Yes, this post is all a little dark, but there’s a silver lining at the end, so stay with me.
All through life, regardless of age, you wonder how to live your life. Should you be more understanding, patient, and loving, or less? What is your duty to others, as opposed to yourself? Should you take that job overseas and break your mother’s heart, or stay in your hometown close to the relatives? Is it okay to stop attending Mass? When the heck are you going to get serious about exercise/diet/meditation/pursuing your dream? Are you too busy? Could you be more organized?
Are you wasting your life in one way or another? Are you following your passion, or is that just for people in magazine articles? Should you be doing more? Less? Are you ethical? Compulsive? A doormat, a boor? Do you drink too much?
Oh, honey, you are so lucky to be able to agonize over it.
Bill’s sister passed away suddenly and unexpectedly a couple days before Christmas. She was reclusive, and we only saw her once or twice a year. We suspected that health issues were causing her to avoid us even more than usual, and then, a few days before Christmas, she had a health emergency. She refused medical treatment – consistent with a lifetime aversion to doctors – and died at 3 a.m. She was only 66.
As I pondered her death, the suddenness of it began to sink in. To shock me, how arbitrary and final it was. One minute you’re grinding your teeth over all those questions, and in the next second: You. Are. Gone.
My friend and I were commiserating recently about our clueless husbands, and if either she or I were to die, our guys would be screwed. In my case, I’m Tech Support at our house. In her case, she’s the bookkeeper. She cannot make her husband do the bills, focus on their assets, or care about their balance sheet. She was complaining to me, and then she burst out laughing. “I’m worrying about my mortgage payment being late when I’m dead.” We laughed so hard we cried, but it makes my point. We just don’t get how final and intransigent is death.
It’s not that weighing and worrying over the issues and situations of life don’t matter, but I never realized how much of a luxury it is to be able to worry an issue to death, as I tend to do. I keep thinking of my sister-in-law, sitting out on her patio on a spring morning, thinking about her questions. What to have for dinner, should she cancel her paper, what the hell is wrong with her hearing aid?
And then, in a millisecond, boom – no more questions.
You, dear reader, and I, still get to think, weigh, consider, and choose. Isn’t that a gift? We can do almost whatever we want.
So go ahead, juggle those oranges or plates or chainsaws. You are alive. Enjoy the choosing. Appreciate this fully. This is the silver lining.