Reblogged from Waiting For The Karma Truck – Beautiful!
I’ve often wondered, as have many, if the purpose of life is to be happy. Our society touts happiness like a religion. Books, blogs and seminars on the subject abound. But when we think about, look back upon, our lives, is happiness all we remember? The short answer is no. And why? Because it is through our pain and suffering that we often grow, and perhaps heal.
David Brooks wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times last Tuesday on happiness and suffering. The gist of which, in my opinion, is the following: Happiness is happiness, it’s easy, and lovely but it doesn’t push the limits of who we are. It doesn’t make us look at ourselves with new eyes because we manage to live through what we weren’t sure we could.
What pushes us to know the parts of ourselves yet untested? What are our capabilities and limitations? David Brooks writes: “Suffering drags you deeper into yourself…The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashed through what they thought was the bottom floor of their personality, revealing an area below, and then it smashes through that floor revealing another area.”
Makes happiness sound a bit vapid, yes? The way I see it is; pain is the prod that makes us into the people we can be, and happiness is the respite we receive for that hard work.
Love is a wave on the wind, a song in the sun, a dance of the heart. Love sways to and fro as a manifestation of movement; forward, backward, sideways. All the while, love is a powerful bear, stroking her mate, cleaning her cubs, wondering when her day will arrive.
Before the week leaves me in the dust wondering where it flew, I wanted to get a few thoughts down on paper, uh, a few keystrokes down on WordPress. Next week is Easter and Passover and the time of year my mom died, four years ago. I will light her yahrzeit candle Wednesday 4/16 – as a reminder of
all things Mom. Thoughts of my parents have become less painful as time meanders forward, now I’m more likely to feel pleasure, joy, a sense of pride.
It’s a busy time of year made busier by the fact (can you believe) that I am having my first seder in my home. The cousin whose job it is to have it, had a grandchild and is too distracted to deal. I don’t blame her but it left me in a proverbial pickle. We do celebrate Passover. So, next Monday, I shall have twelve people here for what is arguably the most difficult holiday to prepare for. It is specific, hagaddah (story) driven and particular foods must be presented.
In 2010, my sons and I brought the Passover meal to the hospice my mom occupied, as she sat quietly, unconsciously, listing starboard on a bed with side-rails. She died the following day but she gave me the opportunity to perform a mitzvah (good deed) by carrying forth a tradition thousands of years old and one that mattered greatly to her. So if you’re watching Mom, we’re having a seder, here, and you’re invited. You too, Dad.
This is an excerpt from Life In The Boomer lane’s - Guerrilla Aging: Losing Youth, Gaining Perspective. The guest writer is Darcie Purcell. Darcie can be visited at Being 40: Shift Happens. I loved this paragraph, (not so much the new, much younger husband part). Go to http://lifeintheboomerlane.com to see the complete post. What we do, how we behave every day matters and it sets us up for the following day and the day after that. We too often get caught in the rush and race, instead of the smiles, hugs, and reassurances. Enjoy.
I still don’t like being the old lady in the stands, but that’s for me to maneuver and come to terms with. My BIG realization is that as the old proverb states…drop by drop the bucket fills. What I do today matters. The attitude I choose today matters. What I put in my mouth today matters. How I decide to treat my son today matters. How I decide to treat my coworkers today matters. How I decide to treat myself today matters. Laughing today matters. Slowing down today matters. Hugging a friend today matters. Calling my sister today matters. The next time I am going to be in those stands I will probably be watching my grandson play football (next to my very handsome much younger new husband!!) and it will come probably twice as fast as 44 came at me.
Yesterday, while looking for a notebook small enough to fit in my bag for a publishing seminar I was attending at The Strand Bookstore (in Greenwich Village, my old stomping grounds), I happened upon one of my writer’s group prompts on messes. Here goes:
My first serious awareness of messes was when I had three sons, three-and-a-half years apart. Toys, blankets, bottles, diapers – it felt overwhelming as I
was one of those people who liked my surroundings clean and neat. But, as sometimes happens in life, things could get worse. I had another child, a daughter this time (thankfully) and my sons, now older were messier still.
Towels littered the bathroom floor after a shower. Why couldn’t they put them in the hamper? And don’t get me started on the laundries! Anyway, we had toys, books, video games, backpacks, jackets and towels as far as the eye could see, in all directions. It took me a while to stop cleaning every other second and leave the mess till the end of the day so I only cleaned once. Oh, and the clothing too, clothing lined the floors like pretty colored area rugs except that you could slip and die. And – this was a new one for me – drawers left open – OPEN! – with clothing dripping from them like trellised ivy. Are they trying to end my life?
My anxiety exploded at the mess and I had to wonder exactly what I was so anxious about. Was it my need for order, my desire to teach my children well, or the horrifying thought that a neighbor might stop in and think I was the worst housekeeper ever? I finally was able to corral the mess to their rooms, which made me feel like I had a sense of control (the things we tell ourselves…). They remain messy, all four of them, my anxiety and lectures fell on less than interested ears. Parenting, the longest classroom-less lecture you will ever attend!
Enormous snow flakes, a quarter the size of my palm, sailed past my window on the last morning of March. They looked like ripped pieces of paper raining from the sky. I stared for moments, shaking my head in disbelief at their size, their timing, their existence.
Existence is a funny thing, not ha-ha funny, but wow and can-you-believe, funny. Do you ever wonder or am I alone in this? Alive, dead. Flowers that spring after the winter frost, those that never see the sun again. And what of people? Chi, energy, or lack thereof. What happens next?