Choosing to Live: Enlightened Contentment

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on

“It is the time’s discipline to think of the death of all living, and yet live.”

Wendell Berry, “A Discipline”

Into a third late night of balancing the demands of being an educator, a cooperating teacher, a husband, a father, a son, a home remodeler, and a writer, I offer this gentle reminder to live. Even when it’s hard and the storms just seem to be unrelenting, live. (You should look up Denise Levertov’s “Of Being”). Just lying down in utter exhaustion beside the bed of my sleeping sons tonight, having allowed my eight-year-old to read to me instead of reading to him because I kept falling asleep, provided yet another reminder of life’s simple yet priceless gifts in the midst of hard times and the inevitable diminuendo of life. I invite you to savor those simple moments of your own lives, taking nothing for granted, and offering the prayer of thanksgiving over them all.

Memento Mori

Vincent H. Anastasi 2018

Behold how good and pleasant it is
to weep our sad bosoms dry,
to crack the vaults of seeing tears
and loose the salty rivulets
to run their wending courses
down stolid checks;
to soak our pillows,
not from fear or regret or heavy-laden hearts,
but with the wisdom
that all we see and touch,
taste and hear and smell,

will be lost.

Rather than bemoan this fallen state
instead to don wonder’s kaleidoscopic spectacles,
to feel each finger furled in fellow hand,
to savor the single bite slowly chewed
and linger over thunder’s diminuendo
or kneel in the aromatic breath of a vernal wood.

All these things heave into my throat, my eyes
and while evening draws the darkening shades,
I lie beside my sleeping son
and drift off into the sobering quiet
of enlightened contentment.

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