Pope Gregory I is my favorite pope ever. Yes, we all loved John Paul II, but Gregory is my pope. He wrote a wonderful book on pastoral care, one of the main premises of which is that different people need different kinds of pastoral care. Exhorting one another in faith isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of job. Gregory comes to mind often when someone gives advice, and I think, "boy, that's the last thing I need." I have a beautiful friend with a tattoo that says "WORK HARDER." When I think about how depressed I'd get if I saw that every day, I want to go curl up in bed forever. It inspires her, though.
I was lying awake one night this week, when it occurred to me that (for me) the old saw about "live each day as if it might be your last" is total bullshit. I talked a while ago about how I grew up learning to be prepared for death at any time. The other side of that is that on some deep-down level, I never expect my loved ones (or maybe me, it could go either way) to live long lives. I genuinely expect that everything could shatter any day. I spent all of summer CPE marveling at the things that people survive, at how often people don't die. I need to learn that maybe, Dave and I will hold hands as octogenarians. I need to let go of the fear that if I erase a voice mail, I might be deleting the last thing he said to me.
This year, one of my goals is to try to live each day as if we've all got another 60 years. To breathe deeply, and imagine future decades. Those golden years might or might not come, but there's something precious, something fundamentally necessary, about the dream of them.