Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Cosmic Dance

Well in the end I’ll know, but on the way I wonder
Through descending snow, and through the frost and thunder

I listen to the wind come howl, telling me I have to hurry
I listen to the robin’s song saying not to worry

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There’s so much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out

I spend a lot of time thinking about death.  I always have, ever since I can remember, pretty much.  I think I’ve told the story of how (I think?) it started, but I don’t really know how to stop it.

Mostly, I wish death obsession for me was a very objective, general thinking.  Like, I wish I were a bit like Harold… using death as a distraction or even amusement and a way to garner attention.

Sadly, while I’m as self centered about the whole mess, it’s more of a fear obsession for me.  I will freeze up, sort of panic, and then this fear of “OMG I’m going to DIE!” just takes over my everything.  Sometimes, when I’ve been depressed, it’s the fear of dying that’s actually pushed me towards suicide.  Weird, right?  But it’s almost like, “Bitch, fine, if it’s gonna happen, it’ll be on MY terms!”  Control freak in me going into overdrive, I guess.

Most of the time when I’m freaking about the eminent future for all living things, but in particular, my own demise, I just get this overwhelming sense of, “What have I even DONE?  What mark have I left?”  And this is when my thought patterns completely destroy whatever semblance of self esteem I might have had.  It’s frustrating and annoying and sad, because I know for a fact that it’s not some big grand thing that I will do that will impact millions for which I will be remembered.  If I am remembered at all - and I certainly hope I am - it’ll be for the little things, as is the case with the vast majority of people who have graced (or disgraced) this earth.

An example:  any time I have ever had occasion to unclog a toilet or change a tire, I am reminded of my grandfather’s gruff, and impatient lessons in teaching me to do both tasks.  Though he was not gentle in either lesson, he was efficient and I was (and am!!) grateful.  These are skills which have served me well repeatedly though out my 42 years of life and came at a time before smart phones and YouTube videos and easily accessed How To websites that otherwise would have saved my butt in what I considered at the time, dire circumstances.  Even in death, my grandfather lives on in his tiny life lessons to me.

Every time I have the honor of getting to teach, do a craft, or play a game with a group of kids, I am reminded tenfold of my grandmother and her ingenuity and patience.  I am paying forward all the thousands of hours she invested in kids - sometimes part of her brood, and more often not - and it warms my heart.

And all those times when I am faced with art I don’t understand but that clearly holds meaning and beauty?  Yeah, my mom comes to mind.  When I read a poem with depth and breadth I can’t quite grasp?  Yep.  Mom.  Her artist’s spirit is one I never could quite wrap my brain around.  She was a Gemini - born of air - and I a Sagittarius and made of pure fire.  She fueled my soul and gave me breath, but I could only consume, never truly fly the way she did.

Even my dad’s life’s lessons come to me unexpectedly.  When I’m cooking for an army or when I’m taking great delight in cooking in the kitchen with Jenica, I think of my dad.  He never taught me to cook - how I wish he had!  I think if we had cooked together during those rough teen years when we fought so much, we would have had fond memories to ease us through the oh-so-tough ones.  That said, my lessons from him come from watching him.  He delighted in things that I often find tedious tasks of great weight - including cooking and socializing with others.  He would absolutely light up when testing out a new recipe or being surrounded by a group of people and telling a story about his days growing up in Chicago. 

There are lessons everywhere, if only we are observant enough and open enough to learn them.

Yesterday, I cooked pounds and pounds of stuffed shell pastas and also made a seven layer bean dip to take to Jenica’s religious ed class.  I peeked through the lesson plan and thought of ways to put my own spin on it (yeah… me, teaching religious ed… who’da thunk it??) and I thought of the deeper meaning of some of the questions - deeper than maybe I typically could go with my usual thinking.  Then, this morning, I unclogged a stubborn toilet at still dark o’clock.  All of these every day ordinary things, and all of them moments that were so tightly interwoven with people in my life who have passed.  Their lessons live on, and in this way, so do they.  They are remembered.  They have built legacies without ever really trying or meaning to.

Instead of being a comfort to me, I find myself frustrated and flailing.  I find myself feeling this push to make something of myself to be remembered.  But it doesn’t really work that way, does it?  It isn’t the moments we force into being that stay forever, it’s the impromptu, spur-of-the-moment, live-as-life-happens moments that stick with us forever.

I just wish I could thoroughly cling to the idea that just making my own music is enough and already makes me part of the cosmic dance.

Posted by Liberty at 05:38 AM

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