While I've been home convalescing this week, I've had a lot of time to think.
I've had a lot of time to ponder what it is that I am doing versus what it is that I'm supposed to be doing. And I've had a lot of time to contemplate that although I do feel strong in spirit, my body has suffered a few system failures, undoubtedly due to the stress that I've put upon it.
That thought, inevitably, led me to think about my husband and our children and what kind of impact I'd like to leave on this world before I gently float away. Because even though I've been told I have a tiny flair for the dramatic, the fact is: life is fragile, none of us are going to be here forever, and jeepers, I came a lot closer than I'd like to checking out ... just last week.
All of these thinking thinking thoughts culminated in me re-reading one of our all time favorite books, Miss Rumphius.
The story is about a young girl named Alice. When she was a little girl, Alice's grandfather told her that there are three important things that she must do in her life.
As she grows up, she must travel to faraway places. Like her grandfather, she must live in a house by the sea. But the third and most important thing that she must do, is something that will make the world more beautiful.
Alice grew older.
She traveled around the world.
Eventually, when she was an older woman, she bought a home by the sea.
Years went past and Alice grew older and sick. And as she lay in bed contemplating her life (much like I've been laying in bed contemplating my life), Alice pondered the most difficult question of all...
What could she do to make the world more beautiful?
During a walk, she noticed that seeds from lupines she had planted the previous spring, had been carried from her yard, to nearby ravines.
Suddenly, Alice was struck with an idea.
People called her, "That Crazy Old Lady" as she walked around town, scattering handfuls of seeds.
But the following Spring ... and for many years and years to come ... Alice accomplished the third and most difficult thing of all.
Now, Alice shares her story with others.
And when they tell her all the wonderful things that they plan to do with their lives, she will always tell them, "That is all very well. But there is something else you must do. You must do something to make the world more beautiful."
I've read this story to our children so many times we all know it by heart. And yet, it brings a tear to my eye, every time. I suppose it's because the truth is so breathtakingly simple.
We all have a purpose and every single person has it within us to make this world more beautiful.
So in your lifetime, what are you going to do to make the world more beautiful?
I'd like to say that I'm going to make this world more beautiful by inspiring our children to venture to all four corners of the earth and provide positive contributions to society. But considering they just had a contest to see who could spit in each other's eye first, my lofty goals have been downgraded to planting a tree.
Perhaps a cherry?
They're really quite lovely.