Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#SOL16: The Unexpected

Soar ( M.A. Reilly, 2014)


I.

To live brilliantly is to live presently and to live in service to other. Thomas Merton writes,
"Love is our true destiny. We do not find meaning of life by ourselves alone--we find it with another" (p. 27). 
I think about Merton's words and the truth of them and how the world felt more in focus alongside Rob. I was more willing to take risks, seek out the unusual, fail well.  To be well loved is to learn to love yourself as you are, not as you think you ought to be. Love floods even those cranky, dark thoughts that surface now and then infusing them with light and goodness. Love tells us to rethink our disappointments; to find kindness in our faults; to honor our failings. Love privileges imperfection. Rob loved me not because I was so perfect, but rather because I am so flawed. These life learnings are the ones I need most now.

II.

Some days I feel out of sync with the wider world, as if true north had lost its points and I know the general direction so long as the landscape is familiar.  But shift the landscape and I become less certain of my steps.  This is not because of some issue with the world, but rather because I am cloudy, off-kilter and have had difficulty seeing. And, odd as this may sound, all of this is rather good news, not because I fancy being cloudy and off-kilter, but rather because I can see myself here on the planet, standing presently.

I have not been able to take a bird's eye view of myself in months--to stand far enough outside my experiences and see where I am.  I know insular days. Grief expects such days, lingers alongside such days, like an old friend you have come to know. But such dwelling, although necessary at first, becomes less so with time and can be disrupted through reflection.  For it is reflection, this writing and art making I have been doing, that helps clarity to be restored--the long view to be seen.

III.

Grieving has its own time. No clock on earth reveals its many starts and stops. Some weeks after Rob died someone said that to have experienced and loss such love will require a lot of time to get through. I think I may have smiled and nodded, but I was frightened by the comment. Terrified. Who wants to stay in such pain? But like everything here, pain too morphs into something unexpected. Who could have predicted that out of such sorrow a deeper understanding of love would bloom? 

13 comments:

  1. I have not lost a loved one, but have lost love and can connect with so many of your words- not quite knowing where true north is, realizing that grief has its own time. I am glad that your writing and art making are bringing a measure of peace and acceptance, and I wish you continued healing.

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  2. Ah, the notion of losing a Loved One, rather than losing Love itself. This, too, is brilliant, a necessary distinction. The breath is always there, until death. The dance with the breath is a continual choice between Love and Fear.

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    1. I didn't even realize that I had made that distinction. Thank you for highlighting it as I agree, the distinction is important. These two lines are stunning: "he breath is always there, until death. The dance with the breath is a continual choice between Love and Fear." May I quote you?

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  3. So expressive of grief, yet holding out hope of unexpected gifts that come as you go through it.

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    1. The unexpected keeps me wanting and that is a good thing. Thank you Diane.

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  4. So expressive of grief, yet holding out hope of unexpected gifts that come as you go through it.

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  5. I am reminded in your words that only the truly personal can ever be universal. Thank you for articulating your thoughts and feelings so well.

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    1. Wow, Marilyn I hadn't thought of that at all. How true. I must remember that. Thank you.

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  6. I read your thoughts every week and am enriched by them.

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    1. Thank you Julianne for taking time to say so.

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  7. Mary Ann,
    I am truly blown away by your blogs and your artwork. I find many of your feelings and thoughts are very relatable to my own. But I have personally never had the gift to express them in the way that you do. Your blogs make me both smile and tear up and resurface feelings that I myself have suppressed in regards to my own life. I would love to purchase some artwork for my new home if you have some for sale. They are absolutely stunning. Please let me know if there is a website where I can do so. Keep up the amazing, very inspirational work!
    Nicole K.

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