Twenty years ago I was in London when the world got the news Princess Diana died. Six days later I was standing on Pall Mall when the royal family walked by, following Lady Di’s casket, everyone around me leaking tears. I didn’t understand then. I was a 20 year old American studying abroad. To me, this was more of a news event than an actual funeral. I didn’t understand the grief of my English friends.
I do now. I completely understand now.
I can’t imagine being taken from this world at the age of 36, leaving two children behind who need a mother more than they need their own life. I can’t imagine the shock this must have been to all who knew her. The devastation. The hole.
You don’t have to be famous to leave that hole. I hole is left inside of someone (even inside of God if you have no family) when you die. One day you are alive. Living. Breathing. Then the next you are gone. Food for the tiny creatures God created to return your body to dust.
That day I had big dreams. Of a life of travel around the world. Earning tons of money. Doing something grand and important in this world. Making a big impact in the business world. Perhaps even having my own name written about in some major publication.
Fast forward 20 years.
Here I am. I’m sitting inside a Panera Bread. Waiting for my two oldest children’s school to let out so I can go and pick them up. Then one will go to Cross Country practice. The other has Swim Team practice. One is in high school. The other middle school. On the drive there, they both will compete for my attention as they tell about their lives at school. Which teacher was boring. What homework they have. What funny thing a boy said in class. How they both wish Christmas were here already.
Once I drop them off, I’ll head home. Make sure my youngest, my baby boy, made it home from school on his bike. See what he needs. Start dinner. Check the mail. Drag in the trash cans from the street.
I’ll wash some dishes. Start some laundry. Go and pick up my girls from practice. Go home. See if anyone needs help with homework. And then attend a local board meeting of which I am a part of that meets once a month.
Then home. To pet my cats and dogs. To gaze at my fish the kids recently sold lemonade to acquire. Unwind with my husband. Check my emails. Plan the next day. Go to bed.
A very ordinary life. A far cry from what I had envisioned 20 years ago. But one I would not trade for the world. A very beautiful life in a very beautiful planet earth (of which the eclipse reminded all of us is such a gift from God). One Princess Diana vanished from when her life ended tragically.
I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. It went by so fast. Luckily for me, it passed in such a beautiful way.
I need to remember this when the little things in this world threaten to pull me away. When plans change that I want to get angry at but which I know will work out for the better. When the future threatens to pull me from the present moment.
Today I went for a lunch time walk with my husband. A rarity indeed. He’s currently unemployed, having quit his job which was going nowhere for him. He is searching for another. And he has many opportunities. And I am thanking God for this reprieve from the hub-bub so we can re-connect and be together. Before he is taken away again.
Every moment is precious. With friends. With family. With animals. With God. Cherish it. Embrace it. Stay here. For as long as possible. Hug your kids. Kiss your spouse. Remember one day all too soon you will be gone. Don’t dwell on that fact. Instead use it to power and fuel your life. Fulfill your life’s purpose. God’s intended purpose for your life.
If you do, I promise your life will be insanely beautiful.