At the end of December I noticed that I had spent a number of weeks accompanied by a sobering sadness. Not an incapacitating sadness that overwhelmed me; just sort of a persistent companion. Some of it is tied to my ongoing struggle with fear, which has made me face my fear of death and accept that the number of my days is not in my own hands.
I’m sad that my son won’t always say goofy, two-year-old things, and yet I make a note to treasure them in my heart. I’m sad that one day Diane and I will be parted by death, and yet I appreciate all the more these amazing years of parenting and growing together. I’m sad that Diane’s parents and my parents are getting older, yet I am thankful to get to make the four-hour drive to Georgia to see her family. The present is a treasure, especially the ordinary things.
And as I think about how short life really is, it leads me to want to make mine count. I’ve been to several funerals in the past few months, two of people who died too young, one of a man who was 83 years old. And I have noticed that during funerals, people don’t bring up the bad things you did or the ways you failed. They remember the happy memories and the good things you did, and if you pay attention, you begin to wonder what your own legacy might be.
I used to try and fight the sadness or ignore it. But ironically, as I allowed this sadness to speak to me, it actually led to more joy in the present, appreciating all that I have been given.