I visited the grave of a dear family friend today with my sons. The anniversary of his death, already two- years- old just recently passed and the flowers on his grave were dried and dead in a tipped over vase. We sat and talked about our friend and his neighbors, each with a name and the dates of the beginning and end of life. The whole of life and all the wonders and emotions that made up their lives is represented only with a hyphen. In 1827, two brothers, Augustus and Julius Hare wrote, “Life is the hyphen between matter and spirit…” which pretty well sums it up.
As we lay in the grass, looking up at the sky, missing him and thinking of what he would say if he could have commented on the day, made me realize again how much of the small essential things in life I so often take for granted. Lost in the myriad details of the days, taking the time to fix what breaks, overcome with frustrations or anguish about things that won’t last or even matter in a few days, I forget to pay attention to the small things at the heart of life.
Here I am seven months into the positivity quest and still stuck on the annoying and irritating aspects of the day instead of celebrating being handed a real check for the money I won this spring in the local angel conference. My friend would have chastised me for begrudging the lawyers their due with a loud laugh and a suggestion to celebrate the cash with a drink. I don’t know what it will take to lift my set point high enough to keep my eyes on what matters, what is worth remembering in the brief hyphen between matter and spirit.
Maybe the solution lies in one of Einstein’s little known formulas: “If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, where X is work, Y is play, and Z is keep your mouth shut.” I need to work on the playing part and Z could at least be transformed into talking about what is good.