The rooms of my house, should they be visited by strangers and aliens, would act as a time capsule of my life. Regularly I sit and meditate on how far I have come, on how much I have traveled in time, just looking at pictures and tchotchkes. It’s encouragement, these reminders that though suffering is imminent, omni-present, getting through is possible. That I’ll learn something along the way I may never have had I not had my experience.
This kind of idea though, wrapped up in the notion of free will and borne on the downslide of experience, of a breaking of innocence, is cold comfort to those who suffer intensely. Those I know who have lost children to tragic circumstance got through, are still getting through. How do they do this? To live with grief so close, it sits on the skin; it remains in the breath; it lives in the heart. Both a weight and a lifting. How else are we to think of the loss of someone young, relative to his or her experience of the world, except to allow their memory to lift us up closer to them? To the splash her soul made, or what his heart contributed, or the connections, the influence, of the single human, the single representation of God’s love. Manifest in a myriad of wonderful ways in the little effects of the beloved’s touch and sound and being.
Really trying to find a way to talk about this, because it’s wrapped up in how I see myself. It’s wrapped up in knowing and feeling my bodily demise, inevitable. Looking to the afterlife positively, to be sure, but trying to reckon my place and contribution in this world.
We’re put here to be something for each other: encouragement, compassion, support. Recently at an IHN volunteer week, I sat with a mom and her children who were trying to simply get a start again in a new state, the third in a short time; as the adult, this mom was trying to get her bearings so she could get back to where she was before moving across country. Her eyes were tired, and I know there was so much more story behind them, but there was no reason for me to know—it was enough for me to listen.
And that is all. Simply listen to one another. We can become so much more through such a simple act. Listen to others. Listen to your self—your true self. Not the way you think you should be or you once were, but who you really are in this moment. And who God is to you in this moment. There is no label or distinction that can matter in this world because they do not matter in the afterworld. Treating each other with real love is the connection between them.
I have to stop doing what I think I am supposed to do, to please others. I must follow through on what I know I need to do, from within. If life is just this short time we’re given, and every white hair is a sign of the times, then to live in any other way than what you want is absolute madness. Why would I spend any moment of any given day not feeling the light breath of my littlest on my cheek as I hold her, or the sure squeeze of my oldest’s hand as we volunteer together, or the rough brush of my husband’s mustache when he kisses me? Why not sit and write like this, to spend extravagant time. Why not take a moment with you, dear reader, to breathe, to listen, to just be.