Day 2500 (reprise)
It wasn’t until I posted a video yesterday and needed the day count that I realized I had reached this milestone. It was Father’s Day and my living family of origin was gathering to wish my Dad a happy day. It was summer solstice and the longest day of the year. And it was 2500 days of gratitude.
I think milestones are important markers in our lives. They let us reflect and appreciate and they let us dream. They help us to make meaning of our lives.
To me, this is the biggest milestone, yet.
I’m not sure what to make of it. I texted a few people who have been on the journey with me from the beginning. Everybody wanted to know what I was going to do to celebrate. Sadly, I wasn’t able to do anything to celebrate the day. However, I will take myself kayaking later this week to celebrate both my birthday and this milestone.
One person wrote back about how this was a great personal commitment. That didn’t feel quite like it captured what this was for me. Of course, it is a personal commitment, but it has become more than that. It seems to be morphing into something but right now it is in the in-between and so that makes it hard to describe.
What strikes me about 2500 days of gratitude is how quickly time passes and yet how so much has changed. These past 2500 days have been some of the hardest of my life and I am hoping that there are better times ahead but I also know that there are some very hard times coming. With all that said, I can’t imagine where I would be without gratitude. I’d be a horrible, cranky, angry person if I were still here on this planet at all. Gratitude has been a life buoy for me. But, it has been more than that. It has been an organizing principle around which I have designed a way of being. It is also the cornerstone of a set of secular spiritual practices and it seems to be the fuel for a kind of life mission.
For the first time, I’ve reached a milestone, knowing that it was coming, and not really being able to say much about it. I know that this year I’ve found my ministry in it. I also realize that there is something about Faith that I need to flesh out in this set of practices. But I’ve also been discouraged about my ability to reach people and about people’s possible lack of appetite for the simple yet profound practices. Beyond that, I think I need to just sit with it for a little while longer.
I feel quiet.
I was with my family yesterday and I never mentioned my milestone. I’m not even sure whether they are aware that I have a website, let alone over 100 videos on YouTube. Sometimes, we need to protect what matters most to us.
Some people can’t stop bragging. I’m not one of those people. Sometimes people think I’m being la-dee-dah because I mention the time I went to a Sufi centre in Istanbul or that I got to attend a climate change conference in Bali, or that I saw most of Caravaggio’s surviving paintings at an exhibition in Budapest. It is just the life I’ve lived, living overseas. But still, I learned a long time ago to keep quiet about the things I’ve done, with most people. I have discovered that many people who have done something out of the ordinary keep quiet about it. So I’m not alone in keeping things to myself, especially if I think that a person might not appreciate the accomplishment I have achieved.
Still, it makes me wonder.
And so, maybe I will just sit in wonder and in silence and gently paddle my way around this milestone and let it reveal itself as it wills. In another two months, we will have another milestone of 7 years to celebrate. Reaching the “Quarter Way” marker feels bigger than even 7 years but maybe by the 7-year mark I will understand this moment and have more to say about what this moment means. I am reminded of the marker on the pier in Key West that marks the southernmost point of the United States. I always felt wonder, when I saw it, at all that lies beyond.
For what are you most grateful, today?