My friend inspired me to think about how I look at tasks or projects. When I begin something, am I always looking for the end, becoming discouraged because it’s not yet in sight, or looking back at all I accomplished and thankful for all that’s been completed so far? I watched a video recently on Facebook about bamboo trees. They take 5 years and 5 weeks to grow 90’ tall, five years of that spent in the earth, unseen – the ultimate, where’s the end? Which direction I choose to look is about how I arrive at the end of hundreds, maybe thousands, of tasks taken on during my lifetime. Remembering from the beginning until the present encourages my heart and improves my mindset, providing relief from churning around all that’s left to do, but focusing on the end fills my mind with what’s looming ahead, how and when it will get done. Why wait until the end to get excited about what I’ve completed when there’s so much to be excited about along the way? The end excitement is short lived, because it won’t be long before I’m ready to start something new, needing to be challenged again, accomplishing more!
(Parallels After Death)
There is nothing certain about life. There are hopes and plans, but those are based on faith, not fact. I don’t believe in fate. I believe possibilities begin with the first conception of a future, with the battle waged between the two whenever possibilities aren’t met; more possibilities saying keep swimming, while fate yells, just float. I believe possibilities have brought me to a painful place, but where joy and hope keep evening the odds; now able to recognize the unexpected joyful each day. I believe I will still face hardships, obstacles, and problems, and I hope all things good and wonderful never leave my mind, because I have one to fill. I will continue to have wants and needs, knowing my needs will be met, hoping to not have too many wants. I still have places to go; physically but also in my mind and heart. I continue to have concerns about being left behind. I can’t do anything to change the impact of his leaving, making it best to move on, embracing all that surrounds me now. I hope I feel loved, because I want to, need to. Being loved, the cream on top of all life offers.
There is nothing certain about what happens after we die. There are many beliefs, guesses, but those are based on faith, not fact. I don’t believe in reincarnation. I believe life begins at conception, but the soul, the moment you’re born, at the first human touch, so uniquely yours it’s only given out once. I believe my husband is where there is no more pain, and I hope there is joy; in what I’m not sure because everything that brought joy before is gone. I believe he no longer faces hardships, obstacles, or problems, and l hope all things good and wonderful fill his mind, if he has one to fill. I hope there is nothing he wants and all his needs are met, if he has any needs at all. Is he just still or are there places to go? I hope he doesn’t have concerns about those he left behind. He can’t do anything to change the impact of his leaving, making it best to move on, embracing all that surrounds him now. I hope he feels loved, if he feels anything at all. Being loved, the thing I’ll miss the most if it must be left behind.
I’ve seasoned a cast iron pan for eggs so they won’t stick. Well, the fried ones don’t anyway. It’s just nasty when certain things stick, like scrambled eggs and wet bathing suits. These things stick because their surfaces don’t agree, so I’ll need to work at separating the two. There are other things I want to stick but they need the help of tape or Velcro; sticky themselves, holding non-sticky surfaces together. Relationships are similar; some I want to stick and others not. When the ones I want to stick, won’t, it’s because relationships only work when both parties have the desire to stick. I’ve had other relationships where we’ve had to work on staying sticky, differences doing their best to tear us apart. Do I keep putting on a new Band-Aid or do we need stitches? Do I use super glue and force the sticking? I believe perfectly smooth isn’t interesting, rarely inspiring change, and excessive adhesion causes resentment, therefore resistance, but there’s a middle ground in recognizing and naming what pulls us apart so solutions can be found for whatever makes its way to the surface, even if it’s just acceptance, making it possible to let it go.
A recent comment inspired me to write further about Left Behind. I know my final leaving will impact those I’ll leave behind, but I’ve already left people behind, already leaving an impact on our lives. Relationship are wonderful, but can be difficult and complicated so I’ll experience good ones and bad, each with very different endings. There’s the moving-away left behind, when some relationships end, not strong enough to survive the distance, leaving good memories behind. Others I’ve kept, long distance not the best, but better than not at all, so no leaving yet! Then there’s the no-moving-away left behind, except that the relationship wasn’t good, so I no longer have this person in my life. It’s easy to blame them, but it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. I need to let go of blame, forgive myself for whatever part I played, and forgive them, whether they ask to be forgiven or not. Forgiveness is the auto repair shop; we’re the broken down cars. Two appointments are needed, but I can only make mine, and I must in order to move forward with or without them. Forgiveness can mean reconciliation, but it’s OK if it ends in left behind.
Will my granddaughter like macaroni and cheese today or hate it? Am I still getting free HBO? Each day brings with it a heck of a lot of unknowns. Many unimportant; insignificant enough that they’re given little, if any, thought. The outcome really doesn’t matter because either outcome is fine. Then there are times when either outcome isn’t fine, like will my plane crash on its way to Seattle, or will my car get hit by a drunk driver? Unknowns, out of my control, important, significant, but not enough to not go. Death is an unknown, yet certain, and at the same time unexpected. For those I’ve lost, acceptable at times, welcomed, and other times unacceptable, unwelcome, when the outcome isn’t fine, enough to change the lives of those left behind forever. Things happen all the time to take my life in different directions; some making small adjustments, others significant ones sending me down paths full of unknowns. Focusing on the unknowns makes the path something to be feared, so I’ve learned to focus on the path instead. My life, significantly changed, is still mine to live. I can’t fear where it will take me, or I’ll never go.
It was cold in my workshop the last time I used it, so I added a heavy flannel shirt and my husband’s winter hat. As I cleaned up yesterday, putting that hat back on the hook I said, here’s your stupid winter hat you left behind. I was angry again, not for leaving his hat behind, but leaving me and his kids. Left behind is a terrible feeling. I was left behind in a candy shop, totally immersed in watching the candy making that I didn’t notice my family had left. I was a kid, alone, with not enough experience to deal with what had happened. Confusion, fear, and panic preventing any kind of rational response. Left behind after my husband’s death was surprisingly similar. We were immersed in everyday living, totally unprepared for any what-if-something-bad-happened scenario, that it wasn’t anything different, let alone special, when he left that morning. I was 50+ years old, married for 35+ years, with hundreds of experiences, except this one. Confusion, fear, and panic, along with anger, pain, and unbelief preventing any kind of rational response. Left behind, no matter what the circumstance, is terrible, and so much more, when it’s forever.