Monday, August 2

Birth, life, death. Repeat.

I read through my morning pages (I follow the Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron) from last October to March of this year. I started writing them again when I took a long longed-for beach holiday last year and felt myself relaxing only to have the thought of work cross my mind. When I realised I had 5 days till I had to return to work, I started to cry - right there on the beach. I got myself together, got a notebook and started writing that moment. I could not go back to work without an exit plan in mind. I could not go back to a situation where I felt so vulnerable without some strategies to protect my fragile sense of self.

A recurring theme in all of my writing was how tired/exhausted/sick I was. Last week I finally heeded that plea from myself and I just decided to expect less from myself for a little while. I turned down the job, got to work on sorting out the apartment for a couple more months and decided to take a mini-vacation and rest when I needed to rest. Its been 5 days now. I started reading novels, dozed off, got up to eat something (with fruit and vegetables wherever possible) and went back to reading, napped, had a bath, and went to bed.

I need this time to heal.

And while I’ve stopped, I've just been marvelling at the wheel of life that just keeps turning (didn’t John Lennon sing that?) I learned that a friend and fellow seminarian who is 3 years younger than I am is now a widow. Her husband died in February after a 2 year struggle with cancer. It made me cry to hear that she has suffered the anguishing loss of her love so soon. Saturday, another friend called me to tell me that her father has bowel cancer. I had suspected as much when I heard the symptoms and when I tried to send a healing. She is just 30 and I thought, this is the threshold of real adulthood now. I know the pain she is going through. I crossed that threshold when my mother died when I was 23. Then, I got an email from a friend that told me her boyfriend's ex-wife had died at 39. Cause of death as yet unknown.

I recal my grandmother’s wisdom when one of her kids/grandkids was tempted to feel sorry for herself: ‘There’s always someone worse off than you.’

A friend asked me ‘Why is all this happening to me? Why me?’ I was frank. ‘Why not you?’ Tragedy, loss, suffering. None of it is personal. And none of us gets out of this life without a fair good helping of it. You can pray and pray but things don’t always turn out as you’ve wished. I believe that God answers all prayers, but sometimes the answer is ‘No.’

I don't think everyone has to have a faith in God. For those who don't, science, the Tao or the theory of chaos can be a fit paradigm. For those who do choose to have faith, the way I see it, you either surrender to God or you don’t. Either you believe in a higher force that created and powers the universe and has an intelligence that we cannot comprehend, or you don’t. Sitting in the middle and hoping for a magical God that acts like Santa Claus by taking your wish list and delivering your wishes – well – that’s really a faith in our own supremecy and a belief that we can control that ‘God’. Somehow I don’t think trying to control ‘God’ is going to work.

Everyone’s suffering is unique and deserves compassion. And yet nobody is unique in suffering.

Amongst all this grief, a friend's sister had a baby boy this morning at 6:30 am. Hallelujah! Welcome to the world, young one.

Birth, life, death. Repeat.
Photos: 1. Florida sunset taken by me on a Canon digital pocket camera; 2. Inukshuk in English Bay taken by me or Paulus, Vancouver.


Claire said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, sweetheart. I hope you can feel supported at this time and let your grief be what it needs to be. Thinking of you. And I love this post, all the original post - it was beautiful.


The Lone Beader® said...

I am confused about Addendum 2.

Pink said...

Claire - thank you. I had accepted a friend invitation on facebook from the woman I knew as his wife.

When I looked at her profile, it said 'widow'. I naturally assumed he was dead.

I sent her a condolence email to find that he wasn't dead at all. She had just written that on her profile.

I've emailed him now - I think there were some things I realised I haven't said - some nice things he might like to hear. I had the chance to think he was dead for several hours so that I'd know what I would regret. I'm not going to let this chance pass.

False alarm on Oliver but thank you so much for your loving words.


Pink said...

Beadie - sorry I re-wrote it. Hope its clear now. He's not dead. Just a bitter ex-wife. I wonder how many other friends may have seen that profile and thought they lost him.

Ur-spo said...

That sounds like a lot of up-and-down moods in one day. I thought your post was a thoughtful and beautiful one.

Pink said...

Spo - it was a complete roller coaster and one that I didn't need. Again, I'm thinking I'm glad I'm not either one of them.

I really do not like to see acrimonious splits where there are children involved. I try to be practical and I counsel others to be practical - drop the animosity, drop the projections and just deal with the matter at hand - what is best for the children in this case.

I was surprised by the things that came up for me when I thought he was dead. And I feel I've been given a gift by having him 'brought back to life' so that I can actually say the things that perhaps I left unsaid and should be said.

At the end of the day...I bought a pizza and a massive beer and just tried to chill out and process the feelings I had.

I had a call from the ex-wife to clarify and it wasn't until well into the call that I realised there was likely another agenda in operation.

That made me feel dirty somehow.

Anyway - today is a new day and the sun is shining. I think I'll go outside and try to write some of this in morning pages.


foam said...

can't believe the wife would put widowed. i would have thought the same way. a much better alternative is to put as a relationship status if things are bumpy and you want to share that fact: complicated. i think that's actually kind of humorous and for many right on.

i remember a comment a german uncle made years ago: life is hard .. and it just keeps getting harder ..

puerileuwaite said...

So ... how about them Mets?

Pink said...

foam - I'm not sure he knows. I'm going to have a skype with him on Friday. Should be interesting.

Whats the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?

A pessimist says: "It can't get worse than this"

An optimist says: "It can always get worse than this"



Pink said...


It seems appropriate that a dog would like the Mets. Cuz the mets are puppy poo!

Yankees all the way!



Helene said...

Your addendum's made me think of the old saying when God closes a door he opens a window... Thankfully Oliver isnt dead and though his marriage is, it will enable you to reconnect... and who knows where that will lead your friendship!

I particularly liked the line you wrote ;"Everyone’s suffering is unique and deserves compassion. And yet nobody is unique in suffering."

I am not a religious person, though I am spiritual. I am often taken aback by how many people selectively believe in God or worship/pray only when something bad happens. Then they call to God to fix the problems... I should think that if you believe enough to expect God can and will answer your prayers that you need to be firm in your belief and in your regular worshiping. Though all that is from a self proclaimed non worshipper! So I think I should just shut up now! lol

PS I am sorry for your losses...

Pink said...

Helene - thank you for your compassionate message. I've not actually suffered the loss of a loved one...these are happening to friends of mine.

I'm not sure that I agree with you on the necessity for regular worship. But then, I don't believe in a punitive petulant and narcissistic 'God' that gets pissed off when you don't show up to church. Some people, however, would disagree with me. my probably better than religious anyway!