Last night my dad left a message on my cell phone. He was camping on a ledge somewhere near the juncture of Colorado and Utah, watching the full moon rise over the mesa.
It was just the call I needed, the reminder that this universe stretches far and wide beyond whatever engages us here.
A couple of months ago, as I sensed I was losing my footing amid too many competing desires and claims on my life, I asked my spiritual director, who balances an extraordinary stack of responsibilities, many of them of enormous significance to a variety of communities and institutions, how he maintains his equilibrium. "I just try to remember," he said, "that nothing I do is all that important."
He and my father are about the same age. I am often acutely conscious of my desire to absorb everything I can of the wisdom of their generation, beside which my own occasional grasp on human experience seems to float in unintelligible fragments.
Sometimes I just need to listen to my phone messages.