The water is cold where my feet sink into the moss in the low spots. The acorns are sharp. The rocks are warm, a baby is born, and they tell us the Bogeyman is dead and drifting to the bottom of the sea.
Yesterday I held a three day old baby girl, daughter of dear friends. In their exhausted glow I could see the light of that simple truth that comes so clearly in those moments: the things that matter most are within our reach, and the greater our embrace of them, the simpler everything becomes. As I washed dishes and wondered if I felt a loss with my newborn days behind me, I realized how fortunate I am that life has handed me an extra teaching in renewal.
When I lay in that hospital bed and invited the cancer to share its gift without destroying the recipient, when I promised my body that this wasn't a war but a rebalancing, all that was extraneous fell away. As I continue to unwrap this present for years to come, one lesson is already clear. I can return to my moments of triumph and crisis to find the simple things and to see what holds me back and weighs me down. Once again, I step gingerly from the door to the clothesline, welcoming the new terrain to fragile flesh.
A life lived well is a cause for celebration, and at its end it is only our own loss that we regret. I do not rejoice the rumor of the end of a life lived in darkness; this is a moment for mourning the wayward paths of human potential. I seek within myself new and more powerful roads to light and peace, that there may be more of both in the world.