Friday, September 28, 2012

Recognize Where You Are Today! Enjoy It!

I saw an old picture the other day based on a novel by Graham Greene published in 1951, made into a movie in 1955 and remade in 1999. It was a powerful telling of an adulterous love affair that spanned almost a decade. It told the story of three people who never had the chance to fully live the lives they wanted. In my mind they never had the chance for fulfillment because they never fully communicated what was in their hearts. The lack of communication came about because they never fully trusted each other to understand what was in their hearts. There were many themes in the picture but this writing is focusing on the love affair and how it affected their lives as the time went by.

The lovers experienced ecstasy when they were absorbed in each others desires for one another. They never revealed their inner desires to one another which lead to a feeling of mistrust and a feeling of possible betrayal . The cuckold husband is certain his wife is unfaithful but is too timid to risk showing his love and in the end lives with the fact. The lady is a beautiful woman who seeks love that the marriage never held for her. Her marriage took place in the  late 1930's and even in that time all marriages were not necessarily based on love and desire but rather on accommodations. In the end she dies of an incurable disease being cared for by both men.

As the story unfolded it was to me an unfolding of life. Where we have times of love, of happiness, of deceit  of truth, of floating on clouds and then being thrust down to the earth with such great force that whatever we had built up within ourselves was broken into dust, which settles into the surrounding dirt. The characters never took the time to slow down just a bit and enjoy the good times. There were good times but while they were enjoying them they were too busy doing "things" and not taking the time to just look at one another, to enjoy just being with one another. No they had to be doing, had to be planning had to be busy until she died and then everything slowed down to a halt. For the men at least for the mourning period, and who knows how long that would be, everything was over, all the plans were useless  she was gone only to live in their minds and soon the memories would fade as they tried to get into the times of their lives that was presented to them without her. Somehow, we have to take note of the time we are in. Slow down and enjoy the person we are with, the situation we are in and then when the other times come at least we can say we enjoyed the good times because the bad times will come as sure as there is a heaven, as sure as there is a God.

Ecclesiastes says all of this and The Byrds made a song "Turn, Turn, Turn" which I suppose says it all in an updated way we can all understand.

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
A time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Woke Up and I Was Dead

I woke up one day and I was dead. I knew something was not quite right since I was floating above my bed which held my body. I really didn't feel too much different than I felt when I went to bed the night before. I had a slight headache, but nothing to take an aspirin about. In fact I felt pretty good. Dave Letterman's monologue was pretty funny and right on target as he lampooned both of the current pretenders to the Presidency. I directed the remote to the TV as I hit the power button. I laid in the same fetal position I have always laid in while I pulled the covers over me and laid my head softly on my pillow. It seems to me that I fell asleep almost immediately which is something I haven't done in quite some time.
AHA, that's it! I didn't fall asleep immediately. I died at that precise time! Boy that was really peaceful. I haven't felt that much at rest in my whole life. But then if I died then what the hell am I doing floating above my body between bed and ceiling? Aren't I supposed to be somewhere other than here? Aren't I supposed to be getting judged or something? Why do I feel like I am in a sort of limbo. Yes I am dead but I can't leave here until I find out what is holding me here and stopping me from going to wherever I should be going.

I had to focus. I had to think. The last day I was alive what was it like? I mean Dave Letterman's monologue couldn't be the most important moment of my life. It really was just a fleeting moment of nothingness that at least gave me a laugh before I departed this earth for eternity. I have to go back over the last day before I decided to go to sleep.

Let's see, I woke at the usual time about ten minutes before the clock radio went off around five twenty in the morning. I remember wishing I could sleep the day away like I did when I was a kid but those days belonged to the past the way I did. I sort of wandered around around the room trying to shake the cobwebs from my mind and get my bones greased up enough so I could move without any aches and pains. The radio blared with an old Beatles song, "All you need is Love". A nice thought I figured as I hummed along with them. I listened to the early news headlines, the weather report and then I shut off the radio. I shaved, took a shower and groused most of the way as I got ready to meet the day.

Then it struck me. I was floating between bed and ceiling because the last day of my life was thrown away without realizing all the good things that were there before me. I couldn't leave this earth until I rectified this.
I forced myself to re-listen to the Beatles "All You Need Is Love", to listen to the word's meanings. When I remembered shaving I actually felt the warm water finding my face and the nice soft feeling of the suds on my face. I remembered my shower making my body come alive with its warm water awakening my bones.

I wasted the day grousing and being grouchy and never looked at the beauty of the trees as they majestically kissed the earth while raising their arms towards the heavens. I wasted the day thinking of only myself. I withdrew into a shell. Why? Who knows why we do stupid things. I should have called my daughter and told her how much joy she brought into my life. I should've called my sons and let them know how proud I was of each and every one of them. But all I did was draw into myself. Couldn't let anyone know I am soft after all I am tough. Right?

The pride that kept me from showing how much I loved also kept me from letting whomever was close to me at a distance. When I let my wife know how much I loved her she was too far into Alzheimer's to know the depth of my love. Now it was too late to express all I felt to my new love. Sometimes it is easier and far safer to let a joke end the sentence. And now it is too late. I am stuck in Limbo between bed and ceiling looking down at my dead body. I can't experience the goodness and beauty of all the earth has to offer. I can't experience the joy of love shared between parent and children. I can't experience the wonder of loving and being loved. I was too worried about pride. I let the moment escape me and I can't do anything about it.

As I was looking down at my body in bed I realized I needed another chance. I knew if I received that chance I'd probably screw it up again but I needed just one more chance to give life a try. As I was wishing for this chance I felt a sensation, sort of like a vacuum, that was drawing me downward towards my lifeless body until with a great swoosh my spirit entered my body. My hand raised to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I really didn't know what had happened. I would have to give this experience a lot of thought. But I awakened and was glad that I had only dreamt that I was dead. After all it was only a dream, wasn't it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Judge and Be Judged

A few things stuck me as I thought about the arguments that are floating about this political season that have to do with social issues, especially those which are promulgated by the religious right. The same sex marriage issue is hot. Birth control has gotten into the discussion. Not so surprisingly even the size of the family has been injected not so blatantly rather insidiously.   And of course abortion has raised it's ugly head. The feeding and caring for the poor came up for some discussion when the Catholic Bishops pointed out that Paul Ryan's budget was harsh on the poor and vulnerable in our society. But that discussion was short lived. I wonder why? This is not a posting which wants to discuss the merits of the arguments rather it is a posting that wants to point out that many of the religious right that is against many of these things quote the Bible which clearly lists many of these things as "sin" and it follows that those who follow such practices are doomed to hell. Thinking about this got me to ponder the fact that many of the people I know, including me are doomed to hell if we believe these naysayers.

Who among us don't know gay people? They may be members of our very own family. You mean they are condemned to hell? This isn't the God I have grown to know. How many people do we know who are divorced and remarry? Roman Catholics might have to look upon their brethren as doomed to hell for eternity unless they change everything that may be good about their lives at this moment. Who doesn't know someone who is practicing birth control within or without the bonds of marriage? Well unless they don't change their ways they too are doomed to hell. No matter how you slice it, looking at the past, looking at the present and what we know the future is going to bring there seem to be many more don'ts than dos. This means that the Religious Right can quote, "Many are called but few are chosen.", and seem to be right. They can live with the fact that many more are doomed to hell than those who are destined for glory. And they seem smugly OK with that.

The God I know, and many may argue both on the right and the left that my God does not exist, is a God who does not create to put his creation in a losing position. He does not create to cause confusion and blurry ideas that can only be explained by a few who the masses follow. He does not create to fail. The God I know, and like I said previously, some on the right and left may say does not exist, loves His creation so much He will find a way to make sure his creation is a success. He will make sure that instead of most going to hell they will go to heaven. I don't quote scripture to prove points anymore because one can find conflicting thoughts throughout scripture of many religions And knowledge of the scriptures doesn't necessarily mean the one quoting is  inspired by God for it is said by theologians that no one knows the scriptures better than the Devil.

So rather than put my trust in those men who are always telling us what God wants for us I shall look for guidance from those that seem to speak with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I shall chew on it, pray over it and then accept or reject it depending on where the Spirit leads me. But I refuse to accept anyone who says the ones I love are destined for hell just because they have different ideas or life styles those who wear robes say they must have. And most of all I will not judge anyone but myself and I will try and be lenient in my judgement.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unrequited Love

“I have to admit, an unrequited love is so much better than a real one. I mean, it's perfect... As long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless potential.”
― Sarah DessenThe Truth About Forever

Reading the above quotation was truly enlightening. Think about it, unrequited love, one in which one's love is not returned is always thought of the most depressing thing. The one thing about it is its over before it has begun. There was no point of being the pursuer or the pursued. No part of building promises and trust that lay waiting to be broken. No passions rising and falling as one breathes.  No exchange of vows be they public or private. 

Unrequited love is much like romantic,courtly  love where one worships from afar, never approaching the beloved. There is no chance for for the lovers to ever touch maybe never meeting but one is always the beloved and the other the lover, never to change. 

The whole thought of marriage being the result of love between two people is relatively new, perhaps a phenomenon of the twentieth century originating in the United States of America. Marriage from the time of its inception was an arrangement between two families that brought stronger bonds for both families. Usually it was wealth and power that was the consideration. But even the very poor made these arrangements. My Grandmother met her husband at the age of 14 and he was about a decade older when her father and his friend fulfilled an agreement made in youth that their families would be united by a marriage. They were poor and had nothing to gain except the fulfillment of a childhood promise which affected their children. The thought of love being involved was so far fetched that it wasn't even considered. This took place in the USA in the year 1889.  The love my grandmother had to give was given to her children. She had plenty to give but it was not to be shared with a man of her generation.  She also lived at a time when women had no rights and could be abused as the husband wished, or not.

Unrequited love can be like courtly love but many times the pursuer makes his or her feeling known and then is rejected. Whether it be courtly love or rejected approaches nothing was ever started so nothing was ended. When the feelings are exchanged there is a beginning, middle and an end. This is where it becomes excruciatingly painful because there are many promises made or assumed that never come to fruition. Untold visions of a future that are dashed. This is where the people involved let themselves open to shown vulnerabilities and can be hurt leaving scars that may never  heal. Yet to quote Tennyson, "It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all".  But best of all the following quote:

Oh, seek my love your newer way
I'll not be left in sorrow.
As long as I have yesterday
Go take your damned tomorrows.

(Dorothy Parker )