Messy package is life
Life is funny and difficult and wrapped up in one messily garlanded package. It will stay that way for the most part, for things, or let’s say people will not fall into neatly lined up categories or stereotypes. Being a caregiver is a good way to learn about that reality. In everyday life a lot can be covered over by a smile, by the surface projection of capability etc. However inside, no matter how nicely appointed we seek to make the package look, inside, well, it can be very messy and at times painful to behold. The inner world is a wondrous place, filled with light and joy, sorrow, pain, love and obsessions, yes a very interesting and dangerous place.
There are some who don’t see this measureless inner world, but for many such folks, if they do indeed have “issues”, or “inner demons” that are out of their sight, it is not so for those around them regrettably. The same goes for me. I have had good friends who have tried to get me in touch with an aspect of myself that absolutely drives them crazy and to their chagrin I did not get it. I was and am totally blind to aspects of myself that seem to leak out all over the place. The fact that different friends have different things to tell me only means that there is a lot about myself that I have no idea about.
We read each other pretty well much of the time, but reading ourselves is a bit more difficult. I do have “inner demons”, they won’t get out of my face, but over the years they have become more or less like children who need attention, to be seen and listened to, but not believed nor suppressed. It can be tricky, but as I age things seem to be a bit easier, though the word ‘easy’ is not quite what I mean. I am not sure for anyone who wants to be a decent human being finds life easy. There are too many times during each day when small choices have to be made that have long range ramifications. Yes one choice at a time, getting up one more time, not even giving despair the time of day, though that is voice I have to deal with a lot. Though ‘despair’ is the voice of fear of someone inside of me very young, who believes that perfection is actually something good, when in fact, well, God spare us from perfect people. For they are often perfect asses, but don’t know it. I have been that from time to time and no doubt will be there in the future. I do have a smug side for sure; it comes to the surface when I am out of touch with myself.
Again it is all about language and how we use it on ourselves (self talk) or towards others. Language can be a sword, sharp and painful, keeping others off balance and at bay, or it can build bridges based on empathy and compassion for self, the natural overflow from self knowledge toward others. Many people laugh at this way of thinking, well that is until they become the proverbial fly that hits the windshield.
I believe in grace, have experienced it and know of its pure giftedness from God, or as St. Paul puts it, from “The Father of all comfort”. Knowing that grace, love, and God’s loving gaze is always present, makes it a little easier to go within, to the inner zoo and not be afraid, since Jesus is already in each cage waiting for me to enter and discuss as well as to experience all the pain and anguish that goes with healing and self knowledge.
Being a caregiver, being with others when older and ill and often near death, gives an ever deeper perspective to this reality of inner growth, self acceptance and God’s grace that allows it all to happen. People in this situation are very good, as well as very bad, often in rapid succession. They are simply themselves, which is good, and I have to deal with it, either with compassion, which works, or seeking to control, which only gives me a headache and does not work, ever.
I have spoken of failure; well there is plenty of that and plenty of getting up over and over again. Having talks and letting those I take care of know that I am very human and from time to time I may come across a tad varnished, or deeply flawed. They understand, since they are on the same road of self discovery, of God’s mercy and of letting go of the fear that keeps this inner acceptance from happening, these little interludes bring us closer….at least for a time to each other. Short term memory can be quite a challenge though.
Life is to be lived; I believe that the inner world, the world of grace and of the soul, is just as important to a well balanced life as the other aspects of being human. It is never a waste of time to seek self understanding, so as to be able to understand others better. It is also well worth it to develop a loving relationship with the transcendent, for me that is Christ Jesus who is the revelation of the Father and the giver of the Holy Spirit….all one… Trinity.