Wednesday, 31 August 2011

At For-ty, I'm Beginning to Understand... 2

My thanks for the kind comments on my previous post (via FB and email).   Got a few from unexpected - but delightful - sources.  Shall we continue?

At For-ty, I'm beginning to understand why some people enquire, regarding their recently-deceased loved one, "Did he/she suffer?"  I didn't quite get it, really, whenever I'd heard it before my maternal grandmother's passing.  Her's was sudden.  And because of the how, that was one of the foremost thoughts in my mind.  "Did she suffer?"  It happened a few years before I turned For-ty, but, it's something on which I've since dwelt.  Now, having heard of a few other people who've passed on since then - whether relatives or relatives of friends - I've tried to understand what it is about knowing whether they suffered toward the end that is so important.  Admittedly, I haven't come up with much.  However, the little that I have says this.  Those of us left to mourn their loss just need that last bit of assurance that they went without suffering.  We are just glad and thankful that their final moments were not awful ones.  Even to the end, we want the best for those we love!  The answer we are always hoping to hear is, "No.  He/She didn't suffer."  For, in a strange yet comforting way, that answer brings a great relief!  And we think, "Good.  I'm glad to hear that."   In another sense, it's kinda for our benefit, too.  In an unintentionally selfish way, we are comforted knowing that they went without agony.  For, if they hadn't, how much more painful for us to know that we could not have been there to alleviate some of that pain/agony/suffering?  But, I'm wont to think it's more the former.  We want the best for our loved ones even in the end.

I'm beginning to understand that it is important to have a hand I can hold every now and then.  Sometimes I just need a hand to hold; that could be all the conversation and connection I need.  That hand, at the right moment, makes me feel comforted and loved and special and that I'm not in it (whatever it is) alone.  It could be the hand of a friend or a family member - even that of a stranger.  Hm.  True story.  I had been invited to a function that was to take place on the 51st (or was it 54th?) floor of a TD Bank building downtown Toronto.  I am scared of heights.  As the elevator ascended, I said as much to the two strangers who were en route to the same function.  The woman next to me said stteo: "If you want, you can hold my hand."  She must've heard the sigh of relief as I said, "Thank you!" And I reached out and took her hand.  Long after we'd exited the elevator - after what seemed like days - I kept thanking her.  But, that's what I'm talking about.  A hand to hold at the right moment.

I'm beginning to understand that people need people.  One of my fav stories is about a little girl who was asking for her dad's help to get undressed.  She was about 5 years old.  The father knew she could do it on her own and told her so.  She replied stteo: "Yes Daddy.  But, people need people, even when they can do things by theirselves [sic]."   I've grown accustomed to doing a lot of things by myself.  I hardly ever ask for help.  I don't like DIY, so I buy things that don't require assembly.  And, if they do, the store "will send somebody out."  But, that's beginning to change - because "people need people."  It's not just about putting things together, either.  I've found that it's about the company and the connection and the camaraderie and the celebration of unified achievement that comes with getting help and doing things together.  And, of a truth, there are some things that I simply am not able to do on my own. For those things, it is okay to ask for help.  And, wouldn't you know it?  The people to whom I reach out usually say yes.  (They may sound a tad surprised, but that's beside the point.)  I'm reminded of my fav Tina Turner song, "Help" (a cover of The Beatles, I believe.  And, btw, this live version sounds exactly like the one I taped from radio in the mid-80s, btw.)  It starts out, "When I was younger/So much younger than today/I never needed anybody's help in any way/And now those days have gone/I'm not so self-assured/And now I find, I've changed my mind/I've opened up the doors."   Guess life's just like that.  You get to that point, at some point...

I'm beginning to understand that it's okay to know who I am and what those things are up with which I will not put! :-) That I do not have to apologize for liking or disliking, wanting or not wanting, preferring or not preferring certain things.  In my conveying these preferences, I remain respectful - more so diplomatic - with a hint of a smile.  Sometimes an outright one.  A few years ago, in two jobs I held for (not surprisingly) under two years, an unfamiliar sense of relief swept over me when I finally admitted to myself, "I hate my job! I hate going to work there!"  I didn't leave right away.  But, somehow, that verbalized truth added gusto to my steps.  I didn't have to hold it in anymore and was able to endure the remaining months without imploding!  At For-ty, it's easy to sense what's in sync with my own preferences and likes and so on.  Easy to spot.  If it's not, it's kinda like another fav story of mine from years ago.  The watchman at a lighthouse kept watch night after night. A bell or a horn or something went off marking a given time every night.  One night, due to some malfunction, the bell didn't go off.  The watchman was startled out of his sleep by the omission of the familiar sound and jumped up, "What was that?" 

For me, in some cases of a new acquaintance/relationship, the omission of a quality or trait that should be in sync is easy to spot.  My "What was that?" moment sometimes lasts too long, as I give way to my main resolution (at For-ty) to be more "open". Whatever the heck that means!  Well, what I meant at the time  - and I imagine I still do now - is that I wouldn't be quick to write people off for saying or doing the occasional "dufus" thing.  Get to know 'em.  A few traits mightn't be in sync, but, I'd give it time.  In general, try new things; go for the adventure.  You know?  The one outside my square - home, work, church, store?  But, the truth is, it's easier said than done.  As that longtime quote (don't recall who said it) goes, "I want somebody who's already ticking the way he should be."

I'm beginning to understand that it's okay to want that; that and a number of other things on that shrunken list.  I've had a few relationships over the years and in each of them I have "loved thickly" - as that Toni Morrison line goes.  For, "what good is thin love?"  I'm glad to say that I have learned something from each of them.  After a six- or seven-year break from dating, I now desire my him.  Like I said, the list has shrunken but a few things have remained. He has to love our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Just...just take my word for it that other than that, there is no point.  He must love me - and like me.  Be each other's BFF.  He has to be affectionate - occasional PDA, not so much to make me or other folks uncomfortable - and romantic.  Sense of humour; good job (that he likes); can help the kids with their homework - especially Maths and Science and not be afraid of li*ards!  The laundry thing?  I'm kinda getting over that, given that it has become more convenient now.  But, if he wishes, I might be up for negotiating wrt to that particular chore!  Other attributes/qualities/traits/characteristics I pray that I can live with.  Another woman might go, "No way!"  While for me, re that same trait, I'd be like, "Pshww! I'm fine with that."

Hmmm.  I'm definitely beginning to understand that as much as I desire my him to be this that and the other, wherever he is, he is praying for his one and only to be this that and the other, too!  So, as someone said to me the other day, "You don't know how sexy it is that you have your sh*t together," (he had asked me to excuse the language), I take some comfort that I am on the right track.  Funny thing is, because I do have much of my stuff together, it could be a tad more difficult to discern the right one.  I'm old fashioned and do want to marry for love.  Not because it makes economic sense; not because of what I have etc.  For love.  And, it is exactly for this reason that I have to continuously seek God's guidance in my interactions with those with whom I come into contact - on and offline.  (Yeeeah.  The square isn't working. Other means necessary. Or so I think.)  I will be true to him.  As Proverbs 31 admonishes, his heart will be safe with me and I will do him good and not evil all the days of my life.

I'm beginning to understand the love and mercy of God.  That I truly am undeserving of His grace and mercy and lovingkindess.  That my only plea is that His Son, Jesus Christ, died for me and calls me friend and I'm joint heir with Him.  That in Christ's doing so, God's wrath and judgment that I do deserve was satisfied - not by any good deed or any other thing I could possibly have done!  That Romans 5: 7-8 and 1Cor 1: 18-29 will always tear me up and bring me to my knees in gratitude to Him.  When I was about 27 or so, I experienced Christ's rescue.  Sometime in this my year of For-ty, I have experienced His mercy and His love.  There are no words to describe how grateful I am to Him; how much I love Him and how much He means to me.  Yes, I'm beginning to get a glimpse of how much I mean to Him.  I simply ask these days that He help me use up my talents and apply the necessary hard work; that He help me be obedient and fearless!

Oh, there's so much more I'm beginning to understand.  People I don't know will care about me; people I've known for a while, won't.  Sometimes I have to apologize, even - and especially - when I don't want to.  Sometimes I have to force myself / be my own cheerleader, to get cracking on the things I must do - even when they're things I ordinarily enjoy doing. Sometimes I need to relax. I need to learn how.  I'm laughing a lot less these days, maybe 'cause I've been living alone for a while now.  Still, I need to get back to that place.

Sigh. Clearly, this post won't hold 'em all.  Might have to do a Part III  - at some point.   But, thankfully, I am beginning to understand these things.  I may never get them all down pat.  But, I'd like to think I'm off to a good start.