My dinner partner last night has been through it, meaning that she’s lost her Mother and she possesses the unique and un-enviable knowledge of what I’m going through. I remember it, when she lost her mother; I was there and I remember feeling that it was something I knew I would face one day. And I remember feeling foreign, looking through a window at a scene that would one day be my own but not that day. It comes around. I haven’t seen her since my father’s service but she’s kept in touch, leaving me long and personal messages about her thoughts, her caring, her wondering but also her allowing that I did not have to return her call. Simply, she put forth that when I was ready, she’d be there. I saved her messages and listened to them again and again, there was so much comfort for me in her words.
Our conversation last night went straight to my heart, because I’ve been teetering with hope again, have reacquainted myself with it. Because I believe in hope. Even when it’s dark in my world and I feel alone and, well, hopeless, I still know that hope is there and it’s my choice to embrace it or follow it. I want hope, and it’s my choice. Totally up to me.
She reminded me of this last night because while I’ve been understandably wrapped up in the loss, dynamics and responsibilities of my own world, the world has of course continued to spin in all of our lives. And for her, a nine-year relationship came to an end, to her surprise. Well, perhaps not an end, but it is going through enough to threaten the foundation of her world because it took such a hard turn and she's left to evaluate every single thing. And that’s shattering. I’ve known her for years, sometimes closely and sometimes at a distance. But sitting across from her last night, although we never spoke of it, I learned that we both believe in the value of peace of mind. Serenity, happiness, peace of mind, hope. Related feelings. We both believe that it’s a reasonable goal, and that we are responsible for it, not any other person, here or gone. It doesn’t happen; we have to work for it. It’s not handed to us, we have to go in search of it. For me, on a small but powerful level, it’s pausing to feel a soft breeze, or to warm myself in a spot of sun. But it’s also larger. It’s allowing the differences between each other, parent-to-child or lover-to-lover. Really accepting our approaches to life, grief, sadness, happiness, struggles, goals, self-definition, hardships, and gifts. I think that through the years and through these life-changing surprises that we did not want, we both have realized that we have to release ourselves from the hold that fear has on us, we cannot focus on how things did not go as we wanted or assumed they would, but rather let God guide us and let peace seep into us. Give up the resistance and embrace acceptance.
In spite of everything, I know just how lucky I am. I am lucky to have my family and my friends. I am lucky to have one-on-one, very compassionate nights like last night. Because it doesn’t always happen that way – when two people have two very real needs to speak and be heard and understood and loved, and they both manage to give and get that, that’s a good connection, a good night. And, speaking for myself, it feels good to be able to get AND to give. Because I can do that. I can listen and love and care and focus on another’s life. I can do it. And my goodness, I say that it feels good to do it. It feels very good.