The Fragility of Life
By Wallace Huey
In Ireland tomorrow it’s forecast to snow. When it does all the children will come out to play in the winter’s first and quite possibly only incidence of snow. They will build snowmen (and snow women?), make slides to zoom downhill on the ice and throw snowballs. Then, because this is Ireland, and because the balmy Gulf Stream westerly winds are never far away, the wind will change from due north to the prevailing westerlies, and it will all be gone.
Life is fragile. And often, when life is at its most fragile, it is also at its most beautiful. As people we are also part of the fragile web of life. In winter in Ireland, we huddle together in our homes, families return from far and wide for Christmas and the web that holds humanity together, for a few short weeks gets stronger. The most fragile aspect of human life, and the unseen force that holds us all in its orbit, is love ❤️️. And at Christmas, because of the example of a single man turned God 2,000 years ago, and all the saints who kept his example alive, that love burns a little brighter at Christmas.
But Christmas will pass, and Irish society will return to the never-ending tasks that keep the children fed, the sick cared for and the elderly nourished, at the start of a new year.
Love is life at its most fragile and its most beautiful.
And many are uncomfortable with fragility. Contemplating on the fragility of life connects us with our own vulnerability. Consider for a moment, just how vulnerable your life actually is. Every second or so your heart beats. If it was to stop that would be the end. Every second or so your breath flows in and out. If it were to fail you would be gone. Many of us do not believe in miracles. But I stand with Einstein when he says there are only two ways to live. As if nothing is a miracle and as if everything is a miracle. And for me human life, is one unending and unfolding miracle.
I remember watching a documentary a couple of years ago on the BBC. In the program a film crew in a helicopter flew across the UK and landed at points where a critical incident was taking place. It might have been a power outage in a hospital or a car pile up on a major highway artery, or a flood event which polluted and disabled entire districts. The helicopter crew always had somewhere to visit as the run of emergencies was never-ending and relentless.
At the end of the program the presenter said he never realized how the UK was so much on a knife edge. And yet through it all life went on. The rescue workers, the health care professionals, the police forces and others kept the country running. And as I watched the series it was obvious to me that life in the UK literally was on a knife edge, but it was the power of Love, as exemplified by all those front line workers and others, who kept the wheels turning and society going.
So I invite you to remember this post, whenever you are ever inclined to believe that love is a weak and ephemeral force. To observe in your own life, that whenever life is at its most vulnerable, that the presence of love ensures that is also life at its most beautiful, and to pick up the phone, or walk into the next room and tell your nearest and dearest that you love them - because love expressed never dies.
Until we meet again.
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