Did you think it would be taking care of your ageing parents?
Did you think it would be raising your grandkids and great-grandkids?
Or did you think it would be your own imagined version of a Broadway stage with you as the star and all the people in your life your adoring fans?
Did you think it would be just what it is – ordinary – useful – filled with the challenges and disappointments and small joys that life on planet earth is inevitably filled with?
Did you think you would be a refugee?
Did you think you would be a soldier and did you ever imagine that what it is like is so much different than what you thought?
Or did you think that whatever came your way, that would be okay and somehow, you would get through it?
I know a man who is dying of cancer who simply looks forward to a good night’s rest and the chance to spend just a little more time with his grandson – the light of his life.
I know a woman who had a heart attack today and I can just imagine her telling the doctors that she is far too busy for this because she has work to do and many people to take care of.
I know families tonight who are praying, desperately seeking, hoping, pleading, for just a little more time, grateful for whatever graces came their way today.
I know people tonight who aren’t world leaders or generals or people who end up in history books who are doing the work of making it through another day the best they can and they are my heroes.
I know mothers and fathers, brothers and cousins, parents and friends, nieces and grandchildren, gathered and gathering, drawing strength from each other and from their God, to do the next thing that needs doing and in knowing them, I am so very, very blessed.
This is faith.
This is love.
This is the big stuff.
This is life.
It may not be what they thought it would be.
But it is what it is.
And in their dignity, in their acceptance, it may not be what they thought it would be.
But it is exactly what it should be.