Aging, youth, love and just getting through the day
I don’t mind aging for myself, nor do I find the growing physical changes all that worrisome. Though, I am amazed how when younger I took the lightness that my body had for granted. I could do handstands and other exercises that would take a great deal of balance as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. I could do a handstand for a few minutes without breaking a sweat, or a headstand etc. Pushups, no problem. Well, things are not what they used to be. Reminds me of the old song “The old grey mare, ain’t what she used to be”. Well, that goes for me, at least on a physical level. I guess if I tried some of the exercises I did as a much younger man, I would have to go to the ER. I laugh when I think about it. Yet inside, I am still young or feel young, in fact, I think in some ways I feel younger now than ever…..no matter what I see in the mirror looking back. A bald man, with a long beard, more white than any other color…..yeah I am fine with that.
It is a different matter when it comes to people I love. I don’t want them to age, or get sick or die. It is somewhat self-centered I know, for it is impossible to stop the progression of our lives. I have lost many people in my life. The usual of course that is common to all of us. Letting go seems to be one of the biggest and perhaps hardest lessons to learn…..that I am not permanent, or all that important and when I die, the world will continue as before.
I am learning how important it is to be simply in one place at a time. So I try not to worry about my ever diminishing future, or to become obsessive over the past. Then there are the ‘drunken monkey thoughts’ that seem to always want to make an entrance. When I can focus and be present to whatever is before me, no matter what, I appreciated whatever it is. The saying “all things pass” is a consolation to me. The chaotic moments and the sad ones and the tragic situations all pass as do the good times. It is good, for the journey continues and one day, yes it will stop.
There is a lot of color in my life, and I would imagine in the lives of all of us. The journey can seem long, until I think about the past and then it all seems dream like (though real of course). It is just that I can’t hold onto anything. It is madness I believe to try to hold on, but I believe we are all a little bit ‘insane’, or perhaps I am a little more so than others.
I do believe that my heart and the hearts of all men, women, and children are actual tabernacles where the Lord dwells. We are all Eucharist for one another if we seek to grow in self-love, and in the love of others, and especially most important and foremost the love of God. People are beautiful if I can see them in the naked moment, just experience them and try not to change or to label. It can be hard for our raw humanity is a mixed bag, but deep down underneath, hidden from view, grace is at work and I believe that how we treat one another or ignore one another has a profound effect on our growing into loving compassionate beings.
So I will soon be a year older, though it seems like a week older, time moves so fast. So in the end what do I take with me when I die, cease to exist as far as this world goes. I believe that we take with us our love of God and others, everything is burned away by God’s infinite love and grace. When we stand before infinite love I believe all of our defenses will melt and our inner hearts will break open and then all the sorrow and pain, all of our sins will pour out in tears of regret and contrition. For I believe that beneath my anger and fear and anxiety is simply a deep ocean of sorrow, that all of humanity has.
Our life is a mixed bag, though beautiful. Some suffer much more than others, though we all suffer, perhaps more than we know. Repression can be a good thing, for then we can push our pain down and live one day at a time. Those who can’t, which is many of us, seek to self-medicate, which from my perspective, always fails.
Food is my way of self-medicating and I am still working on that. I do better at certain times, but then I forget my dependence on God and seek to fill my inner hunger with french-fries, or pastries and coffee, and it always disappoints. For that I am thankful. For as I age, I am finding that God is winning the wrestling match with me…..a pure grace of God. I believe it is the same for all of us. When I read the New Testament, I am overwhelmed by the love that Jesus shows the weak and despised, the downtrodden and forgotten. I believe that most of us fall into that group to some degree, even if it can be hidden from others.
It is easy to understand Justice from the human standpoint, or revenge, or torture, and easy to put that on God. Justice and mercy are separate for the most part in human thinking, but with God, they are one. I am learning that I can’t judge myself, so how can I judge another at the soul level. It is none of my business, but loving others, as the Lord commands, is my business. I fail, but I live in hope, my body is getting older and weaker, my pains are growing, yet I am joyful in my knowledge of Jesus Christ. I am also at peace that Jesus is God, the Infinite, so he is at work in all souls, I have no right to limit that by pulling certain quotes from the bible so I can judge others. I am not a loving complete being unto myself. I am inner conflict and chaos without God’s saving grace. So I pray to love others, all others, and most importantly, I seek to love myself as Jesus commands. At our death, when our hearts break open we will be overwhelmed with the reality that the love we experience has always been there. Yes, it sounds too good to be true and many doubt or reject such a reality, which I understand. For I hope against hope, and trust in spite of everything else. Why should I allow bitterness and cynicism to win, it is the easy way out, to simply sink and drown. No, my faith says, keep on hoping, loving and being open to the reality that God uses all of us to reach others and heal them. To love oneself is the seed that allows grace to do its full work in us and in others.