Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Buddhist plate tectonics

I screwed up the Sudoku in the newspaper this morning. It’s midweek so the challenge level is just midrange so I should have solved it easily. Here’s the newsflash—I didn’t care. I tossed the newspaper with the error-ridden puzzle in the recycling bin and said, “Oh, well.” Normally I would have been pissed. I would have poured myself another cup of coffee, started erasing my answers, and worked at it until I had it right. But not today—there has been some silent shift in the plate tectonics in my brain. Maybe it happened when I turned 66 a few weeks ago. Maybe it’s a residual mellowing out from being in Telluride for two weeks. Maybe it’s just maturity.

There’s no longer anything I want to be when I grow up. I think I can consider myself pretty much grown up by now. I’m not rushing to accomplish anything. I know I’m not going to have an illustrious career or make a ton of money or win a Nobel Prize in economics, physics, or peace. I’ve written a book and I have the germ of an idea for another book. The first book never got published and the second may never get written. I might never really overcome my swimming phobia so completing a triathlon has fallen off the “bucket list.” Actually the bucket list doesn’t even exist. My obituary is going to be really boring.

There is such freedom from accepting the fact that I no longer really want anything with any level of intensity, little lust in my heart. I am just being, settling into being with much more serenity than I expected.

I’ve learned that nothing stays the same. If it’s too hot outside, just wait a few months and it will become too cold. If I’m angry and hurt by someone, with time either that person will be out of my life or the wound will begin to heal. I’ve seen a lot of heartbreak. I’ve been betrayed, lost jobs, worried myself sick about financial woes, and lived through the deaths of people I loved. Yet I’m still here—I survived what I didn’t think I could survive.

Time is the only thing left in life. How much time only God knows. I’m planning to savor that time being content just being. Am I beginning to sound like a Buddhist?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Faith changes lives

Here’s an example of how faith changes lives.
Many years ago—46 years ago this week, to be exact—I married the man I thought was going to be the love of my life. For a variety of reasons it didn’t work out that way and now he is gone. Not just gone in terms of him leaving the marriage, but he has been dead for a long time.
So recently the wonders of long-term marriage and the sadness of my lack of it have been weighing heavy on my heart. Today at church it seemed like every couple there was holding hands. There were clusters of families sitting together. And I, the solo old lady of the group, was sitting by myself in the corner.
I’ve gone through this before—the image of myself achingly alone in a sea of loving couples. I know it’s a warped image of reality, but every single person I know goes through it from time to time. This morning the image stung and I started feeling sorry for myself. Normally the feeling would have stayed with me for days and I might have cried all the way home from church. But today was different. We were singing songs of praise to God and I just felt Him with me and I realized that my aloneness is not an accident. Where life has taken me is God’s design. He has me exactly where He wants me, for some reason that I may not completely understand. I don’t understand His plan but I trust it. It’s okay that it’s not what I expected my life to be. It’s still grace and I thank Him for being there.