Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lightly My Darling

For a few months now, I’ve been trying to understand a way to articulate how I feel myself transforming. In the days after my Dad’s sudden death, I was in survival mode. In a matter of six days I wrote his obituary, helped plan his funeral, sang at that funeral, traveled 1200 miles, attended play rehearsals, finished semester grades at work, and opened a community theater show in which I was the leading actress. The next nine days had me finishing the last of six shows, driving four hours to Rhode Island and back for my daughter’s college orientation, and cleaning the kitchen in preparation of a new countertop installation we had previously scheduled. The next month would bring a little rest before I went to care for my Mom for two weeks, but I found myself painting kitchen cabinets too. I knew I had to keep moving.

Looking back, and also acknowledging the assorted challenges the autumn months have brought, I see that as hard as it has been to feel the loss of my Dad, I have done more than survive these past five months. I have learned to walk lightly. This does not mean I don’t hurt at times. This does not mean I don’t care about serious matters. Of course I do. But I have grown to approach life differently, with deeper breaths, with God’s grace, with increased peace, and with an overall healthier perspective. Our time here can be spent stomping heavily upon the Earth--being argumentative, cynical, snappy, crabby, fearful, bitter, or angry--OR--our time can be spent working to better understand others, lending a hand, taking time to listen, seeing the good and the beautiful, breathing deeply, and exhaling in prayer and appreciation. 


It’s dark because you are trying too hard. 
Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. 
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days...
Lightly, lightly--it’s the best advice ever given me...
So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, 
sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.

That’s why you must walk so lightly. 
Lightly my darling.

---Aldous Huxley, Island

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