Death and taxes.

C. Tucker Beckett [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It was a vogue idea in the early 1700s, it seems: “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” It’s still quoted today, frequently.

So, in essence: “Once upon a time, TAXES. The End.”?

I disagree.

Sometimes… well, sometimes the end comes well before any taxes are due–a miracle, in shorthand, cut short. Tiny hands that will never hold a dollar, let alone hand it over to the powers-that-be.

But when life lasts just a bit longer, there are a few other sureties. Things guaranteed, at least once in every life, no matter how small and unremarkable they may seem. Their descriptions don’t fit in a truism, so they are disregarded.

A moment that makes you catch your breath and marvel. A smile, a look, a touch, that warms your heart, even if only for a second. Even the most disadvantaged of us experience a few of these moments between our grand entry, those pernicious taxes, and our exit point. Whether or not you have all your five senses, your freedom, your health, a family, a home–you will have these moments. They are just as certain as taxes, just as certain as death, and much more worthy of recognition, ponderance, and remark.

Think of some experience you’ve had–one which you were amazed to discover that someone else shared. Isn’t that one of the biggest secret (or not-so-secret) reasons that we read, that we write? To find those experiences, or to shout about them into the darkness, in an effort to pile up the evidences that we are not, after all, alone?

The only thing that is sure in life is that we are not alone. Death and taxes are just two more things which we all have in common.

Let’s look for those commonalities, these moments worth remembering, every day; and then, let’s help someone else learn to catch their own moments, when they come. If we learn to recognize them, and pile them high together, maybe our bonfire can light up this night we’re all stumbling through. (It sure beats whining about taxes.)

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