The Surprising Key to Everything

“You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.

But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realizing this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.

Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.”  ~ Jeff Foster

Few days will be as vividly remembered as the one we experienced exactly nineteen years ago, when two planes smashed into the Twin Towers in New York, forever changing life as we knew it. (I bet you still remember exactly where you were when it happened. I sure do.)

My guess is, few years will be as vividly remembered as the one we’re in right now (Debbie Downer alert: it’s not even over yet…eek.) The year 2020 is likely to be a topic of conversation that is had across all spectrums of humanity for years and years to come. 

Although these are two different times in history, they share a fundamental, common thread: both profoundly exposed life for what it is….temporary, fragile and oh so precious. 

Foster’s passage speaks deftly to this and beckons us to wake up and realize it’s our responsibility to honor everything that has not yet been lost. That, in fact, to do so is precisely what enables us to experience unspeakable joy–a rather remarkable clue as to where joy truly resides.

His words are a stunning reminder we are, indeed, standing on sacred and holy ground and, in spite of the chaos and heartache, there is much for which to be grateful. Right here, right now.  

So on this 11th day of September, in the wildest and weirdest year many of us have ever experienced, let us pause and offer thanks for the many gifts we still have. 

What’s on your “thank you for the gifts I still have” list?