After you have been hanging out here on earth more than seven decades you likely have a fairly impressive collection of experiences. Some you might be willing and/or eager to share, others you might wish to forget ever happened. Regardless, we come to the final chapters of our story as the sum total of who and what we are because of what we have done, or not done, opportunities seized or missed, best and worst paths taken. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Ultimately, we all have our moments we are proud of and just as many that we regret. We can not go back and relive or change any of them though. We can only remember. And learn.
In this strange time, as we ease into the holiday season that is an intrinsic part of our culture, many more than usual, this year, are faced with having to make do or do without. Many are forced to be separated from loved ones. Many can’t even afford to buy normal food, let alone the special ingredients that make up our traditional feasts.
Who can argue that 2020 has been tough from beginning to end?
In my life, because I’ve been around the block a few times, I can say that I’ve had my share of both good and bad holidays. Times when the best of the best happened and times when things were not so happy, when either loved ones were far away or I had next to nothing extra to buy even basic supplies. Thinking back, I truly cannot recall any specific ‘perfect’ holiday, the good ones seem to all fade together into one lovely warm blurry memory like a video collage of laughing faces, controlled chaos and delicious unfettered joy.
I can, however, distinctly recall, in full detail, the tough ones. Maybe it’s because I’ve been blessed to have more good ones than bad ones, or maybe it’s because it was the tough ones, the sad, painful ones that added more onto me than the happy ones did. This, naturally, is not something one can parse except in hindsight.
But since we are indeed the sum total of all that we experience, within the strange condition known as being human, surprisingly it is the challenges and tests of endurance that grow us up, strengthen and fortify us, and prepare us for the rigors of real life. It is a harsh truth that real life happens more than the special times we carve out and set aside. The joyful times are certainly important in a balanced life but it is those times that try us that beef up our meddle, that we are likely to remember more, especially if we gave it our best and endured to meet the day after.
In retrospect, when we look back at having held up, withstood and endured instead of succumbing to the emotions of the moment, we find we will likely have an experience worth sharing. A time to be proud of. Something with which to inspire someone else.
… a moment in time we can say added well to the sum total of how brave, forward-thinking and purposeful we are.
You are not alone. May this give you peace.