The world is blanketed today in a soft white covering, well at least my world. Today marks the first snow fall in our region, and it seems fitting for this day to be met with the softness of the pure white snow. It is Veteran’s Day, when we choose to honor all those who served in the military, oftentimes sacrificing themselves to the blood of war, and most assuredly sacrificing their families while they are absent from home. I stand in gratitude to each and every one who served in the military. While not a believer in a fighting machine, a bloated military budget, or war, I bow to those that served all over the world.
Today is also the birthday of my friend and neighbor who lost her battle with cancer early this spring. When she was alive I often found myself getting today and December 11 mixed up as her birthday for some reason. When I would show up with a token gift or card on December 11, she would laugh at me and say thank you. At some point I figured out her birthday was November 11, not December 11. How to remember that I wondered, yes I finally thought, it will always be on Veteran’s Day! Sitting here now, I am thinking of her and the service she offered to the world, for she was a teacher. Not just any teacher, but a Significant Special Needs teacher. She was made for that job, tough and strong enough to get the most from her children, and yet she knew when to be soft with them. The softness of the day is for you dear friend, so that you might rest now.
Yet another friend echoed the following thought to me when I called to thank her son for his service to our country, she said the world is not becoming any safer. Giving pause to that statement, I felt sad for her to feel afraid to live. All we have is this life, this one moment, and knowing that my other friend is gone and what her family would not give for just one moment, or myself for that matter with my beloved husband. Today right now this second is all we have; please do not miss the beauty that is at hand by living in fear. Practice gratitude for all you have right now. I look up and see the beauty of the freshly fallen snow, yes it is windy and cold outside, but the sun is peaking through from time to time, my dog is close to me and I am grateful for the fresh clean beauty of the new fallen snow and the rays of sun that allow for everything to grow. Grow with love, step into the light and celebrate it as it is done in Diwali (an ancient Hindu festival), the Festival of Light. Notice the significance of light in your life, warmly welcome the Divine into your heart and home, clean the smudge of fear from your windows and allow the light to shine brightly.
We don’t get wise by staying in a room with all the doors and windows closed. ~ Pema Chodron