Precious few things truly matter in this life. I’d like to think the biggies are universal—love, family, friends, kindness, support, inspiration, health. I’m not sure that’s the case for everyone. I know plenty of people for whom material success, promotions and recognition matter more.
But I also like to think life hands the very wise or lucky among us opportunities to figure out what is truly important. And I think the group that values what we leave behind—material success, recognition, etc.—misses the boat.
I sat in a church last night. I haven’t sat in a church for quite some time, being a lapsed Catholic. Spirituality resonates. A church besmudged by man’s rules? Not so much. But last night, I smelled the incense. Soaked in the trumpets, the choir, the candles. Watched as my youngest son was confirmed, with my oldest sister’s hand on his shoulder. There is some beautiful symmetry in that scene.
I heard a hymn that was played at just about every family funeral I’ve attended. My eyes welled up with tears, because—sentimental sap that I am—I took it as a sign from my parents and grandparents that they were in attendance in spirit. Applauding from the celestial bleachers.
What mattered, more than anything, was that my son knew he was loved and supported. That is something I sometimes struggle with as a divorced mom. At each school function, it’s usually just me. I show up to be the entire cheering section. Given that I grew up with an army of family around, this makes me sad for him.
But last night wasn’t sad. We were a small army, but there we were.
We were there. Not only that, we were fully present for him—no distractions.
I think we make it too hard, people. We chase the cars and the homes and the jobs. I’ve seen those bring satisfaction, but not usually peace. Or love. Or health.
Sometimes, all it takes is a sacred place, some quiet, those we love, to calm our restless spirit.
At the end of the night, my son came to me in the kitchen. “Thanks, Mom,” he said. “For what?” I asked. “For always being there,” he replied. “You’re always there. No matter what.”
I think he’s already figuring out his precious few. At the ripe old age of 13.
Takes some of us years to do the same.