This morning I watched a couple of squirrels play in the backyard. I must have watched them for 10 minutes doing somersaults, wrestling with sticks on their backs, and jumping from tree to tree. As my grandson would say, I’ve never seen that in my whole life! As I watched I thought about how easy it is to be busy and occupied with only completing a task or goal. Too preoccupied to take notice of all the cool things existing and happening around me. I paused the other day to watch and listen to a loon flying by – oh, my goodness! I can’t seem to climb an Adirondack High Peak without looking around me to find really cool moss, flowers, or trees growing in the most unlikely places. I’ve seen people talking and texting on cell phones in the most unlikely places too. What can be more important than being present in each and every moment? Getting to the top of a mountain peak may be the ultimate goal, but I’ll have an amazing journey along the way if I make the journey part of the goal instead of making the journey just the means to an end.
I’ve recently finished some dress alterations; one modernized a 1970’s wedding dress, and the other made the dress fit better. Ladies sometimes buy a smaller size with plans to loose enough weight to fit into the dress. I’ve found that life and living need to be altered as well. My husband applied to a forest tech program but wasn’t accepted because he didn’t have the right math skills. He altered his plan and commuted an hour to take a community college math class. He re-applied, was accepted, and graduated 2 years later with high honors. When his job was eliminated, he decided to become a teacher and after 12 years of mostly part-time college classes, and a student teaching experience that would have defeated most students, he reached his goal. When he died, I had to find the strength and courage to alter myself to fit into a life that could not be altered. Like clothes, life doesn’t always fit, so I can’t be afraid to take a good look at my life, find what doesn’t fit, and then fix it or me. Making the necessary alterations may be hard, but far better than putting up with a bad fit.
I read that we should strive to live our lives so at the time of our dying no one rejoices. News channels frequently report tragic deaths and testimonies of people saying amazing things about the one that will be missed so much. I often thought, what about the people that die and won’t be missed; they must not be news worthy. Would it be joyful to hear about someone who died and took their hate and meanness with them, someone who didn’t help anyone but themselves, someone whose death made the world a better place? I don’t think death can be called tragic because death is inevitable. What is tragic is the life of someone gone before, what we consider, their time. Gone before they’ve had a chance to experience not only life to the fullest, but just the normal things like marriage or grandchildren. For some, no longer able to finish impacting those around them like a teacher or a dad. How much time I have to do all that living entails is not a given so I need to choose how I live and not let living take me to the end of a life not worth celebrating.
I realized recently that most of my relationship issues are due to pretty big differences regarding caring; an awareness of others and their needs, being thankful and saying so, and recognizing where help is needed and helping without being asked. Caring comes naturally to me and so I expect others to have the same inclination, but they don’t. I have an awareness of me and my needs and therefore take care of me, which is common enough, but I also have caring for others in my mind and heart, spilling out into action. I wouldn’t go so far as saying I put others first, but they’re given a pretty big priority. I enjoy caring and I’m sure it makes a difference, but it’s hard to keep caring when it’s rarely recognized, which I now know is not on purpose. I can’t let the action of others, or the lack thereof, keep me from caring. Since it doesn’t really matter to them if I care, I need to start running it by my does-it-matter-to-me meter. If it does, then I’ll consider it as caring for me, and if not, then I’ll move on and put that energy into something that does.
My grandson stayed over last night so we set up the tent in the yard. He was so excited; he’d never slept in a tent before. He was a little concerned about raccotes (coyotes), and what else could be out there in the dark, but he was fine when I said I’ll be right there with you. After climbing into his sleeping bag he whispered all his thoughts about sleeping in a tent while he drifted off the sleep. How precious it was to have given him one of the many first time experiences he’ll have in his life. I laughed when I thought about never spending the night with my grandmother, especially not in a tent, or that my children never had such an experience with theirs; both parties missing out, and missing out is something that should be avoided at all possible costs. It’s so easy to come up with an excuse not to experience, especially for us non-adventurous types. Why not be determined to do just the opposite and come up an excuse to experience all that I am able. How much more exciting life would be to say again and again, look what I just did!
The easiest path isn’t always the best, unless you’re water. Certain paths require effort, while others require none at all, in fact, some will just carry you along if you let them, just like moving sidewalks at airports. It was very easy to allow almost every aspect of my life to be carried along with my husband’s; rarely anchoring myself long enough to discover my own pathways, rarely needing my own strength. I’m pretty certain it would have been just as wonderful to keep a portion of me from turning into us, making it easier to now be anchored as me instead of we.
- Connecticut River Flood Waters (10-4-2010) / Strength
- Running water chooses the easiest path; directed by the objects in its way.
- It’s seldom the best path for those watching and waiting. But water doesn’t care.
- If you don’t like the path it takes, you’ll have to make it change directions.
- For water only considers itself.
- It doesn’t care if it sweeps away thousands of pumpkins.
- If you’re in its way, it’ll take you with it.
- Anchored, it’ll pass you by; hollow, it’ll pass through; if neither say goodbye.
- Choose to be anchored, for in that there is strength.
Here I am, going about my day, and where are you? Do you have some kind of body or are you just a spirit? Are you aware of who or what you are? Are you looking at me from heaven like I’ve heard people say? I sometimes wonder what you think of my sadness, my joy, and the decisions I’ve made, but then remember it doesn’t matter because you’re not here. Do you feel sad or know nothing but joy and freedom; freedom from this earthly body and the crap life throws at you. Are you proud of me or jealous because of what you’re missing? I have a body and a spirit, and acutely aware of who I am. Maybe you see me, maybe not. I hate sadness, love joy, and believe I’ve made the best possible decisions. I feel lots of things, some good, some bad, and sometimes nothing at all. I live in this earthly body every day and deal with the crap life throws at me, but get to experience new wonders too. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made towards re-inventing me. I didn’t choose life without you, but it’s here and so am I.