Learning to Live

The holidays are stressful. Heck, life is stressful. Whatever our jobs or obligations, there is always more to do, things to learn, and ways to be better. That’s not a bad thing. Frankly, life would be rather dull without those challenges. And, as those of you who read my “To Do List” post know, I am far from bored these days.

But, this week, I learned something from a very dear girl. She is autistic. I tell you that not to make you feel sorry for her or her parents, nor to make you think that I am somehow a “good” person for befriending her. I tell you she’s autistic because it makes her more alive than the rest of us.

Emma is unfettered by social expectations. She spends no time worrying about whether she has the right friends, or if it will ever be sunny again, or whether that one boy in class likes her or is just being annoying. Each moment in life presents itself to her for exactly what it is: that moment. A moment filled with the potential of what it could be. And she grabs it, holds it tight, and squeezes every last bit of unabashed joy from it.

And it’s not hard to do.. This week has found me spontaneously doing that Wizard-of-Oz skip across a parking lot, walking on the balls of my feet in the grocery store, and smiling as I rushed to buy something at Walmart – all simply because it felt right.  And you know what?  People smiled back.  It made them happy, too.

My To Do list is still long. My house isn’t decorated. I’ve got tons to do at work. And I have a fast-approaching deadline on my edits to Foreseen. But, I can still be like Emma. I don’t have to stop and set aside time for it. All I have to do is to remember to live.

Thanks, Emma.

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