I have never been into sports. Professional basketball never held my interest.
Yet I knew the name Kobe Bryant.
Hearing the news of his death via helicopter felt stunning to me all the same, even though I wasn't necessarily anyone who had ever shown much interest in him as an athlete.
It brought back feelings of when Princess Diana died. Someone so alive and here one day, gone in an instant.
Hearing the news of Kobe's daughter and the other passengers added to the heartache. And while there are so many sad stories every day that scroll through my newsfeed, this one just wouldn't let me go. I thought about it in my sleep and when I woke up.
Perhaps it was thinking about Kobe's wife- who now needs to mourn a husband and a daughter. It seems so cruel and just so utterly devastating. How do you go on after something so tragic? How do you go from knowing everything about your child to having no child to hold anymore? How is someone so dear to you here one minute and gone forever the next? And how do you ever cope with such loss?
I have no answers. I just know that all of our days are numbered. All of our time is limited. We think we have forever. We never know when we will leave this earth, yet we know at some point we will. What can we do?
What can we do? Here's what I think: Live life in a way so that your memory may be a blessing. Treat people with grace. Give the benefit of the doubt. Overlook the insult. Move with integrity. Work hard. Show up. Listen. Laugh. Be more generous than you need to be. Always say thank you. Always say "I love you." Hug. Appreciate. Notice. Feel. Celebrate.
We are here and so many are gone. Today we are alive and so we must live with urgency and gratitude.
When I was little and dreamed of being a teacher,
Playing school in my bedroom,
With a chalkboard hanging on the back of my door,
My school supplies never included
My stuffed animals never hid for shelter
in the corner of the room
while we waited in silence.
I thought about stickers and stamps
Not how I would stop their bleeding.
I could never have imagined back in 1985
What teaching in 2020 means.
Sometimes I wish I had envisioned a different life,
a different calling.
This one can break your heart in so many ways
that little me never pictured
playing school in my bedroom,
When I dreamed of being a teacher.
I showed my class this video today as a prompt for free writing. It was interesting to see what kids wrote. One child summarized the video without any personal thoughts interwoven. Another child told me she couldn't think of anything to write. A few children wrote about the pig's persistence.
I had oodles of questions. Why were the cookies on top of the fridge? Did Ormie put them there to avoid eating them? If so, why did he give in to get the cookies? Who put the cookies on top of the fridge? How did he get a chainsaw? Why didn't he just bake another batch or go to the store to buy more cookies? How did he find a jet to jump out of and who will help him get the glass jar off his face?
The video also made me think, when should you give up on your goal? When do you say to yourself, I have exhausted every effort? This is not my jar of cookies. Is persistence always admirable? Or is it best to give up on the cookies and find another snack?
What's your take on Ormie and the cookies?
This past holiday season, I found myself listening to the Rent soundtrack. The Finale B "No Day But Today" was one I chose to play a lot:
"There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret of life is yours to miss...."
No day but today.
And so, as this new year starts, I am reminded again and again of life's fragility. That tomorrow is not guaranteed. That someone you see on Friday at work might not be there on Monday. That life turns on a dime.
On a less somber note, I think of "no day but today" when working on my healthy habits too. I can't control the past and I can't control the future. I have this moment, this day, to drink the water. To move my body. To eat the vegetables. To track my goals.
No day but today to read to my children, to send the appreciative email, to take the time to listen to a friend when life wants to hurry you along to the next task.
Rob Thomas sings, "Our lives are made of these small moments," and so it is. No day but today and all the small moments matter. The little and big choices we make each day.
Today I watched my little girl be the mouse in an after school play. Today I read my son the newest soccer book we've been waiting for. Today I sent the email of appreciation. Today I texted a friend to check in on her after a sudden tragic loss. Today I took a moment to write about it all.
No day but today.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski