November 24 – The Need to Continue – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.” Naomi Shihab Nye 

The longer I wake on this Earth, the louder the quiet things speak to me. The more I experience and survive, the more I find truth in the commonalties we all share. The more pain softens me, the deeper my joy and the greater the lessons of those things that live in great stillness.

Before I had cancer, I used to complain so much, annoyed that every chore would need to be done again, that the grass would grow back as soon as I’d cut it. Now I am in awe how it will grow no matter what you do to it. How I need that knowledge.

Now, twelve years from that bed, I am standing in a gentle rain, each drop a whisper of simple things I will never understand. Now, there is only air in the sky of heart waiting to rain. Now, I am thinner, grayer, brighter, less able to say, and my heart has learned more on this side than it will ever let me know. Now, I want to learn how to kiss an orange, unpeeled, and taste the juice.

Twelve years ago the unasked-for growth disappeared, and—praise this life—I have been  shedding ever since. Now, all that remains is my armless heart wanting to live.

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