It's been about a month now since I've gotten back from China but it's hard to believe. It feels like it's been ages and yet, at the same time, like I left only a few days ago. In so many ways, it's starting to feel like a dream. A very nice, occasionally crazy, always interesting dream. Were the people real? The places? The food, the experiences, the memories? What was real and what was a dream? The harder I try to grasp a memory, to grasp or stop a moment in time, the more it feels that time is slipping out of my reach. I've discovered how much I love sand timers. Watching as the sand slowly trickles down. While it doesn't look like a lot at first, the pile grows and grows until it covers the bottom and the sand that fell before. I can shake the timer side to side but it won't affect how fast the sand falls nor will it stop the sand from falling. I've come to realize how much time is like that. I can try to do something, to pause time or disturb it so that I have more time but no matter what I do, time continues to flow. I want to pause time, to try to remember what has happened, but if I try to do that, I forget to live in the present. If I try to plan too much of the future, I again forget about the present.
China taught me so much about life and living in the present. It's only now, as I wait for the next chapter in my life to begin, that I've begun to realize the kind of life that I want to lead. I want to live a life that is in the present, that doesn't regret the past or worry about the future. I want to enjoy the sunshine, take time to laugh and spend time with friends and family. I want to love people fully and not worry about the little things. I want to never be in such a rush that I forget to take time to thank God for giving me another day to live, for giving me food and clothing and so much more than I ever need, for giving me hope in death. Most of all, I want to live a life unafraid of dying, however it may happen. It's a way of life that might be different from what the world expects or approves of but it is the life that I am choosing.