!!
    This post has much to say to me. I’m (luckily, I find) one of those people who are ‘naturally’ full of joy, my cup nearly always floweth over because I have the unmerited gift of never forgetting something good, joyful, and immediately (also nearly always) forgetting terrible stuff – such as my divorce. I never have to search for joyful things because I see and grab them – but I also worry deeply because with that gift of joy comes the burden of seeing all the suffering, the pain and misunderstandings.
    I very much share the thoughts of Lori, Louise, Dale and others – and I’m glad to read the shared feelings and thoughts in reply to your posts. Wishing you a good new week because by the time you read this, it’s already time for an espresso & Swiss choc pause for me on Monday 18 May….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry for the fright Kiki. And this, this, is something special: “I’m (luckily, I find) one of those people who are ‘naturally’ full of joy, my cup nearly always floweth over because I have the unmerited gift of never forgetting something good”. Wish we all had this ability. Wonderful.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Christie says:

    @ Dale, I am sorry that your family is suffering the loss of a family member…so hard to imagine that she wouldn’t have found Joy in her grandchildren (assuming she is the grandmother of your two boys?) Joy in the beautiful world that surrounds us…did she never have a pet to love? The Joy of having a wonderful spouse? Just can’t imagine a Joyless life…///
    My wonderful father in law passed on April 9th, he was diagnosed with pancreatic & liver cancer about the 3rd week of February…We shared the same June birth date, though he was many decades older than me…we shared many traits, one of them Joy…we had his Celebration of Life via of Zoom…My June birthday just won’t be the same…

    Like

  16. Holy moment…
    Holy Day…

    Liked by 1 person

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