The desire to write has been absent this last week. The words inside my head are practicing an unusual economy. They demand little attention. They have been very quiet.
While I miss their antics and their company, it has been nice to have a break. My body has taken advantage of the break and has invited a cold to come take up residence in my head.
Maybe if I’d been paying more attention to my body and less attention to the demands in my mind, I would have taken better care of myself this last year and not been an easy home for a steady stream of illnesses. Since life demands to be lived forward the price of many of the best lessons is the cost of a past mistake.
As I was typing that last sentence, I typed belived. Don’t we have the word beloved? The word belived doesn’t seem so out of place. It seems a likely English word.
If beloved means dearly loved, then belived could mean dearly lived.
I like the idea of a life dearly lived. A life in which each day is valued and welcomed for the gift that it is. Most of us rarely attain that perspective. Caught in the momentarily living, the momentary frustrations, our discomfort and a sense of incompleteness we can not see the sum of our days. We fail to grasp how short our lives truly are in the grander scheme of things.
Just after my children were born, I kept a notebook that documented their feeding schedules during those first few months when exhaustion was my constant companion. As much as I loved my new babies, I didn’t love how awful I felt during those first months of their infancy when as an older mom I confronted the realities of sleep deprivation. At the end of every day, I’d mark an X on my calendar. Another day down only a few more to go and we’d reach the time when they would sleep more and so would I.
Now my children are 13 and 11. They are no longer babies. Still, I often remember how it was to hold them in the middle of the night and feel a love for them that I could never have imagined until I became a mother. Those hard months when I was marking X’s on my calendar were some of the best days of my life. Life often works that way. We don’t always understand and appreciate what we are experiencing in the moment. Living, fully living, can take some time.
Just as love is often tested, even the love for the beloved, so too, our zest for life. Life often tests us and it can take time for us to appreciate how much life has blessed us especially when life is hard.
And so, my beloved belived life, in all of time your span will be as short as the blink of an eye. You will have life for only a short while and sometimes that life will be hard and under appreciated but of no less value or merit. Life, you have been and will be belived. There is no other way to really experience you. I have tried to shut you out, to remain numb, to insulate myself from pain and disappointment but you have broken down my defenses.
In my defeat, I eventually found something completely unexpected, a zest for life that I never imagined would be mine to possess. You have been a life belived and I must thank you. I would not have missed a moment. At the end of the day, I will mark the passing of the day with an “X” and with a reverent celebration. All the X’s that have passed and all the X’s to come have been gifts. Thank you. Thank you my belived life you are beloved.