Philosophy Channeled Through Grief
I found lots of solace in knitting, great joy in getting to hang out with some of my blogland friends in mid-June, and still had to wonder how was I going to make an adequate living or pursue my own work-life passions. I have thought most of my adult life that when one door closes, another opens, and I have tried to stay receptive and open to the fact that the door might look more like a crack in the wall or a hole in the ground, and not turn aside an opportunity simply because it wasn't what I expected or how I perceived myself.
Nothing happened ... at least on the plane where I could notice.
Then, last week, my three adult children came into a crisis that has deeply touched me and made me re-examine what we do and why we live. I wrote about them losing their dear aunt unexpectedly, and lots of you wrote back with love and concern. What I didn't expect was how profound it would be for all of us to ponder what their lives would be without me. My DD is the most emotional, and grabbed me and clung to me in tears when she arrived for the holiday weekend, and I could only promise I would try hard to live a very long time. All three of them had immediately reached out to support their two cousins, also in their twenties... and I could only be thankful that I got to be 39 before losing my own mother. It has been a very sad time around the Camp.
I have been taking greater care in driving (I drive way too much per week, and have to be vigilant not to take the process for granted), have watched my diet and thought about my health, and even started weight training again. I mean it - I will be trying to stick around for them.
I have also thought a lot about the quality of the time I spend working and what it means to the quality of the time that I have left over to give my family and dear friends. I can see that my most important contribution to the world to date has been raising three compassionate, committed individuals who would reach out beyond their own awkwardness to their cousins and value their mother so much; I did something right and something powerful in that.
I have come to the conclusion that I do not want work that will keep me too busy for those I cherish, too overwhelmed to see other needs than my own job, or too tired to care. Many people I know have expressed themselves through their careers and accomplishments, but I have been much happier expressing myself through the love I could give, through being a good wife and mother, a true and loyal friend, and a creative person. Knitting, writing, photography and other passions have been my opportunity to excel in something for pure art's sake, for the simple joy of it.
Where does that leave me in paying my bills, having a nest egg so that I can work less as I age, or being able to help others, travel to meet up with friends, or even buy yarn or a new outfit? That part is still a bit murky, although I was offered additional teaching hours this week, which will kick in by August... as I say, the doors aren't big and looming, but still obscured.
I am sending these thoughts out because I believe we all should be consciously weighing the worth of our lives, while we have the chance. Make it count, in the way that matters to you.