By Deb Duer
It was an ordinary shopping day, a regular Monday moment. I had bought the evening meal and was returning to my car in the jammed parking lot. I was getting in the car when I looked down at the asphalt. There, just freshly stepped on or run over by a cart or maybe a car, was one of those giant grasshoppers. It struck me hard. The architect of life had seen fit to snuff out this voiceless and small observer of life with giant eyes, just moments before I walked up. I stood there staring.
I wondered what allowed me to finish my shopping when even one little insect had unceremoniously croaked just under my driver’s side door. I could not bear the finality to a life that allowed others to go on living in that same moment. I was still standing there trying to think through this problem when it occurred to me how fundamentally unaware I was of my own life, how relatively unappreciative, how careless was my way of living. I might care more for how my home was constructed than how my life is. I would question the architect about the building material or the soundness of the construction, but to question the architect about what’s going on in my life?
I did not write a check to pay for my experience of living, no one offered a pound of gold pieces to the author of me to ensure that things would turn out OK. No, my life was given to me free of all charges to do with and become what ever I could imagine or how little I could get a way with. Where was my plan for myself, the plan that told me how many minutes to spend on the most important to the most humdrum aspects of living? Minutes, hours, days, months and years had escaped me with not so much as a thought to where they would lead. I had played my hand without thinking of the game and there were no tricks left to take.
I was sitting in the car now, looking down at the small lifeless creature who gave impetus to my continued thoughts. How could it be that it was just gone? It was clear to me that this was not an answer I could know. But what it led me to think was that one day I will just be gone too and planet Earth and all her creatures will go on without me. Thankfully, there is still time for me to live in a manner that bespeaks a love and gratitude for this great adventure to which I have inadvertently become tangent. There is still time to live in a wonderfully deliberate way.
I put the car in drive, thinking that I did not want it to be weeks before I thought of this moment again. I wanted it to be a turning point in my life. I wanted the energy from that little green alien to fill my heart and be the prescription I needed to find a way to care deeply about what I did and what kind of impact I was having. It occurred to me as I finally closed the door to leave, that maybe that grasshopper spent its whole life trying to get to that spot in the parking lot so that I would finally learn that my life could begin its unique celebration!
These moments of clarity and insight are available much more often than you might imagine. They wake us up and we start to live with intention. We can receive the gift of living life more sweetly from a brief moment of awareness anywhere, anytime we are willing to be present.
Deb Duer is a freelance writer whose work is inspired by the never-ending supply of surprises that life can deliver! She can be reached at email@example.com.