From the mouths of babes…I told my son these things never change. I still want more time to play, to bring the ideas in my head out into the sun, to relax, and to play (yes, I wrote “play” twice because it is that important). The day this stops is the day I stop living.
Every Thanksgiving weekend, my high school has a memorial service before an Alumni Basketball game. Years ago, there was also an alumni soccer game the same day, and I used to make sure I attended the soccer game to play. While I played both sports, soccer has always been the sport I love. One year, I stayed to play the basketball game too and attended the service in between the two games. Every year since, I have tried to attend the service if I could.
In the service, every name of all the alumni, all the monks, and all of the teachers who have died are read to receive our prayers. To hear all of those who have died through the years is to know a community I belong to will know my name after I am gone. While I am not religious, there seems something very appropriately comforting in belonging to what will last beyond my breaths. It’s a family. Maybe that is why this year I noticed for the first time my favorite high school English teacher has his name read twice. He was both teacher and alumni. He was also one of the teachers who made me want to write, though it took 15 years for his lessons to sink into my skull and bring me to a point of writing. Thank you Mr. Barret. I still remember telling him I would never want to write non-fiction, as it is too boring. He insisted the line between truth and fiction is often merely a matter of perspective.
My conversations with him began a fascination which has lasted my entire life, perspective.
Since I was diagnosed with MS years ago, I have been asked many times, if I resented all of my dreams and enjoyment I have had to give up due to my multiple sclerosis. I usually ask them how many things they want to do with their life. I suspect most of us have a huge list, and many of them we plan to accomplish at some future unknown, unplanned date.
On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the realization on every good day I need to do as many of the things I want to do. Tomorrow, I may not be as capable. Having a progressive disease makes me see the time I have left as limited, a perspective I wish other healthy people appreciated.
We never have enough time to play.