06 May 2015

The Challenge Of Feeling Safe

When I was young I was under the impression that when a person reached about 30 maybe 35, after having spent a reasonable amount of time in the adult world,  they magically had everything figured out. Life became more of an autopilot situation now that they were mature enough to have learned how everything worked.

Sadly when I got to the world of adulthood and had spend a reasonable amount of time there I realized this was anything but the case. Then I looked at my friends in their 50s and 60s and thought, "Well, they have it figured out. They are pretty wise."

But then as I enjoyed a wonderful friendship with a grand mentor who was about 60 years old, I realized she had more things to worry and stress about that I had at my age. By that time she has long had a husband to worry about and then she added children then grandchildren. That was a lot of people to care for and worry about. Not that she was a big worrier but when you have so many people under your hen wings, that's a lot of directions where sadness, pain and suffering can come from.

Sometimes it's the hard-headedness of one's spouse or the decisions of their children. Other times it is sickness and death.  Jobs are lost, wars come and go, financial downturns seems to come from nowhere.

And when we're young we have so little experience with the broad spectrum of life's pains that we live in ignorant bliss. Now as I continue to get older, more and more of life's pains and sufferings have touched people I love, my family and friends - and me. Women and men I know have lost children and spouses, sometimes even suddenly without warning. I've watched people lose their homes, lose contact with their kids, suffer broken hearts and broken souls.

Our little family has suffered our own struggles and heartbreaks and it seems the more one gets acquainted with these pains of life, the less safe one feels. I think the great sadness of aging is that you learn that nothing is safe and yet you grow to the position where despite knowing this, you end up in the shoes of being the one to be the shelter and safety for all those that come behind you.

Despite all the terrible things you've seen in the world, you sing a peaceful lullaby to your little one and tell them repeatedly that "everything will be okay". You continue to say "Be safe out there" despite the fact that you know it is not always safe out there. You say "See you tonight" knowing that there are others whose loved ones will not come home that day.

And how do we live on in such a world? I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Not in a sad, morbid way, but asking myself how will I find joy in life and continue down this path, knowing more and more of life's sadnesses. I suppose part of it has to be with closely acquainting oneself with life's joys, great and small. Yet, that does not seem enough. One must make peace with loss, grief and sadness.

I guess I do that, perhaps even on a daily basis, but it's been on my mind. Perhaps I find peace in Christ's atonement, that it heals me and the world from the pains. But my mind still toys with the daily realities. What will life be like when my parents are no longer here and I can't call home when things go badly? How will I feel when I am too old to live alone or can't walk on my own? How am I going to find grace in these things? I hope there is enough grace to fill in all that void.

How do we get up and keep going. How do we wake up again in the morning and continue to march forward. There must be something biological in it, that like animals woken from hibernation, draws us from our beds, from loss, from sadness and brings us back into the sun to shine another day.

I do know that I want to walk this path in grace and wisdom. I don't want to lose, I don't want to suffer, I don't want to grieve. Surely I've done plenty of it for lost loved ones, lost opportunities, lost hopes and dreams. But life is tests and trials along with the joys and beautiful sunrises. 

I've been feeling like life is very tender lately. Perhaps it is all the traveling and being in different, far off places for so many nights lately. Maybe it's because I have been away from my most important people and so many dear friends. It could be due to the fact that we am not fully settled in the new life still after a few months.

Somehow I am certain that all this emotion comes from feeling deep gratitude for all that I have. I am having a lot of  impactful opportunities to really appreciate my life, family, friends, career and opportunities so much in this moment.

Do you think about these things? What do you do when you feel the tenderness and fragility of life so frequently welling up in your throat. I'm not sad, or down. Not upset, depressed or fretting. I'm just thinking about how precious life is on a pretty regular basis lately. What do you do when you are in such a phase? I assume it will pass in some way soon which will be a bit of a relief. All this love and gratitude is a little heavy to bear sometimes. (big, warm, love-filled smile).

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