Two weeks into 2022 and many will have made New Year’s resolutions. I think the best one is to wake up every morning and think…if this were my last day — which it could be — what would I do?
The first thing I would do is phone my family and tell them how much I love and appreciate them. I would thank them for that unconditional love even during those times when I swam in darkness and messed up — really messed up — they continued to care.
The second thing I would do is write Pope Francis and ask him if he was kidding when he said last week that pets were more important than people. Another giant gaffe by the Catholic Church to be sure. No wonder we have 9 billion people polluting this earth and eliminating 200 species of other sentient beings every year because we have no idea how to respect companion life forms. The First Nations had it right when they said that the human species was merely one of many that are supposed to share this precious earth — all breathed into life by the creator. Our problem is we forgot we are one cog in the wheel, each deserving due respect with the survival of one dependent on the survival of the other. Statements of preference such as this from the pope is why we experienced colonization; it is why First Nations children were stolen from their parents, it is why our planet is on the verge of collapse and why millions of animals are brutalized in factory farms every day with their offspring slaughtered at birth so we can drink their milk. We got confused by the biblical phrase “dominion over the earth” compared to “stewardship over the earth” —both found in religious texts but written by authors motivated by profoundly different points of view.
Pope Francis, you’re wrong. Our pets are not less important—animals would never do to us what we do to them every minute of every day. Yet they remain loyal. What is wrong with us? And the human species, by the way, is the only one that destroys its own home.
The third thing I would do is look up and watch the tree tops kiss the sky and feel their branches tenderly wrap their arms around me in a profound and loving hug. And I would say thank you to the universe for just this one breath so freely given. It may be the last gift given by our creator and I give thanks.
The fourth thing I would do is apologize to the young people for the mess we made on this planet. I’m so sorry we have left you with this nightmare and vow to help you clean it up. We saw it coming for decades but the material interests and greed of so many took precedence over the truth that we are supposed to be saving something for you. We saw it coming with the acid rain in the 70s and vowed to clean up our act which included reducing the number of children we brought into this world. We knew the planet could not sustain our rapidly escalating growth. Sadly, too many turned a blind eye then as they do now and our problems spiraled out of control.
I’m sorry we were so selfish but know that there is a growing body of adults who support you and are trying to right the wrongs of our generation and give you a fighting chance.
Finally, the last thing I would do if this was my last day is try to bring a little light to someone else’s world. It doesn’t have to be anything big…just some modest thing that moves from that deep place in me to that deep place in you. A smile, twinkle of an eye, a kind word. Then I would know that if this was my last day, it was a life well lived.
Now it’s your turn. If this was your last day, which it could very well be since none of us know, what would you do? Me… I’m going to go pick up that phone.