I’ve been asked how my grandchildren get along. I say, great, until they don’t. It’s like everything is fine until it’s not, it doesn’t matter until it does, it’s not hurtful until it is, it’s OK until it’s not. I’m really good at saying something doesn’t matter, which means I’m better at pushing things aside than dealing with them. But some of the things I’m good at don’t deserve a pat on the back! Maybe I choose push aside in hopes of talking myself into, it really doesn’t matter, but I can’t come up with a for instance. Each time I label something as doesn’t matter, I’m letting whatever it is that really does matter, build up, layer after layer, until it finally, not only matters, but is covered in anger, frustration, hurt feelings, or sadness; and often in combination. Just think of all the time I’ve wasted. Just think of everything that covers each layer that could have been avoided. OK, so deal with it the first time. And now the real reason why I almost always arrive at until – I don’t know how. I’ve not yet learned the art of solving differences of opinions regarding what matters. (to be continued)
I was reminded recently of those taken too soon in my husband’s family; his 7 year old nephew and not long after his cousin, not only first sons, but only sons, and then his brother (22). I remembered becoming fearful for our first and only son and so I called our son and encouraged him, throughout all his adventures, to be safe. But I never included my husband as a candidate for death even though he was also a first son. I wasn’t fearful for him. Why didn’t those deaths bring the inevitability of his death to the forefront of my mind? Why didn’t the need to see him as precious bubble up to cherish him now? I discovered the inevitability of death is very difficult to consider but I think those words aren’t strong enough. Almost impossible is the reality. It’s in my mind, buried deep, but how do I make it reside at the surface, make it real now? Not to fear it, but use it to coat everything in cherish, appreciate, love, and forgive, and tear down selfish and impatient. Time to emphasize NOW – I’m only guaranteed this second, don’t waste or misuse it. Tomorrow? Who knows? ? ?
I miss his face. I miss seeing love for me in his eyes. I miss being held by him; no words needed to acknowledge my feeling are important. I miss feeling I matter, me, just me, no matter what I do or don’t do. I miss sharing my thoughts with him and knowing they’re heard. I miss hearing him say, let’s go fishing, and she caught another one! There are things about our relationship I don’t miss, but HE’s not one of them. Love comes in many forms – I have some, but not his. Held is not hugs, which I have plenty of. I must validate my own feelings. I need an outlet for the bad ones like anger – maybe a tin can on the rock wall and a tennis ball would work. Let’s see how good I get at knocking them down. I never needed reasons why I matter, but I do now and those reasons are slippery little buggers. I’m the churner of my own thoughts. Good ones – fighting to keep them. Bad ones – fighting to kick them out. Let’s go! All up to me. Is there love in my eyes? Yes, but I’m not one of them.
An episode of Lost was about time travel, possible because of the “magic” island. The person who traveled struggled to stay in the present and death would result from this back and forth between the present and the past without a constant – someone or something to hold onto, and to hold onto him, in both places, so that his presence in the present mattered. Do I have a constant in both places? I considered many possibilities, but no I don’t. I had friends before – close enough to share hearts after, but not before he died. My kids lived far away, living their own lives, just like me, for 11 years before. I wasn’t close to my sisters before, distance and time with their own families and friends, just like me. And I can’t find a something that would make my life matter. Why do I need a constant? It would help the past and present not hurt so much, give me another connection to both my lives, and I matter to the same person, now and before. My constant was my husband, which leaves only me. I’m going to need to get a better grip on, I matter to me.
I enjoy hearing my grandchildren use their imaginations. They pretend to be someone or something else, real or not. Imagination doesn’t disappear completely as we grow older, but experiences a metamorphosis, turning make believe into hopes and dreams, something my grandchildren don’t need in the absence of responsibilities and problems. Imagination is full of life when living doesn’t get in its way. Kids can be a doctor or a nice zombie! They can live wherever they want. Without the urgency of now, there’s room to abandon reality and be someone else, be somewhere else, right now. Hopes and dreams live alongside the reality of now, therefore they exist in the future – I can’t pretend to be a real doctor now, but I can hope to become one someday and work towards that dream. My husband always had hopes and dreams, always looking for another door to open. Myself, a few, and none right now. Without the need to expend life effort for all making a living and family require, my life is more about now, than the future. Maybe it’s time to imagine how I could use my life effort to help others see their hopes and dreams come true.
I have a problem rain gutter. To find a temporary solution, I removed the clog by removing the downspout. Gallons of water no longer pouring down my new windows, but now creating an erosion problem. I have a problem body. To find a temporary solution, I decided to pay closer attention to what, and how much, I eat. Fewer calories to burn, but now creating a “h’angry” problem. The issue is happy verses hungry. I don’t want to be unhappy. I not only don’t want to be hungry, I want to eat whatever I want, but that’s not how my body works. Happy enters lots of contests. Happy verses jobs – this job pays the bills, but it’s stressful and tedious, or this job is great, but the travel is hard on my family. Happy verses relationships. Happy verses circumstances. Can happy win when there’s always something trying to butt in? If happy means perfect it’s rarely going to happen. So, happy might have a little smudge. So what! Smudgy happy is better than unhappy, so let’s see if I can find the right balance, make compromises I can live with, and work on keeping that smudge as small as possible.
Could I go a week without talking? It would have been difficult 40 years ago, before e-mail and texting existed. It might be possible if I spent the week alone, but even then I talk to myself. The urge to communicate is strong and yet the urge to communicate clearly and concisely is not. Add negative feelings and words usually end up a reaction rather than a response. Based on the logic behind the relief that follows letting hurtful things go, it would seem letting angry, hurtful words fly, would do the same – nope. When words like these fly towards a target, they fan the flames instead of putting them out. So how do I shut my mouth, calm down, and find a productive response? If only, the need for immediate communication could be set aside with the art of “walk away”. All this term needs is a mutually acceptable definition like, not forever, but maybe 30 minutes or an hour. Time for reason to return, for an undercurrent of love to step forward, for ears to not just hear, but listen, for understanding to find determination. Or maybe it’s a stay of execution to come up with a resolution!
Physical running is related to towards and away. Towards the finish line, away from a bee. There’s running in life too. I ran towards a husband, children, a career. Towards is about something I want, therefore running towards it. Sometimes the prerequisite is away – I don’t like my career so I’ll run away from it towards another. Sometimes there’s no need for away – I don’t have a career now, but I want one. I ran away from dealing with my husband’s death. Away is about something I don’t want, therefore I need to get as far away as possible. Towards could be the reason, but often times “You spent too much time running away to realize what you’re running towards.” (Lost) Which way to run was based on the one that had the most impact. My towards was even scarier than away. It took one second to destroy life as I knew it. Full awareness of that reality made away an easy choice. Towards escaped me. Towards what? It didn’t matter. One step away equaled one step towards when I changed my focus to look ahead not behind. Choosing between possibilities and the unchangeable past. Possible; almost as exciting as certain.
The phrase, “Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.” follows a promise. If required for every promise, life would be short, or eye patches, a hot commodity! According to Google, the first part originated as a religious oath, but it’s uncertain where the rest came from. Maybe it was added because a lesser punishment than death was a reasonable threat? Many people feel, I promise, should be able to stand alone, but a promise is only as good as the word of the person saying them. I have many good intentions, but make few promises because I don’t need more words to hold myself accountable. I take everything I claim I will, or won’t do seriously, so saying, I promise, and adding serious consequences won’t matter. My conscience is enough to feel terrible when I would love to, but can’t, or when I don’t want to, and do. I made wedding vows; falling short many times to cherish. I promise to keep secrets, but it depends on why. If you want a promise from me, just ask me to “put my money where my mouth is”; I would be betting on a sure thing.
It’s been hot and humid for days. My weather app’s lightning symbol keeps showing up, but nothing. Finally, today, a quick storm came through and I thought, it hasn’t forgotten how to rain! The same could be said about life. The earth needs rain, needs to be refreshed, needs it to grow, to live. For every wild living thing, rain is a good thing. But in reference to life, rain isn’t considered all that great, therefore all the encouraging quotes about how to deal with it. Maybe it’s true that life needs rain in order to be refreshed, for a person to grow and to really live. Is life’s rain a good thing or just inevitable therefore we must be prepared to get wet, and reminded it won’t last forever. “Into each life, some rain must fall.” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) Must, meaning it’s necessary, essential, a requirement. Why not will fall, meaning it’s going to, which is far from being essential. I’ll ask, why is life’s rain necessary? Does it make me bitter – no, better. How about richer – yes, in compassion. Does it make me want to give up – no, to try harder. If I’m going to get wet, let it mean something.