2013 has been a wild ride of a year. It began with my daughter being displaced because an arsonist burnt down her apartment. It ended with the death of both of my parents within less than 2 months of each other. And in between were trips to China, Germany, and El Salvador. The year contained some of the lowest points of my life and some of the most rewarding. Frankly I am not sure if I am in a tailspin or gliding. What it has brought is deep reflection on the constructs of immortality and “being here now”. And I have had glorious instances of the Sublime.
In the name of the deity many atrocities have been committed across continents and over the ages. Religion as the banner for what is right has brought forth many injustices: religious persecution and war as two examples. Partly this has been because religion has been the right hand of power structures since the dawn of time. This has had positive impacts as well: the partnership of government and religion has allowed for organizing societal structures to come into existence and the rule of law to be established. Societies without the rule of law are ruled instead by gang violence and indiscriminate enforcement with no recourse. Power without compassion.
I feel fortunate to have been borne into a government structure that tries to separate church from state. The forefathers of the United States were wise in unlinking religion from the laws of society. Not only has this allowed for American society to become diverse, it can also allow each of us to find our path to the Sublime. But in order to find that path, I believe we must have our eyes, ears, and hearts open to the potential and then to follow the path that opens up despite the hardships.
When I have, it feels as if my heart can no longer fit within my body, it feels as if it does not matter if there is more than the here and now, it feels instead that there is a Greatness and that is all that matters.
It is now 2015, two years after the original writing. Today marks the second anniversary of my father’s death. To say that I am still grieving misses the point. Sometimes it is as if there is no longer a point but I am in search of it anyway. To lose such great loves as my parents throws up into the air everything I held as true. At one time, I believed firmly in God and a life after, and then I simply believed in God and found a life after irrelevant and probably untrue. Now I wish desperately for a life hereafter – not for myself, that still seems pointless – but for my parents, my grandparents, my friends and family, and all my pets that have passed. They are not irrelevant and I miss them all. I still need them all. On my rational days I recognize that I have become many of them encompassing their traits, preferences, dispositions, and even language. I have their stories and pass them on. And yet…so much of me wants to see them again, to ask them questions, to know they are happy…wants so much just for them to be. And sometimes, missing them and missing the life that was, I feel as if I am slugging through the mud of my childhood backyard, losing boots and shoes that won’t be discovered again until the first hard frost of fall or winter.
Finding that soft bottom, I realize that they also missed those who came before. They continued and left their mark on all of those they loved who came after. They found and shared their joy in living—children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, and strangers. They touched them all with beauty despite their personal losses.
The crisp days come and then the snow and I am on the ice, spinning and whirling and dreaming my dreams in the frosted air with only the dark silhouettes of trees and stars so bright they sparkle and call out "here I am, here I am".