The combination of warmth, blue sky and sunshine combined with the peacefulness of the bell tower’s chimes bathed me in one of those ‘everything is alright’ beautiful feelings that come along too rarely.
When those moments come for each of us its difficult sometimes to stay right in the moment, isn’t it? I managed nicely today to hang on and feel the warmth and peace of it all. It was a gentle workout day at the track. A day of stretching from the hard track work of yesterday, a few sit-ups and pushups combined with some gentle running on the grass.
When I was complete with my work, I went back to my previous horizontal position on the turf and began to think about the peaceful feeling that had washed over me. I also thought about my inability to hold onto the moment for as long as I wished. With equal perspiration I wondered about the origin of the feelings.
On the north end of the track two masters track athletes in their sixth and seventh decades of life completed their workout. On the south end of the artificial grass field young high school athletes stretched under the prodding of their middle aged coach.
I contemplated if the oldsters and the youngsters were possibly sharing in my fleeting moments of warmth and peace.
I think these moments are far too complex to analyze or describe in an easy manner, and certainly they are far too individual to personal circumstance to assign any quantitative analytical data. Instead, they are in my opinion moments of spirituality and understanding as unique to the individual as a fingerprint.
Some spiritualists teach that we must first dance with death before we can live. What they mean is that we must embrace the reality of death, coming to full grip with our own mortality, understanding that each day before the end beckons is a day of celebration. I have seen this in friends with a terminal illness. They come to understand in the final days of their lives how to truly be alive and love those that surround them. You have witnessed or heard of this phenomenon I am confident. Confronted with death, we come to understand the value of being fully alive. This is the ‘dance with death’ taught in many native belief systems. I have seen it at work and I hold it to be wise counsel.
There is another kind of being fully alive. It is the glory of childhood. It is the philosophical polar opposite of the ‘dance with death’. It is the absence of understanding that life has any path beyond play and discovery. It is the remarkable character of mind that we see in a child of 2 or 3 years. They are unassuming about consequence or need, fully alive in a God granted blissful ignorance of death and lack, living in the moment so soundly that even make-believe becomes real.
It occurred to me while lying on a warm turf football field, sun and blue sky overhead, excited chatter and laughter of surrounding athletes filling the air that I had surmised we come down to two possibilities for owning these fleeting moments of peace and understanding. We can be childlike or we can ritualistically ‘dance with the dead’.
Either way I stumbled across a handy and convenient truth; both are a choice freely exercised. There is also a sparkling paradox embedded within both ideas. Both choices are a form of being ‘born again’.
The church bells began to chime once again as I daydreamed in the sun.
An hour had passed.
Its valuable, especially when its so very real.