Don't You Dare Close Your Eyes
"The trouble is, you think you have time"
-Jack Kornfield’s Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
I was shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams yesterday. In fact, I've been crying on and off since I got the text from my mom telling me he had died. I've been indulging in some Twitter grief and communal Facebook grieving. I've been watching too many news reports and reading too many news stories trying to figure out exactly how I felt about the loss of someone I never met. And I realized that I'm just ... sad. I'm sad for the man who gave so much light to world and was left with only darkness. I'm sad that everyone will be deprived of the joy he could have contributed to the world in the years he had left. And, mostly, I'm sad because the shock of his death highlights for me how fleeting life really is. It reminds me how important every moment is. It clarifies my need to be present and grateful for every second, even if that second involves a toddler tantrum. And mostly it makes me feel the urge to pick up my camera so that I can gather and save those fleeting seconds.
TAKE PICTURES. Take pictures take pictures take pictures. Take them with your camera, take them with your phone, take them with your computer as your child sneaks up behind you at night for one last hug as you work the night away trying to make life just a little bit better for him. Capture birthdays and lost teeth and first rides on airplanes. And capture your kids playing in the yard like they do every afternoon, and your spouse burning toast like he does every morning. Because those moments are important, too. Print them out. Hang them on the wall, make books, attach them to the refrigerator. Surround yourself with all those little fleeting moments of your life.
Earlier this year, Apple put out an iPad commercial with Robin Williams doing a voice over using a scene from the movie Dead Poet's Society. The visually stunning ad moves me every time I see it. Colorful scenes of games and dancers and musicians fly by the screen as you hear the familiar voice of Robin Williams say:
We know what verse Robin Williams left behind. He left over 100 films, shows and specials where we can hear his voice and see his face. I hope that his family, and all who loved him, will be comforted by the body of work he spent his entire life building. Unfortunately, most of us don't have movies to watch or interviews to look back on. We contribute to the world in the anonymity of every day as we raise our kids and buy our groceries and do our jobs without being noticed. My verse is a love that started when I was a 17-year-old cheerleader standing outside a classroom talking to a boy in a bomber jacket with shaggy pool-bleached green hair and all of the memories and places we made our home and babies that have come from that love. My verse is three little boys who are smart and funny and strong willed and so very full of life. My verse is helping women to see their beauty as others see them and to love their strong, healthy bodies no matter what shape or size. My verse is the ability and the love of capturing moments whether they are of my own family as it grows and changes or yours, as you are starting off on a journey together like the couple I'm heading out to photograph this evening, or well on your way. "That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse." My verse is you.
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