"Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
and going swimming in rivers
in the middle of the summer
and just generally
'living it up'
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling
We never have as much time as we think.
I didn't need Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem today to remind of this, but teaching this poem with my high school students on #NationalPoetryDay, I was thankful for the reminder.
Our lives are filled with tragic reminders of how quickly life can come to a halt. In recent weeks, I've seen my Facebook newsfeed filled with sad tragedies and lives cut too short. I've been reminded of my mortality and that, at twenty-eight, there are no guarantees for a long life.
I've been reminded in recent weeks that bucket lists should be living lists, should be "do now" lists and not "do someday" lists. I've learned that work and goals are important...but relationships are more important. I've learned to put down the computer, the cell phone, the lofty goals of fame and fortune to spend time doing what truly matters.
Because, as Ferlinghetti's poem reminded me today, death can come anytime.
When we're living life, thinking we've got years stretched before us, death can come for us. In the midst of joy, sorrow can strike. Tragedy can strike. Life can come to a screeching halt, all of the unfinished business on our list left undone.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem is a depressing poem, in some ways, but the urgency of the words rings through the final word. Life is beautiful. The world is beautiful. But it is not guaranteed. We must enjoy the love scene and the flowers and everything in between while we still can. We must not take any small joys for granted or loved ones for granted.
The world is truly a beautiful place...but we must take time to appreciate it.