“To be bitter is to attribute intent and personality to the formless, infinite, unchanging and unchangeable void. We drift on a chartless, resistless sea. Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest..”
― H.P. Lovecraft
Tonight a few friends gathered around on my neighbor’s deck. A soft breeze blew keeping the bugs at bay. A truly pleasant evening on an early summer night. We talked about little things, but usually by the end of the evening the conversation eventually turns spiritual (or, at least, philosophical).
One of my neighbor’s friends recounted the story about abruptly losing her dog due to a congenital heart condition. The dog passed quickly at a very young age. This woman never got over the loss. As I listened to her words and watched her actions her anger glowed. Yes, she loved her present dog. No, he wasn’t at all like the dog that passed. Yes, she felt a stronger connection to the animal that passed. No, she felt God had robbed her big time. If and when she went to heaven she planned to demand an answer as she asked God why God stole her happiness The bitterness. The anger. The tension in her voice might have at one time bothered the hell out of me. Tonight’s not one of those nights.
Tonight I gained another sense of clarity about my purpose on earth (maybe it applies to everyone, maybe not), but the lesson for me boiled down to this. In this life I have lost loved ones and animals under different circumstances, either abruptly or over time. There’s hurt associated with love. That’s a no-brainer. I believe the challenge, the purpose, the moral of my human story lies deep within my heart. Even though this thing called “loss” occurred can I rise to love again? Can I open my heart through the 7 stages of grief that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described, or have I shut down only to wallow in something that feels dark and helpless?
Lately, I know what it feels like to say “screw it”. No matter what it all goes for naught. As I felt empathy and compassion for this woman I found myself saying, “I do not want to become this woman. I do not want to live the rest of my life living under an umbrella of anger…resentment… close-mindedness.” In other words, I saw myself dressed in anger and heard myself recount her exact words.
I don’t believe God put me on this earth to come this far onlyll to reach the conclusion that I’ve exhausted my capacity to love. Not at this age. No way. Through it all I know with absolute clarity that love and strength go hand in hand, like a candle. My flame might dim. It might be bounced around by the wind, but it’s still there and shines bright as long as my heart stays strong.
And in my eyes I knew I learned a valuable lesson.