Posted by: innerpilgrimage | July 26, 2011

And I Think to Myself, What a Wonderful World

      The person I was supposed to meet for lunch today couldn’t make it because a close friend is dying this week of cancer. He’s there, in hospital, with his friend and his friend’s family–where he should be.

      With permission to visit the website (I really don’t like intruding on people’s personal affairs any more), I went there. I am grateful for the blessing of tears over this. It’s painful that not only does this person’s friend share the name of the boy I crushed on for a decade, but he’s dying of cancer, too. It’s a different cancer, and it’s taking him much faster than the guy I was obsessed over in High School, but it’s still painful.
      My grief is changing, though. Being a strong believer in continued consciousness (it comes with the territory for me as I work the 12-Step spiritual program), I am not sad for the guy who’s dying. He’s moving on through the door, going back to an energy-only form of pure awareness and love. No pain, no punishment. Love and reunion with Unity, with the Universe.
      I feel so much pain for those left behind, and my tears are for them. The empathetic sense of losing all of that time we assume we have with someone we care about is jarring and feels so unfair. Death, as David Richo wrote, is the only fair thing out there. We all do it, and it is the great equalizer. Nothing of this world travels with us, save for the love we inspired. But it doesn’t change that the people still puttering around in form want him around longer, want to have birthday parties and anniversaries and weddings and graduations with him in attendance. Want to hear his laughter, watch that special way he does certain things, hear his voice, see his compassionate soul through his eyes when they speak to him about the problems weighing them down.
      No, I don’t know the guy. I just know that the potential exists in us all, and when we surrender to our greatest life-affirming self? These things are a constant in the human social experience.
      I am thinking about the boy I was obsessed over, how sad I am that I never got to transition the romantic obsession into a friendly love without the weird fantasy of being Mrs. Jess His-Last-Name . . . which I practiced in spiral bound binders just like so many girls do, before ripping it out and throwing it away. I dreamed of a first kiss with my romantic obsession. And I struggle to break through fear to make this painful admission: The romantic obsession that lasted a decade came after a first romantic obsession that lasted a few months. I was dreamy-eyed at 12 years old over the man who is currently in a hospital coming to terms with losing another age peer. He was friends with my decade-long adolescent romantic obsession, and he was the one who told me when I was seventeen that my romantic obsession had cancer. I remember the day. We had gone to look at venues for our graduation ceremony with the rest of the class. I rode in his car on that rainy day, the skies dark and pouring heavy rains like it always did during late winter and early spring. He and I visited a mutual friend who had graduated the year before–she was attending the local state college. Both of them, together, confirmed the awful truth–my romantic obsession was, indeed, dying of cancer.
      I did what I did best in a stress-filled situation: I ran away. Not physically, but emotionally. I denied, I disbelieved. I made choices which drove me farther and farther from the fantasy I had built over the young man. I turned to food to replace the coming loss, built a fortress of flesh between me and the world. And, the weekend my first husband walked out and I finally felt ready to talk to my romantic obsession? He left the pain of his corporeal form and transitioned into his consciousness form.
      I remember my mother telling me that one of my or my sister’s classmates had died as I waited for her to rescue me from my life. And I asked her, using the romantic obsession’s name, if he was who had died. She said yes. I learned when he had died afterward, in a mailing from my High School. And I grieved for the biggest dream of my adolescent life as it turned to so much smoke in my cupped hands.
      Despite having him as a romantic obsession (enough that both my spouses shared his blond-and-blue-eyed phenotype), I learned to love. It took time. Actually it took just over a decade after he died and I divorced my first spouse to realize that he had inspired me to love. As I faced off with divorce from my second spouse (addiction played a huge part in that), I realized I had fallen in love with him. And I realized that the man who was gone had subtly inspired me to learn to love.
      That’s why the title seems so jarring with this story. It isn’t, however.
      See, this isn’t the end of happiness, the end of life for those of us left behind. We may not feel it for a long time, or we may feel it fleeting during those first few weeks and months when we turn to speak to a person who is not with us in body any more. We do remember those who have transitioned with love and joy, eventually. We remember the good things, the times we’d laugh so hard that tears would come. The times we spent in quiet repose, looking at them and knowing that person inspired us to become better people.
      They give us a gift in life, and they give us the same gift when they have to leave their bodies to continue their spiritual journey in a different form. When we are inspired to take on their better qualities? They stay alive through us. When we remember those good times? They inspire us to create joyful events and situations with the people in our lives (and with new people). Even though they are not currently with us in body and mind, they live through us and the generations after us–simply because we change having known them.
      What a wonderful world, that we are given the gift of evolving and growing because of the love people give us. That we blossom and send out the seeds of hope and strength because of those who have scattered their love around us so we can become the greatest self possible. In the grand scheme of things, out of all of the possibilities that were manifested from nothingness . . . we were given the opportunity to be born. We were given life and the ability to be touched by the lives of others so deeply that they live eternally in us, as us.
      That because of them, we can begin to see ourselves as part of the whole. That we can wake up from the dream that we are alone. We’re not, and every time one of us smiles in remembrance of a habit we picked up from a friend (I stutter sometimes, something I picked up from a friend’s brother–who became a friend of mine–when I was a senior in High School; I never stuttered before then), every time when we think back on an event which that person was involved in and recreate one to share with those in our lives today, every time we tell someone a story about that person which exposes the greater qualities of the spirit? We are unified, we are humbled, and we are purposed.
      I will never know this man in form, but I will meet him some day . . . when I finally come face-to-face again with the man who is standing in his hospital room trying to stay strong for his dying friend’s family. I will meet him, and I will reunite with the young man who died so long ago. I will meet every person who affected the life of the man I graduated with in High School, and I will take on their greater qualities through him.
      And I am humbled, thankful, grateful that I am part of such an amazing Universe.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food and approval/”love” addict and anorexic. And I am feeling hope in recovery again, because I am seeing how I turn toward a life of recovery instead of hiding from life more and more every day . . . even if what I believe makes people roll their eyes and think I’m wacky or nuts because I believe that death is just a transition. Though it doesn’t matter, I find I’m in good company thinking this–after reading up on quantum physics, I’m finding that what I believe has the scientific basis I longed to find when I started on my philosophical journey. I may not understand it well, but I have a layman’s tentative grasp on what’s been presented in the field of quantum research.


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