my mission in life

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born,
and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain

“Why was I born?” “Why am I here?” “Why are any of us here?” Those are questions that have plagued deep thinkers and casual observers for, well, ever.

Some people know early on why they are alive. They have a mission in life to be an artist or fashion model or doctor or whatever. Others, like me, haven’t a clue as to why they were born. Just a mix of cells and DNA and wham-o, bang-o I’m here on this planet. What do I do now?

I have come to the conclusion that some questions will never be answered. For me, this is one of those questions. I have no idea why I was born. Nor do I really care anymore. I am not one of thinkers who ponders esoteric questions and I haven’t the patience to try and find an answer for the unanswerable. I am too busy trying to live day to day to think about why I even have a day to day. I mean, really, who has time to think about such things?

Some people do and I am glad for those folks. Deep thinkers will probably and hopefully write articles or books and I can then reap the benefit of their wisdom if I choose.

Is it really necessary to know why I am alive and kicking on this planet? What difference, if any, would it make in my life? Well, if I had known as a teen I wanted to be a doctor then it would have changed my life in ways I can’t begin to comprehend. But then I wouldn’t be who I am today and my life would have taken a different path. And that is when this thought process starts folding back in upon itself and gets too convoluted and I don’t like to think about puzzles and conundrums and twists and turns. That is just not me or the way I think.

So I chose to let my fellow humans who love puzzles figure this sort of thing out for themselves. Me, I’ll just keep living my life as best I can, keeping the focus on this life I am living now, not the one I could have had or the one I should have had. It is all I have, this life of mine. And, surprisingly, I am okay with it.

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those who left

“As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on—in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie (quote is from Morrie Schwartz)

Thankfully, with buckets of gratitude, I know little of true loss. I have lost all of my grandparents; several cats that meant the world to me; and a number of friendships and relationships. I have grieved the loss of all those relationships, to varying degrees. I wonder if the deeper the loss means the greater the grief. And if that has anything to do with how long it takes a person to get over it. And, do we ever really ‘get over’ grief? Or do we move, or rather, grow beyond it?

My maternal grandfather died while I was still in school so I don’t have a lot of memories of him and don’t really think about him that much. I don’t remember grieving that deeply for him. My paternal grandmother favored her son over her grandchildren and my sister over me (at least, that’s the way it felt), so no love loss there, no grief that I can even remember.

My paternal grandfather lived close to us in his final years so I got to know him better and truly grieved his loss for several years. I don’t think about him that much anymore. Does that mean I’ve ‘gotten over it?’ Have I healed from his loss?

My maternal grandmother was a much deeper loss. She died maybe 10 years ago (?) and in some ways I still miss her. I think and talk about her often. When I look at her photograph or one of the mementos I have that belonged to her my heart hurts a little bit. Does that mean I haven’t ‘gotten over’ her loss and I am still grieving?

Whenever I have lost a beloved cat the grief was intense and the most recent, Agnes, left me about 6 years ago but my grief for her absence remains strong. Am I still going through the grieving process for her? Does grief ever truly go away?

Maybe not completely, as long as I still remember my loved one. As I write this I have to wonder how deeply I will grieve for my father since we haven’t spoke in over 22 years and he was such a monster to me growing up. I think about him occasionally – mostly in terms of how I will react to his death. And if I am honest with myself, I am looking forward to his passing from this world to his eternity. What happens to him is of course left to God, but I can’t help but wonder about how I truly and deeply feel about him.

I won’t allow myself think about how I will react when my mother leaves me for her eternity. I figure I will be devastated and collapse under the weight of grief so I won’t even go there now.

In the meantime, these are questions with no answers…and what would life be with out answerless questions?  I have learned to leave such questions with the One who will never leave me, the One who holds me and brings me through grief and pain; and the One to whom I turn to when life crashes down around me. He is my Solace and my Peace, my Rock and my Salvation.

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making peace

“That’s what we’re all looking for. A certain peace with the idea of dying. If we know, in the end, that we can ultimately have that peace with dying, then we can do the really hard thing.”
Which is?
“Make peace with living.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie (quotes are from Morrie Schwartz)

There are times in my life when I feel as I have made peace with dying; then there are other times when I feel as I am nowhere near being a peace with death. Maybe that’s normal; maybe not – I don’t know. As I heard someone say a long time ago – the only normal I know of is on a washing machine.

I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking about death; as a young woman I was obsessed with it and later on flirted with it, coming close to taking my own life. As my life continued forward and I tried on different faith-based belief systems, my interest/obsession with death waned. The only time I thought about it was when I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. At that time the life expectancy was 20 years, but through medication I have far surpassed those 20 years.

So I wonder, am I at peace with death? Yes, I am good with that. It is the dying part that is scary. It is easy to get on board with going to sleep and waking up in the Presence of God. It’s easy to accept going on with my daily life, minding my own business and suddenly perishing at the hand of a crazed lunatic or bizarre accident. I’m cool with that. I have no control over what anyone else is doing or thinking so if their actions cause my death, well, so what? I believe I won’t be in God’s Eternal Presence a nanosecond before I am supposed to be.

But, like I said earlier, it is the process of dying that is scary. The long, slow, maybe even painful descent into death that no one wants a part of – and I wonder, would my faith hold through that kind of hell? Is it even hell to go through that, or an opportunity to grow closer to God? Everything I go through is an opportunity to grow closer to God. Having never suffered in this manner I can only hope and pray that my faith would hold and I not abandon the One who has been my Rock and my Salvation.

I suppose we never know how any of us will react/respond to a situation until we are placed in it. I hope and pray I remain true to my spirit and to the Holy Spirit should I be placed in such a conundrum as the saints who have gone on before me. I’ve heard it said that tragedy or a major illness brings out who we truly are. I believe that – if, in my heart of hearts, I am a kind and compassionate person then tragedy or illness will bring it forth (except, of course, in the case of mind-altering or personality-altering situations). By the same token, if I am but a raving lunatic wearing a mask, well, that, too, will show forth.

Regardless, my prayer is the same – that I remain faithful to my faith in a Benevolent, Loving God who loves me no matter who or what I am. I may change, but He never changes.

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