Tears—big, fat tears, the kind that makes some men uncomfortable, and many women sigh—rolled down his cheeks. He laid on a hospital bed, his life nearing the end, spending precious moments with the daughter who sat next to him—this daughter who wasn’t his and was always his.
He was only in his sixties. He talked about his beloved wife. He asked his daughter to watch out for her. “Of course,” she said.
The daughter held his now frail hand as he talked about the years of smoking that started when he joined the Navy and the insidious lung cancer that would kill him even though he quit ten years before. He talked about death, about dreams that would never—in this life at least—be fulfilled, and of his (very) few regrets.
He spoke of life.
An expansive heart is not closed off. It’s open to possibility, change, and adaptation, something many of us don’t do well. We humans often get stuck in the expected; in the “this is how life will play out.” Then, when something unexpected happens, we’re caught off guard.
We anticipated a particular outcome becoming comfortable in the here and now. We forgot how very fragile every single moment is.
I, too often, lose sight of how very fragile
e v e r y
s i n g l e
m o m e n t
forgetting to allow or invite a different way of thinking—a new way of being, a path of expansiveness that considers all possibilities. An expansiveness that is aware of the delicacy of life. An expansiveness that remembers to be open, unencumbered, and unrestrained by the things of this world. An expansiveness that invites God into every day.
The years in a human life pass so quickly. We often lose sight of the impact made by the dreams we weave and the paths we choose, unaware of how they impact the other lives we touch—those we enrich and those we sometimes, unwittingly, shatter; lives that can’t be mended.
If we endeavor to journey through life with embracing, expansive hearts that reach out instead of shrinking or closing off, we become more like the ocean—tides coming in and going out, ebbing and flowing, breathing and growing.
We need God’s help in the creation of the stories that we’ll tell at the end of our lives; stories that matter—like the one shared by an amazing man who left, much too early, an indelible mark on our earth; one that balanced the reality of human life with the fragility of humanity; a story that honored his expansive heart.