Diary 8/20/18

Going Straight

Woke up early for the bathroom, fell back to sleep and got woken up again by the piccolo of birds directly outside my open window “Twee!!! Diddleee,dum dum Twee!, immediately followed by the raucous bass honking of geese. Time to rise, though not quite ready to shine. Breakfast is relaxed, chatty with whomever my dining companions are each morning. Then we all slowly and carefully rise up from the table to greet our days, shuffling off with our walkers. I saw the daughter of one woman there with whom I have had an extended conversation in the past about meditation and the effects on stress.

She is here because her mother is clearly in a decline and wasn’t even attending meals for a while. I saw her at breakfast twice this past week but at other meals her husband of 68 years was eating alone looking rather grim. When I joined him, he spoke to me of his wife saying to him, “When I’m dead…” and what she implied by that at the time and how deeply it shakes him. He quite honestly said life without her (he is nearly 92, she just turned 90) seems impossible and he only can see a looming huge dark void. Add 20 more years to my life with Richard and then snatch him away again- well. I cannot imagine that either. My own dark void seems to be filling in with new activities and friendships as observed by my surprised and still grieving self.

A shocking loss to hear about this morning was the death of a friend’s son. Richard and I once babysat for him when he was two years old. He was an irrepressible bundle of energy and creativity as a child and grew into a successful professional photographer and a loving family man. He has left his wife and two young children behind. His mother, who gave me a massage after Richard’s death, is holding a lot already. Her husband recently made it through stage 4 lung cancer, and is now in his 80’s. Her mother is still going strong in her 90’s. My friend also has a sister who has always needed extra support, and her daughter has twins that she helps with in many ways. It is hard to imagine laying another burden upon her. I just found out it was suicide that felled her son. She is a deeply spiritual and compassionate woman and I can only send her love beams to light her own Source as she enters into this new unexpected grief. Last night I heard that yet another friend just lost her brother quite unexpectedly.

Blessings on the sorrows and equal blessings on the joys is hard to summon, though they cover both ends of our human experience. The entire spectrum of emotional reactions lie in between. We migrate towards pleasure and away from displeasure. The swinging of the pendulum dictates so much of our lives. “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God,” (Source of your choice) requires an inner objectivity and strength of heart to achieve. I take a few steps on the highway and then wander far off-road before remembering that the choice to temper my highs and lows is available to me, and a preferable dynamic for my life.

Dropping below the powerful currents in the air, the oceans, the political climates, the emotional responses to being repeatedly swept up and let down, only happens for me when I get very quiet. I feel both larger and unimportant in the silence where I land. The details of me recede and the knowing of my existence as paradoxically temporal and infinite is nourishing. A taste is enough to help me re-enter daily happenings. I am very engaged in having a total human experience, pleasures and displeasures riding on every wave.

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