Yes, that’s right. This is not a funny post. I had to attend the funeral of a former classmate today. He was 40 years old. At the funeral, the priest talked about our purpose in life. Sometimes we’re called “home” before anyone else thinks we’re ready, and sometimes we live agonizingly long lives that can’t end soon enough. It’s usually not up to us, but it’s how we live that matters.
In this one short day I’ve realized there is something terribly wrong with how we, as a general American population, are living. I’m not talking about the shallow made-for-TV-crap that we can easily remove ourselves from. I’m talking about the day-to-day chaos that I, at least in this moment, am completely overwhelmed by. Without much notice, it sneaks up on us in the most insidious way.
I attended today’s funeral and visited with some old friends afterwards. I really wanted to enjoy catching up with people I haven’t seen in ages, but while doing so, I ordered Dominos pizza to be delivered to my boys at home and made sure they weren’t killing each other. Then, I filtered through no less than 13 group text messages that had to do with sledding in this morning’s snow fall. On top of that, I had messages coming in that the candy I donated for this weekend’s play was MIA, as was the payment for the “love note” I sent in for the play’s program. I was also sent a reminder that both my 2nd and 4th graders had “snow day” work to turn in tomorrow–because kids just can’t have snow days anymore. Then, a friendly request to see how pictures were going for the school fundraising auction, which includes coordinating pictures of some 65 sets of elementary and high school siblings during snow days, exams, field trips, confessions, play practice, sports orientation, and more….has sent me over the EDGE!
Tonight I was talking with people about a mutual friend who has completely removed herself from society. We talked about it like it was the weirdest thing in the world, and the circumstances surrounding her decision are kind of weird, but really–who can blame her? Shit piles up on us before we can even think to say “no”. Our friend died at 40. How many times did he think “I really wish I was doing something else right now”?
I’m not about to remove myself from volunteer work, or helping a friend in need or attending to my family, but sometimes–just sometimes–I would like the rest of the world to disappear and let me enjoy a moment. Without anxiety. Without requests. Without demands. And just be.