I have an older friend whose somewhat disorganized chaos of an orderly life by turns astounds and horrifies me. She is on too many committees, does too much volunteering, and works too many hours – and puts up with too much. In this year of abrupt reversals and sudden losses, what I have learned at least faintly is how ludicrous it is to keep on living that way, when so much is lost so soon. I want to tell her “Choose what you love, and walk away from the rest!”, but the things we do are nine-tenths habit, and one-tenth cement, and change is hard. So, I gentle my words, and bite my tongue. But this poem made me think of her – and all of us – walking in circles this year. May this coming year we wend a path through the year, out walking only regrets and hurrying toward what makes us shine.
In her nineties and afraid
of weather and of falling if
she wandered far outside her door,
my mother took to strolling in
the house. Around and round she’d go,
stalking into corners, backtrack,
then turn and speed down hallway, stop
almost at doorways, skirt a table,
march up to the kitchen sink and
wheel to left, then swing into
the bathroom, almost stumble on
a carpet there. She must have walked
a hundred miles or more among
her furniture and family pics,
mementos of her late husband.
Exercising heart and limb,
outwalking stroke, attack, she strode,
not restless like a lion in zoo,
but with a purpose and a gait,
and kept her eyes on heaven’s gate.
– Robert Morgan