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I went for a walk in the rain today…not with an umbrella, not with a hood on, just with the rain running down my face and soaking my hair. I wanted to feel alive…to feel part of the world around me…submersed in a moment of my choice. Early this morning I learned that a friend’s husband died. On my walk, I passed the house they’ve been remodeling and were planning to move into soon. My heart is broken for her…for all of us…because life is a delicate and fleeting thing.

Yesterday, another friend drove her sister to the airport, from where she left to start a new life in Italy. I listened to the preparations that led to that spontaneous moment…the fines from gyms and cell phone companies for early cancellations, the sale of her car and all her belongings until her life fit into just three suitcases, the farewells and tears. All I could think was, “Yes! I want to strip my life of everything I don’t need and take a giant leap into the unknown.”

Perhaps then it’s synchronicity…or just inevitable…that I would notice this quote beneath someone’s Instagram photo today:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

It sounds so simple, so straightforward, but anyone who has read Tolkien knows that he was well aware of the treacherous quest inherent in this simple statement…the obstacles involved, the sacrifices to be made, the bravery required. And anyone following this blog knows the questions I am always asking… What are my priorities in this life? Where does writing fit in? How can you do it all with so little time? What should “all” be? Working at a hospital where daily I see lives altered drastically and without warning, the urgency of defining “all” and living fully presses in on me. And sometimes, it does seem simple and straightforward…and I crave the treacherous quest. Sometimes I see the answers to my questions in fleeting visions…not spelled out clearly with step-by-step directions…but like images in the prophetic water-filled basin of Tolkien’s Lady Galadriel, telling of what might come.

Yes…all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us…and then be brave and do it.

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