Off the Pulpit

How to Live

I once wrote about our baby proofer. His wisdom has grown even greater over the years. After leaving the house, ensuring that no prying baby hands could open dangerous drawers, climb perilous steps or fall on sharp corners, he turned to me and said — “Now remember, you can’t take your eyes off of her for a second!”

In a larger sense what that wise safety maven meant is that the world can be made safer, but not safe. Having lived through both a brain tumor and lymphoma, both AFTER I began eating a vegetarian diet, I often think bemusedly about the people who reassure you that this exercise or that eating regime will guarantee longevity. It may help in many ways; I am no doctor or fitness guru. But life has more sharp edges than there are foam bumpers, more germs than soap, more falls than nets.

So it is unwise to spend too much time thinking how to preserve life rather than how to live it. I haul myself to the gym and try to walk and on occasion refuse the cake. But I also try not to let my fear override my joy, and now and again to be heedless is to be alive.