Remembering to live

A close friend of mine who died last year used to say, “Remember, the moment you’re in is the only place you have to be.” This man helped me enormously on my journey to sobriety, something this writer could not have done alone. In July of this year I will celebrate 10 years sober and it is not an overstatement to say I protect my sobriety with the same ferocity as I’d protect my child. I am not in the least unique, nor am I anywhere near the first to say, anything you put before your sobriety you’ll lose.

More than anything, I don’t want to lose the chance each day gives me to live my life. Remembering to do so can be the challenge. Life is never short on distractions. These days I can get so caught up in the task and frustration of finding a new home that I forget to enjoy the quiet mystical beauty of the falling snow. I can get so caught up in living on a diet that largely consists of beans and vegetables along with the occasional bowl of oatmeal and fresh baked loaf of pumpkin bread that I forget to enjoy the fact that one of my dogs, Charley, is always sitting nearby with his head cocked in the diligent hope and undying belief that it is just a matter of time before a morsel of food hits the floor.

While it is true that life happens to us whether we like it or not, it is equally true that the wonders of life are there for our experiencing whether we like it or not; it is simply a matter of staying open to them which, in most cases, means staying present in the moment you’re in. Early this morning, for example, I went outside to put some mail in the mailbox. A crow perched in a nearby tree cawed good-morning and I responded with, “Hi, sweetie. Glad you’re here.” I’m glad I didn’t miss that moment.

None of us are absent the wanted and unwanted challenges of life. That’s a fact. But none of us are absent the right to live our lives in the moment we’re in and all the glory that can be found there.

Right now, as I write these words for you, there is jazz playing quietly in the background. Next to me is a mug with fresh-made coffee. Not far from where I sit a fire dances in the woodstove. My reading chair is near the fire and on the table next to the chair the book I’m reading, Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd,” is waiting for me. Charley is curled up by the fire and McKenzie, my old and loyal German Shepherd, is sleeping at my feet. I’ll be damned if I’ll let the challenges of life, particularly the unwanted ones, rob me of remembering to live the moment I’m in. While there will always be challenges, there will always be a moment to be in; I just have to remember to live it. I hope you do too.

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