My clergy writing group resumed this past week, after some months off.  It looks like we will start a blog for the group to share what we do sometime the beginning of next year.  Until then, our prompt was two poems by Emily Dickinson related to facing death (one of which featured a fly).  This is what I wrote:

“I am of an age, now, when limits and mortality are in my thoughts with regularity.

I’m not sure when they were ever absent, mind you.  I was not there when the kid crawled under the school bus (for whatever reason) and got his head caught in the underside of the bus and died.  But I knew about it.  I believe both my younger brother and sister were actually there when it happened.  I would have been in maybe fourth or fifth grade.  And when your dad dies when you are eleven, and you bury your mother on your twenty-first birthday …  Well, you know life is finite.

But these days, I can see the end.  Which is strange, because I’m healthier and able to do more and expecting to live longer than has been the case in years.

Maybe it’s retirement.  Maybe it’s the slow wind-down at St. George’s.  Maybe it’s my daughter, Thea, emerging as our bishop’s Executive Assistant.

In one hand, I have greater health and mobility and plans for writing and the band and birding and probably kayaking.  In one hand, I have growing physical limitations, maybe even mental slowing down, definitely less (much less) than half my life still before me.

I find myself thinking about the two ways to live life expressed in Zorba the Greek.  I never could choose between them:  “I try to live each day as though I might die tomorrow.” or “I try to live each day as though I will live forever.”

I think they are both probably true.  For there is definite finitude.  Things will end.  I know it.  I feel it in my bones.  I have lived it.  And I believe there is forever …

And what I have, now, is now.

That’s where I live.

That’s where I live.”

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