In The Beginning, So At The End

We all start our lives with a very narrow focus. First the womb, than which it doesn’t get much narrower. Even after make it to the outside, our worlds are narrowly focused on eating and breathing. We can’t even move, just lie there and hope nourishment is brought to us. Our parents keep checking to see if we’re still breathing, so precarious does our grasp on life seem.

As we get older our world slowly expands, each tiny step a monumental landmark. Rolling over, to change our view. The first hesitant movements that let us inchworm or scoot around a tiny patch of floor or playpen. Then, with the discovery of crawling a whole room can be our domain to explore. Walking will bring the rest of the house into play, and eventually the yard. Outside! Gradually we explore an entire neighborhood. My son is at this stage now, not yet two years old and scurrying around the neighborhood with great enthusiasm.

With the start of school whole new territories open up. Most of then turn out to be horrific, but through the school years the world in our reach expands to include the whole town and maybe more.

Adulthood opens up most of the planet to us. We can, if we chose, go nearly anywhere, meet people from all over. Our jobs, if we are fortunate, give us the opportunity to accomplish real things, change other people’s lives. Most of us mate and begin producing additional human beings.

Then, gradually, our lives narrow. The responsibilities of job and family cut down on travel and adventures. Old friends move away or die and may or may not be replaced by new ones. Retirement comes along and the world of the workplace disappears. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to take up traveling in their retirement, but most are not.

With most of our friends gone, with no job to take us out of the house, life narrows down rapidly. We might get together with a few friends now and then, or get involved with a hobby. Or maybe not. My grandmother only left her house a handful of times in the last fifteen years or so of her life.

As our bodies wear out, even climbing upstairs in our own house may be beyond us. Like an infant, we are back to a world that consists of one floor. But the stairs are no longer a challenge to be overcome; the barrier is now permanent.

All too soon, for most of us, comes the hospital bed, the recliner we can no longer get out of, the struggle for one more breath to try and stay a little longer in a world that has narrowed down to nothing more than that; hoping someone will bring one more meal, while people check to see if you are still breathing.

We have come full circle. Everything that life has given us, it has taken away again.

Napoleon once said, “The time we have for war is short.” Strike the words “for war” and what he says is true of everyone. The time we have on this world is painfully short, and you never know just how short it may be. Napoleon also once said, “Ask me for anything but time.” He knew what he was talking about. Time is utterly unforgiving.

Make the most of every day you have on this Earth. You don’t know how many of them you’re going to get and once you have lost one you can never get it back.

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