Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wish You Were Here Pt. 1

The world is a simple place, dark and warm. All sounds are muted, and ever present is the constant rhythm, invoking life where there is none. There is little else but this single presence, until a moment that changes everything. The world squeezes in over and over in brutal assault. Blinding light floods reluctant eyes, and violent blows bring violent breaths.

The birth of a new life is by its nature a savage experience, ever visited upon a being that did not ask for it, a being that is not prepared for it, a being that will suffer for it. When we come into this world as infants, the experience follows us for years, even decades, as we stumble through wondering where we came from, what we are, and where we are going. In the beginning, all we can do is wail. Our entire bodies are wracked with sobs, because we hurt without ever knowing why it is that we hurt. We suffer without ever knowing that there can be anything beyond our suffering.

As we grow older we are initiated into one of the most deceptively complex ideas we will ever face. It is the trinity of past, present, and future. Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Throughout our lives, our answers to these three questions will be in constant flux. Through them we will visit both joy and pain upon others, and upon ourselves.

The only constant is change. Some things simply change faster than others. There are things that we watch change, and others that watch us change. In every moment of our lives things will be different, and we will call it gain or loss. Perhaps it is in our nature that we should always seek to gain. Survival is our deepest instinct, and so it brings us great pleasure to ever be clawing our way upwards. Conversely, should we find ourselves slipping, we shake within our perception of loss. Perception, perception, perception.

grief, grief, Grief. How odd it is that we find ourselves so unprepared to deal with the major losses in our lives. Grief is not a concept that we are taught growing up. We see that someone is sad when they lose someone they love. When the dog dies we feel much the same, and then we get over it. We see grief, we feel grief, and then it fades away. Before we have a chance to understand it, it loosens its grip upon our throats, and we bid it good riddance. Despite our experience, we will miss the meaning. If our losses repeat themselves, we can catch on to the pattern. The first time a relationship fails it is difficult, but it becomes easier each time. We learn that the ocean is large and teeming with fish. The first time we lose a grandparent it is a hammer, but we are a little numb when the next blow falls. It is the new and different losses that we are most unprepared for. If we never understand grief, if we can only deal with the things that have already hurt us, then we will always bear the full force of the storm. If we can reflect on where we came from and we can see clearly what we are, perhaps then the path going forward will not seem so dark after all.