"Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future: it will happen in the Now."
Last night I watched an old movie - Critical Care. I was impressed with it's dialogue, which seemed to debate many of the issues being politicized in health care but it also addressed several other issues such as: a doctor's responsibilities, obstacles and often misplaced goals; adult children's interest in their parent's well being and end of life concerns; is mechanical maintenance of life really life?; and spiritual aspects of attending and caring for people who are dying. The latter theme touched me because although the women I care for are not considered to be dying, they are old and needy. It sounds morbid, but rational expectation would have them dying before I do (though we all know life is anything but rational).
Although I focused on my response to the old women in my care, I thought the spiritual part of the movie applied to all. As one character in the movie bluntly put it, "We are all dying." And this made me consider if and how I have cared for others? Did they have to be literally dying before I woke up to their needs? Did they have to be physically ill before I mustered up some affection, attention, loving kindness? I won't answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.
To summarize what an angel in the movie said, "ETERNITY IS NOW!" What am I waiting for to truly love? I only have Now, not the past and not tomorrow. There was a devilish character in the movie who reminded a dying man that all we are tasked with in this life is to love ourselves and our neighbors. It sounds simple but the dying young man had pretty much only loved his parents and according to the devil, that's much too easy most of the time - to love the ones who do a lot for us. "When," challenged the devil, "have you ever done something for someone without expecting something in return?" (paraphrase)
Since Eternity is Now, what must I do? Do I wait until my husband becomes someone else, who actually cleans up after himself before I give him a heartfelt hug? Do I wait until that grouchy clerk at the supermarket becomes gentle before I'm nice to her? Do I think there is an exemption from Eternity-Now when I curse with rage at the stupid !*+& %! who had the nerve to cut me off in traffic? Do I "waste time" recycling stuff? Do I wait for some unreliable, unpredictable, unreal future, before I start making conscious little decisions that matter to ...everything? Do I create Heaven Now or wait for some indeterminate afterlife. Life is Now, not after.
The movie ended with a sort of riddle - "If you loved me..." And I ask myself, if I love you... What? What must I do...Now?