Friday, July 29, 2005

a living funeral

Today my soul is filled with both sorrow and joy. I am saddened and disappointed
in some people who I once considered friends. I am saddened by the meanness and
unforgiveness and judgmental nature of so many people. It is everywhere, and it breaks my heart. I even got annoyed at reading about how people wrote F*CK Lance Armstrong on the sidewalk at the Tour de France. I mean, give the guy a break. Why would anyone wish meanness on another person? Because he is winning? Because he is a survivor and has an amazing story and beautiful kids and a fiery determined spirit? Well, yea unfortunately some people don't like it when people are doing well. Call me naive but I long for a world where people are accepting and open and able to express their truth and still be accepted or at least not condemned. Life is not black and white, there are shades of gray.

I feel joy to know that I have so many good friends who are not like that. As far as I'm concerned it is impossible to lose a true friend. If someone ever was a friend, they will always be one. If someone can get offended so much that they walk away and won't even come to the table to talk about things, then they never were true. My life motto is represented in Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote about success (on my website) and one line is that success includes enduring the betrayal of false friends, and I have been there.

On the other hand, I deeply care about all those who have touched my life and continue to touch my life through their friendship! I feel lonely at times that I can't be surrounded by all those who love me and whom I love. I wish sometimes I could gather everyone from all over the globe - all my friends from Australia to Oregon to Alaska to California and New Jersey and Florida and here in Texas and everywhere in between - in a room and we could all have one big party and talk about all the things we love about one another. Why do we have to wait until our funeral to have all those who love us gather together.

One day I think I'd like to do what Morrie Schwarz (of "Tuesdays with Morrie") did and have a living funeral - a party where all one's dear ones gather and say all the things they love about the person. In the absence of that - for now - I like to gather together nice uplifting things my friends have said in emails and print them out together and I read them when I'm feeling down. I'm trying to make a collage with everyone's photos so I can have something with all my friends pictures and uplifting things they've said that show they love me.

Loneliness is a regular companion although I can keep her at a distance because I keep myself so busy. I have done some fun things with friends this week and truly enjoyed them. However when I get quiet there is just always this sadness tugging at my heart.

Lately I have come to hear in my heart the scripture that "my grace is sufficient for you" and have to trust in this. I do believe it's true. The loneliness and melancholy is almost beautiful sometimes. To cry and express fear and loneliness and sadness can be cathartic and a part of the whole human experience and not something to hide from - as long as it doesn't become a dwelling place.

As Henri Nouwen wrote in The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, one must circle around one's abyss without falling in. Nouwen is the greatest spiritual writer I've ever read. Just a truly amazing man. He was a Catholic priest, writer, and man of great love and depth. He spent a lot of his life taking care of the extremely physically and mentally handicapped at L'Arche Daybreak Center. As the website says, "Henri Nouwen spent his life helping people respond to the universal 'yearning for love, unity, and communion that doesn’t go away' Is it possible to touch and taste the love of God? How can we live a spiritual life that embraces the pain and suffering of our lives and in the world, and gives us the freedom to love deeply wherever we are?."

Now that's what I'm searching for.

PS The photo of me canoeing is on Buffalo Bayou, photo courtesy of Don Keeline, my paddle partner that I proceeded to dump in the bayou at the end of the journey - whoops! My typical Bridget Jones style!

PSS I posted this and then thought some more. As I often do these days it came to me to think that if I hate a trait in others, where is that trait manifested in my own life? I hate meanness in people, so where have I been mean? And I started to cry to know that even very recently I have said things to people I love that hurt them, that even if I don't intend them that way they are mean. It doesn't necessarily matter my intent if it comes across in a way that hurts. This is an act of self-sabotage. And the lyrics of an Alanis song came to me, "How soon will I be holy?" (Baba from her 2nd album SFIJ) and that made my cry some more. I think I'll go listen to it now.

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