Sometimes you write things that nobody likes. Maybe it’s because it “went over their heads” or is “ahead of its time” or whatever, and that’s fine. More likely, though, is that it simply doesn’t have enough qualities that would make it enjoyable for other people to read. That’s fine, too.
If you’re a writer, the overwhelming odds are that you will never be quite good enough or gather a large enough following to be considered successful, or even to eke out a humble living, and you will die without leaving much of an enduring legacy of any kind. In a few short years, no one will know you were ever here. This, also, is perfectly fine.
This morning in meditation I was blessed with a brief glimpse of my own insignificance. It was the most precious gift I’ve ever received.
I do bedside care for hospice patients, most of whom are in the last few days or hours of their lives. A few months back a man and I were watching his mother die, I can’t remember what of. As we sat there, I on an uncomfortable folding chair and he in her now-useless wheelchair, he broke a long silence by saying, “Life is a flash of light between two dark eternities.”
I did not reply, but the (somewhat more poetic) Samuel Beckett quote came to mind, “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.” It was then that the thought first struck me that if we could ever grasp, to any extent, the yawning Infinity surrounding our microscopic island of space-time, we would never again waste what’s left of our flash taking ourselves seriously.
Early the next morning I got a page from the on-call staffing coordinator, who said I was being re-routed to a different patient because the one I was with had expired. They always call it that, “expired”.
When I went outside, the sun was shining, and the birds and the traffic sang.
I write because I write.
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