Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mirror, mirror on the wall......

I wake up sometimes and simply don't recognize my landscape any longer. Just when I had learned who peers back at me from the mirror every morning, strange happenings began obscuring that image and then started to make silly faces behind my back, startling me out of my new-found complacency.  Who would have believed we still have so much to learn at this stage of life?

I guess that's my purpose here, though. To alert all of you, especially my younger readers and friends, about what might lie ahead for you, too. All these surprises have been  a huge shock to my system, so I'm passing the lessons on to you. No charge, of course.

A few years ago I finally looked into that mirror, square on, and admitted that daily face-to-face contact with a partner doesn't work for me. It just doesn't. And I had embraced that reality, at first with some trepidation, and then I threw my arms around it with joy. I was free!

I had my work, my dance lessons, and my friends. A life lived with fullness and gratitude, one that fit me exquisitely. The quiet aloneness that once oppressed me enveloped me instead, hugging me with comfort and beauty, my time my own to fill or not, no questions to answer about timetables or destinations.

It worked for me and I loved it.

But many of us, whether paired or not, are facing a new challenge, one that didn't penetrate our awareness with any reality until it was our reality. Human that we are, we think it will never happen to us. Until it does.

My parents were inseparable. And then my dad's mind slowly fractured, piece by piece, until his essence was simply.....gone. His body continued to occupy the recliner in their living room, but he truly was not there. Finally, his body gave up, too, and my mother--his partner for nearly 70 years--was alone for the first time in her life. Ever.

What to do?

But you know, don't you? Doing the right thing in life tests us, challenges our comfortable reality, forces us to straighten our spine and then adjust that mirror to a new angle.

Maybe the lesson is to enjoy that reflection every morning of our lives. Accept where we are and be grateful that we are anywhere at all. And then be ready to tilt that mirror at a moment's notice.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson

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