Flying home after a visit with my son in South Carolina last week, I pondered how life had changed in just the past year. In addition to a longtime grounding from flying, there was now no more diving, severely limited driving, no more talks or presentations, and even negotiating the doldrums of air travel solo had become problematic. Parkinson’s previously gradual backsliding has noticeably accelerated, leading me to question the viability of an unvital life.
My primary reason for continuing to endure life’s now often tediously boring bell jar is my children. As long as they remain solidly in my identity, then, perhaps, I might fashion a degree of guidance for them. Besides, even though I will never witness how things turn out—no one ever does, as the “end” tends to usher in the “new” just as quickly—my curiosity remains strong. I do enjoy watching the impermanence of life’s stage.
Two sayings come to mind. I’ve always appreciated Frederick Nietzsche’s writing but had considered one of his most famous pieces trite. “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” reverberates with careless meaning, a strength-for-strength’s sake, might-makes-right dead-end deal.
“Shit happens” (author unknown) was more my style with its shared blessing of tacit acceptance.
The mind’s realization that “life is as life is” offers little comfort to depleting animation. To recognize the same from the heart, however, is to surrender to agape’s warm embrace, to welcome the falling tears of gentle reserve. Departing the bastion of reason for environs of infinite universality, the distance between the two perspectives, it seems, is only to be bridged—at least by me—through patient persistence, and then only temporarily.
My goal? Fortitude through patience and unflappable calm in the face of shit happening: what could go wrong? Surely nothing that the occasional smile can’t remedy…😊