James A Rutherford Funeral Home
O GET HERE (for a friend who is not yet a ghost)
There is no life that ever follows the plan we set out for ourselves. I read these lines in a book entitled “In A Strange Room" by Damon Galgut: “Maybe when two people meet for the first time, all the possible variations on destiny are contained in their separate natures. These two will be drawn together, those two will be repulsed, most will pass politely with averted gaze and hurry on alone."
It struck me, after many deaths of friend and family, after two marriages, the blessing of a beautiful, intelligent and compassionate daughter and a current relationship with a partner that blossoms in a space without demands – it sometimes feels like it took a lifetime to get here. Where is that? Well, the obvious answer – where I am. And most regularly I ponder where I am to see if where I am is where I want to be. There are constants that are absolutely necessary for me. Just like you have your own constants. The essentials. They are: having time for creativity, giving and receiving love in the relationship I'm in, and serving others. Those are mine.
These are the things that have been a part of my human fibre from the start, at a very young age and without my even realizing it; before the demands and the multitude of directions available to me led me along sometimes bountiful, sometimes bleak, but always valuable pathways.
And along all of the trajectories of my life and the people in it, I have been very aware of two powerful truths: ONE – I wanted to maintain the essentials I needed for my life to be happy and TWO – I had a choice in the matter of whether I walked or didn't walk down the pathways laid out in front of me. Those two truths have kept my life moving forward through pain and hardship, joy and gratitude, marriage and divorce. At this point in time, I could very much look back on parts of it and say, “this was a wrong decision" or “that was a failure," but that would be untrue. I chose each and every pathway based upon one or more of those essentials I needed. I imagined that walking down this particular road at this particular time would give me one of those elements that makes me thrive. And they all did, at least for a time.
I don't regret any of those directions. In most cases I recognize the joy and the pain that I have given and certainly the joy and the pain I have received; much of it, while each of us wrestled trying to maintain our own “essentials" in the manner in which we needed them. It's in recognizing this pure and simple fact of our own choice and our ability to change it, that shows us the grace in our lifetimes and gives us the ability to apologize and forgive ourselves and others equally.
Our so-called “dying" is inevitable. But our daily living need not be a slow bloodletting of our essential soul. Stay true. Stay open. Change when needed. We're not approaching any new life, we're already in it. What we are trying to do is make it the kind of life we want. Those essentials we need. That doesn't mean there's no sacrifice, but it certainly means each and every one of us is deserving of taking part in our own life's creation.
So, if there's a huge emotion welling up in the throat now and if it starts to seem unbearable; If the face in the mirror is of somebody you don't recognize, who died a long time ago – move into yourself again friend. Like a child who wants what it instinctively knows it needs and walks towards it. You didn't ask for your world to crack open. Something inside is changing and broke the shell. It is your task to make sure it is genuine, so that you might use the world that crumbles, the pain of transition as foundation to rebuild anew.
To get there you need not see yourself in any new life at all right now. A new house, a new partner, a new job. First, you must see yourself in an open field, emptied, somewhere nearby soul, and feel the rain drench you to the bone.
UNTIL SOON. LIVE WELL.