There are memories of daily life from childhood that are so ordinary and yet, those are the moments I remember feeling as if they were never going to change or end. But at some point they eventually did…
My mom, dad, sister, and I would always sit down for dinner together. We had our routine where I always set the placemats–they each got a pinkish oval one and I got the rectangular one with the drawing of the U.S so that I could learn the geography and names of all the states and capitals. Then I’d put a napkin on the right side of each placemat except for my sister’s, whom I’d put the napkin on the left because she was left handed; and then lay each of our respective chopsticks on top. I sat across from Dad and Sis sat across from Mom.
We sat like this for as long as I could remember until one day it changed…my sister who’s 7 years older, left for college. What had happened every day of my life had now suddenly changed. All of our chopsticks co-mingled in the utensils drawer now had one pair that wouldn’t be used.
I remember it feeling a bit strange and sad to set the table minus 1…something that had happened every day of my life up until then that felt so ordinary and seemed to automatically happen without question, was no longer happening. I knew she would be leaving soon but it all seemed to happen so subtly, and suddenly, her absence was profoundly felt.
I think about these sorts of things often…how some things feel like they’re never going to change but inevitably whether we like it or not, they do…how fleeting and temporary things actually are.
And it is exactly these “ordinary” moments that make up the “stuff” of life. THAT is life…happening right now. I think that those who go through the daily motions of life without much thought or consciousness around what’s actually happening miss out on a lot…they believe that “life” is going to start happening or will get more exciting contingent upon some thing happening some time in the future…but in actuality, it is happening Now. Every moment no matter how ordinary it seems is a gift.