Today’s news has brought this old post to mind. Looking at life straight on, death is always at hand.
Yesterday I reached into the bottom of a drawer and rediscovered my English Composition notebook from my junior year in high school. I knew that I had kept it, and flipping through the pages of my tightly curled script, spaced so sincerely between faded blue rules, I remembered why.
We often think that if we had the chance we would go back in time to illuminate our younger selves with mature insights, to foreshorten expectations and prevent cruel disappointments. Drop the notion that you’re wiser now than you were then. What did your 16-year-old self know that you’ve forgotten? Before your last hour, can you remember again?
My Last Wish
October 23, 1972
My life is a collection of small occurrences. In looking back over sixteen years, I remember incidents which, when they happened, seemed quite forgettable. A handshake with a friendly dog, a gift of bubble gum from my father, and a playground chase are a few of the scenes that come to mind.
When confronted with the possibility of only one more day of life, I immediately respond with a desire to experience all of the thrills our earth has to offer. But, after considering further, I reject that idea as a way to conclude my life.
What experiences, after all, has my memory chosen to include in its vast enclosures? The everyday happenings remain most clearly in my mind’s eye. They have influenced and molded me into the complex person that I am.
If I had one day left to live, I wouldn’t want to circle the world or sail the seas. I might wash my hair, play cards, clear the dinner table, fight with my sister, say my prayers and go to sleep.
We must become the ones we always were. How else to explain the sublime recognition when we meet ourselves again.