Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Light tomorrow with today"

Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote that we must "light tomorrow with today". Profound advice for anyone engaged in re-birth, or even in simple change. What we do today will make a difference for our tomorrows... whether we are hiding in the dark or lighting even one small candle.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. echoed that sentiment with his words: "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must SAIL, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."

Too often it seems I have not noticed which direction I am sailing, nor have I given the "wind" - those people, experiences, circumstances, culture which make up my life - much attention at all. Re-birthing requires me to sail against the prevailing winds that have pushed me into this particular patch of sea. Sometimes that is frightening work. Sometimes it feels almost impossible. Until I am reminded of another truth about sailing: When going against the wind, you cannot expect to travel one seamless, straight line. Rather, the wise sailor knows how to tack to and fro, skirting the edges of the wind until eventually progress becomes clear and the direction is changed.

This seems to be what is called for at this stage of recovery from surgery... that nimble ability to tack to and fro and the patience to wait for progress to be revealed. While my body is still changing I find food has become a tricky thing. It is hard to know definitively which foods will end up stuck and which ones will easily slip through that pouch. Yesterday it may have been the shredded chicken? Or perhaps the 2 teaspoons of rice? It's hard to know exactly why the pain persists and the pouch pouts. So I will back off the wind, tack a little to the side, and stick to liquids again.

And I will remind myself that progress may only be seen in the long view of life. Samuel Butler described the human condition in this way: "Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." Maybe the same can be said of re-birthing.

Well, here's to life! Today, tomorrow... and all along the sail.

No comments:

Post a Comment