Narrowing the focus

When you are young, your horizons expand. Your world gets wider and wider.
It starts when you’re born. . After cacooning in total darkness and protective custody for nine months or so, suddenly there you are splashed down like a space capsule into a wave-tossed world. It’s probably confusing as hell for a young soul, a rude awakening for sure. But then who remembers it? I don’t.
Your senses go to work immediately, trying to make some sense of it all, not that you have any sense yet–just senses. More than likely, they are overloaded right off the bat. But then somehow you manage to pull it together and register your protest to this rude awakening with a scream. Good for you. If you’re lucky like most people, you’re mama will cuddle you and offer a warm welcome even in the midst of this strangely cold environment.  But if mama rejects you then only God can help you. Maybe you’ll make it through the other phases into real life, or maybe you won’t.
If you do make it, and years go by, your senses slowly learn how to deal with life, and they develop a collaborative arrangement with your body that informs your body of what is happening around you and then your brain tells you how to respond in any given situation. And God helps if you let him.
Time passes; your opportunities for personal development grow and grow. Your world gets wider and wider. If you are blessed, you’ll eventually learn how to live life and enjoy it instead of just having some meaningless routine.
Lately I’ve noticed that when folks get old that whole process seems to reverse. The senses seem to wither away, becoming less precise and less dependable as the days roll by. One or the other of them may even shut down altogether, even before that big bucket comes along and you kick it. And it’s not just a person’s senses that slowly fade away. It’s also their sensibilities.  Old folks just aren’t tuned into what’s going on like they were back in the day. Any particular person may be sharp as a tack with the long term memories and all, but there just doesn’t seem to be many reasons left for them to be tuning into all the other stuff that’s happening around them in this life, especially the useless stuff like who’s the latest movie star and drivel like that.
Most folks will go through this process, having their awareness gradually narrowed until at last it’s just a little speck of consciousness–a little essence of _______(fill in your name) that slips into the universe, whatever that is. For me, it will be meeting the resurrected one, Jesus.
Some folks, though, will not have the experience of that slow narrowing. They will not grow old and pass into eternity. Perhaps their demise will come suddenly, like it did for the person whose foot I saw on the telly last night.
I turned the dam thing on after Pat and I arrived at the hotel room here in Honolulu. And so there on the tube is Anderson Cooper reporting on the pile of Haitian rubble behind him. He gestures downward; the camera pans to a human foot, the only visible part of body that’s covered with a broken concrete slab. Whoever that person was, he or she did not grow old.
Or, It didn’t look like an old foot.

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