“Everyone has a time when they are in the prime of their life.”
Reading : Read chapters 8-12. Read slowly and allow your mind to move toward stories in your life triggered by the reading. Pay attention to these stories, trusting they have something important to teach you. If you find you are coming to your reading as a chore, put the book aside. Come back to it later.
Kind Action : This week choose one of the scenes that was especially relevant to you from this section of the book. Connect a character in the book to someone in your life, even if this requires a leap of imagination. Complete a related kind action for this person in your life, something that honors both the story and your chosen person.
Storytelling : We’ll continue each week with the process I introduced to you last week, picking a story from your life that was illuminated by a scene from this section of the book. Write your story and then edit it to a point where it is succinct, no more than three short paragraphs. What have you gained from this story and from this experience? Summarize this gain in a sentence and add it to the bottom of your story.
Comments Section : If you are so moved, either tell us about your kind action experience or share your story from the storytelling section. If you want, share both but post them as separate comments. Please feel free to comment on the postings of others, too.
I was really touched by this passage:
“The only thing Eve had with which to comfort herself was that she had enjoyed every last moment of the little girl’s life, and never once felt her to be a burden, difficult or tiresome, never once failed to love her absolutely, in flesh and spirit”
I read this passage after tucking my little 6yo son into bed. And it really touched my heart. I wish I could say that I was as patient as Eve in raising my child. But I have experienced frustration, and annoyance. Reading this however made me realise how precious life is – and that I don’t want to waste a moment by indulging in negative behaviour.
So I got out of bed, and went into his room, and kissed him soft only the forehead while he slept. And lay my cheek against his and gave thanks.
* softly on the forehead
I do this with my first born daughter each night as well.
My earliest experience of death was that of my paternal grandmother. She was a well built women, and I happily have some of her genes. In my childhood she represents the safest place in the universe. There was no where better to be than sitting on her knee completely wrapped in her arms and smothered by her large bosoms, heaven. She died when I was 10 years old. Because death, a bit like sex, was such a taboo subject in my family I was only told some 8 months after her death that she had died having been fed a diet of lies about where she was and why I couldn’t se her. The outcome of this shock was I become very, very ill.
During the illness and afterwards as I was recuperating my mind was constantly occupied by trying to understand what this meant, what death meant, what the death of my grandma meant and what was I supposed to do with the pain of her absence and the fact that i could no longer trust anything my parents told me. I worried about this so much I nearly became ill again. However my grandma came and saved me. I was woken up from a fitful sleep very early on a winter’s morning by a brightish light in my bedroom. I thought mum had come in to check up on me, but it was my grandma standing at the bottom of my bed bathed in a radiant light. she told me it was all ok, that I needn’t worry about her, that she was fine and that she still loved me very much and that she would always be with me. I recovered in a week. The doctor said my recovery was a mystery.
Her gift to me was the journey I am still on. I started by reading almost all the great religious works, a journey that brought me to buddhism, a journey that has brought me home to myself several times a day. A journey of a life, an adventure that unfolds from moment to moment. So through her death she profoundly altered the course of my life, and so far, it has been amazing. So thanks grandma, I hope that I can give someone a gift as transformational as the one you gave me.
A long paragraph in the book has provoked a new awareness about my life. The setting and time period of the book are not specified, but the conditions under which the characters live makes me think it could be set 75 to100 years ago. The passage begins in the middle of page 77. The concept is stated as: “Everyone has a time when they are in their prime of life. Everyone has as little as one year when they are the best they will ever be, the healthiest, strongest, most handsome, most full of energy and hope….”
For me going to college had many of the elements of the “prime of life,” except of course having full maturity that comes from experience, plus being successful as an adult is not yet known. My twin granddaughters have just gone off to college. I was so excited to be a part of their first college experiences, that I made a quick long weekend trip to Ohio, then wrote several e-mails asking about their first experiences, and finally this week sent them both a nice check designated as “spending money” for just having fun.
However. as regards my own life, I realize one of the best times of my life, was just these last few years — in my late 60’s. Expectations of a longer good life, plus the awareness of how “healthy, weathy and wise” I have been, compared to my siblings and many people I see around me here in Texas, makes me aware of how truly blessed I have been all my life. A lot of older people, begin to regret what they have not done, but I am out there doing it — taking practicing kindness classes and sharing personal experiences with others, travelling with my husband to ski four months of the year, and living on a small lake which I have wanted to do all my adult life. In addition, I have been blessed with pretty good looks, a healthy strong body, a good mind and a strong work ethic. How much better could life be?
Linda – I adored your post. I’m only 35, but yet in recent times I’ve started to worry about getting older. I love your outlook, and the fact you think that the best years of your life are the ones you are currently living.
I do feel the same way though – I feel better and more secure in myself than I ever have. I have grown into myself. And I hope that the best is only to come.