It was a timeless scene, one that might have happened in your house just this past afternoon. The kids are playing with bubbles. They are laughing and yelling. Blowing and darting around trying to pop them. Finding the most wonderful joy in the simple magic of soap and air.
But this wasn’t in 2023, it was sometime in the late 18th century.
“They fill the air of the room with their bubbles, their air bubbles, which roll and shine reflecting the light of the fire and candles, and are very beautiful,” John Adams said of his granddaughters Susanna and Abigail. And as he watched them play with one of his old pipes, he struck a philosophical note. “There can be no more perfect emblem of the physical and political and theological scenes of life,” he said. “Mortality only is eternal. All the rest is balloon and bubble from the cradle to the grave.”
We are here for such a short time. The things we get worked up about seem so important, but are they? The promotion, moving to a bigger house, the latest news from the neighborhood, the offensive exchange that is stuck in your mind–these are all bubbles. Even the trouble your kids got into at school, the phase of sleepless nights, traveling for competitive baseball. All of these things are little bubbles of air, they won’t last long.
Enjoy them. Appreciate them. Laugh and giggle at them. In other words, understand how ephemeral and meaningless they are. In all cases, actually, understand how fleeting and fragile everything is. It’s all bubbles, life. None of it lasts. All of it ends the same way.