Leap Year. A needed oddity that allows us to sync our calendars and stay up to ‘date’.
I was on my way home last night and was thinking on what a difficult February this has been. February has been a notoriously painful month in our family. A lot of hard and hurtful dates appear in this month over the years. This year, the greatest thus far hit our family. On February 18th, my mom, Peggy Sharp Parido passed away after spending 5 days in the hospital. It was tragic, it was sudden and it has caused a large gap in our lives.
I have many words I need to write in reflection on my Mom’s life, her friends, her family and her legacy, but all of the pain still seems too near to adequately do that. It has been over a week since her funeral, but the fogginess of grief still clouds a lot of my thoughts. I am giving myself space allow the grieving process to work, and doing my best to stay connected to family and friends. So there will be more words when I have them about the deep realizations and restoration I have experienced in the past few weeks. But in the meantime, let me share a realization I had last night:
I was thinking as I drove down Mt. Sterling Road last night about just where we – my family and I – will be the next time a leap year comes around. I was thinking of how that I will forever associate leap year with my Mom’s death. Death for all of us makes us examine our lives.
So that lead me to this thought: What If I used Leap Years, particularly February 29th as a time to ask some long range, big picture reflections on my life? What if the 29th of February served as a marker and way to keep track of really big things in my life?
Again, I am in the middle of grief, so this might be good for me and not for you, but here are some to the things I am thinking about:
1. In 4 years from now my oldest son will be 16. 16 years old. That starts putting things into perspective. I will be classified as someone in their early to mid forties. You get the picture. Start running your age and the age of those close to you. You start to realize that time is a precious thing and you must ask, “How do I need to use the time I have?”
2. I think about my health. I think about what I can control in regards to health. I want to be as healthy as I possibly can be (ie things that fall under my responsibility to care for). Eating well and exercising are a big deal. In 4 years, I want to be as healthy as I have ever been. I want to be active. I want to have energy to tackle life.
3. I think about my family. I think about how I can spend more time with them. Life is crazy at times with our calendars and commitments and work. But, this month has reminded me of the importance to spend time with those that are nearest to you.
4. I think about friends. The last two weeks has been a time when friends have surrounded me and shown up in profound ways. I know they have been there, but when you see a friend show up when you did not invite them, and they are just there. They sit and listen. And then listen some more. It has been truly profound. I want to make more time to be with friends via phone calls (those at a distance) and more face to face with friends that are nearby.
5. I think about writing – writing is one of my longer term goals in life. I need to write and keep writing. Where do I want to be in regards to writing in 4 years? I do not have the heart at this time to name that out loud. Writing is one of those vulnerable places for me. Give me time to form some more words around that.
Overarching all of this is my desire to live with undaunted wholehearted passion. So much of my life has been dominated by standing in the background, trying not stand out. Keeping my passion and desire for the good that could be done in check with the ‘change ceiling’ in any given room. In my family, with my friends, in work within and for the church, in my taking care of the land entrusted to me I want to to live undaunted. I want to live in a wholehearted way. I want to live with passion.
If you have read this far, I appreciate it. It good for me to name these things. My larger hope for this post is that you will take a some time today to think about where you want to to be when 4 years rolls around again.
When the Next Leap Year happens…
What will you be doing?
Who will you ‘be’?
Will you be closer to what you are called to do?
Please hear me, there are so many things out of your control in life.
But those that you have a choice and say in…will you choose wisely?
What are your leaps you need to take between the Leaps?