I just came in - 10:56pm - from watering the gardens.
It's been a long day: dissertation, arranging music, swimming lessons, board of directors meeting, director's dinner, movie and of course, watering...
In between all of that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died. I guess it really began a few days earlier with Ed McMahon, proving the theory of "threes" - if you buy into those kind of things.
I don't really subscribe to those theories; unless of course it helps you make a bit more sense of life. Life tends to just happen.
But as I watered, tended the garden in the moonlight, I had time to think.
Life is so short and so fragile.
Two of my generation's cherished icons met his and her Maker in the last 24 hours. Farrah Fawcett, star of Charlie's Angels, the dream girl of so many teenage boys in the 1970s, died of cancer. Michael Jackson, pop music icon, "King of Pop", the original star of MTV and his now famous "Thriller" video died of a heart attack. People dying is not an extraordinary occurrence. It is what we do. (Now, people dying "well" - I would say - is an extraordinary occurrence - but that is for another blog!)
What struck me though, as I watered my parched plants, was that these deaths seemed to signal the beginning of an end: an end to my generation. We are succumbing to the ravages of age, disease and foolishness, like every other generation. (Here I stopped watering the corn and moved over to the squash, beans and tomatoes, then kept watering).
[I watched Norma (a young cat), skamper across the lawn about this time. What a beautiful little Siamese I thought, and kept watering.] As I walked across the lawn to another pair of tomato plants and began to water again, I wondered aloud whether Farrah and Michael, in all of their popularity ever really knew love. I wondered if they ever experienced the joy and grace of knowing their Maker here in this world. No - I don't mean - "were they saved?" - just wondering if they knew that joy, love, grace and peace.
I stooped down then to see my little strawberry plants buried amidst the towering tomato plants. Yes, I noticed - as a smile crept across my face in the dark - they were beginning to turn red and plump up... as I stooped to admire those little berries in the dark, Miss Norma silently came and rubbed up against my leg - never meowing - but showing a bit of affection.
Then it struck me: I don't want to miss life. I want to drink every moment of it. I want my family and friends to know how much I love and appreciate them. I want my students and congregants to know how much they are loved, cared for and prayed over. I want to enjoy the heat as much as I enjoy the cool. I want my daughters to know how much their dad loved them to the very end. I want to enjoy every breath and every smell. I would trade all of the dissertations, compositions and professional accolades for one look of love.
I want to look on in wonder at little strawberries after dark.
Requiescat in pace, Michael and Farrah...