Friday, March 8, 2013

Leaving Your Cell Phone Behind

Today I left my mobile phone in my room at the Brothers’ house. It was only towards the middle of the day that I became aware of the fact, probably because in the midst of an otherwise busy day there seemed to be something noticeable through its absence. It’s as if you walked into your home and vaguely thought that something was out of place or missing, although it was not until you started to look around that you found out just exactly what it was.

There are so many things that we take for granted on a regular basis that it pays to lose something for a while. Sometimes these are tangible things such as phones or vehicles or entertainment systems. These things are on a level of awareness that strikes us immediately and fairly head on. We miss them, but we adapt quickly because we know that they are or could be available again.

There are other things that we only know as having been taken for granted when they are irretrievably lost. These tend to be the more intangible things, many of which involve some sort of relationship. We lose our parents, or siblings, or favorite relatives and friends, or even pets. One phrase has it that when we lose a person, we lose a library. Indeed that is true, and more than a library. Our web of connections is altered and our personal universe has to readjust to rebalance its suns and moons and stars. Our faith may be quite strong and supportive, but the reality of loss remains, carried as part of our stage scenery, usually unnoticed but ever present.

Lastly, there are those things that we don’t know we would miss and therefore take most for granted. These are things that others might think of as silly things to take for granted such as gravity, trust, hope, a sense of humour, the ability to love, daily sun light, and language. These are foundation stones of our lives and our joys, the reasons behind our ability to live. It would be nice to occasionally try to spell them out and hold them up to the light for full appreciation.

It’s in looking back that much of this is often brought to mind. Years ago, I read something by Don Herold (1889-1966) that was originally published in a 1953 Reader’s Digest magazine. Part of it will suffice to provide a sample of the list that each of us might make for ourselves:

“If I had my life to live over, I would try to make more mistakes. I would relax. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know of very few things that I would take seriously. I would be less hygienic. I would go more places. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less bran. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary troubles. ... I never go anywhere without a thermometer, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had it to do over, I would travel lighter…. I would seek out more teachers who inspire relaxation and fun. I had a few of them, fortunately, and I figure it was they who kept me from going entirely to the dogs. From them I learned how to gather what few scraggly daisies I have gathered along life's cindery pathway.”

Allow me to add that my personal list would probably include “I would leave my mobile phone behind more often.”