Pause and think back to October 20, 2017. What were you doing that day? What was one of your highlights? What was the weather like? Was it an early winter or an unseasonably warm autumn day?
I am fortunate and blessed to remember parts of that day with complete clarity. I can still sense the sun on face, feel the breeze on my skin, and smell the fresh leaves on the ground. I remember the sensation of a hug from above as I was showered with falling yellow leaves. I still hold on tightly to the message that hit me so deeply that day.
One of the ongoing benefits of blogging each day hit me last night and has stuck with me through today. In taking time to write each day I’ve accidentally started a record of some of my favorite moments from the past five years. Little details that would have possibly remained buried in my brain are brought back to the surface much more often than they usually would have been. I am so deeply grateful for this wonderful gift I’m giving myself!
What’s also stuck with me is that since I wrote this post three years ago I’ve visited this same place often. Sometimes it’s a quick yet reverent drive through on my way in to the office. Other times I walk through and take my time reading old headstones. A couple of weeks ago I caught a picture of the sunrise, and just this past Monday I spent time taking it all in.
Each time I am there or think of that place my mind goes to the same thought… Memento Mori… Latin for “Remember you will die.” …and I feel more alive than I did moments before.
As I wrote about three years ago (https://thankful4forty.com/2017/10/20/day-388-thankful-for-memento-mori/) this is far from a dark or depressing thought. Remembering that life is finite, that our time here will end, and that this physical form is only temporary are amongst the most precious gifts we’ve been given. In remembering that one day we will die we are reminded to live each day to its fullest. Another way of looking at it is put wonderfully in a song lyric:
I don’t want a never ending life, I just want to be alive while I’m here.The Strumbellas
The experience I had on that day three years ago was one of the building blocks of my foundation of my view of life. Only a handful of months prior I lost Dad. Within a month of this day I would be picking up Meditations by Marcus Aurelius in the San Francisco airport while the boys and I were headed to New Zealand. In many ways October 20, 2017 was one of the most meaningful days of my life.
Tonight I’m thankful for the gift I’m giving myself of remembrance, and I’m just as grateful for a day that helped shaped me into who I should be.