If This Is It, Then What Is It?

by Mark Chmiel

Three writing topics proposed by Sara Rendell:
1. If this is it, then what is it?
2. Dear Internal Critic, You Have 15 Minutes before I Ignore You
3. Something that surprised me today

“If this is it, then what is it?”

“It” is breathing in as I write that first line
“It” is sharing the space-time continuum with Sara Rendell
“It” is us writing in our notebooks
“It” is the interflow between SR and me
“It” is 567 moments to tap into in the memory bank of my future
“It” is Johnny Cash crooning on the Pandora here at Northwest Coffee on Laclede
“It” is perhaps one of the last times I’ll sit in a café writing without a care with this future doctor whose accomplishments I’ve said, nay, insisted, are formidable but what about that Albert Schweitzer or Sister Chan Khong heart that Sara will take with her to Burkina Faso and then to Penn and maybe once again to Haiti?

“If this is it, then what is it?”
“It” is spring in St. Louis, 8 May 2012
“It” is 2 Pellegrinos
“It” is a Smart Phone timing us in this writing practice
“It” is the miracle that two years after a theology elective SR and I are even doing this
“It” is no climax, no lottery-win someday, no hope for anything bigger, better, best
“It” is the flow of these words in blue-ink across this Moleskine
“It” is the smile on my face as pen these lines
“It” is the joy that comes from knowing that this is the present moment
“It” is this wonderful moment

“If this is it, then what is it?”
“It” is what Rabbi Hillel said and if not me and Sara now, when will we be happy?
“It” is what Hanshen wrote in a poem I meditate on: “Be happy if there’s something to be happy about/When the moment comes do not lose it/Though they say life last one hundred years/Who has seen a full 30,000 days?”

“If this is it, then what is it?”
“It” is nothing big
“It” is the cosmos vibrating in appreciation at a table on planet Earth in this solar system beyond which who could count the billions of other galaxies

“It” is Sara and me