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Sing to each other a deeper song

Dear Editor:

“Where one thing ends, another begins.”

That’s really what it’s all about if you think about it. And, things always end, not to be a doomsayer, but that’s just the way it is, the human condition, as we know it anyway.

This message is coming through loudly lately. And, I suppose it is coming through clearly, too, although it is hard to hear and difficult to make the pieces fit. That annoying voice keeps saying, “Maybe there is something else, something I missed, something so important that if I could just understand then life would be forever changed, forever better.”

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I lost my own father recently. It has been an agonizing experience, and I can now say that I am trying really, really hard to accept it for what it is. Losing him has forced me to accept my mortality, and I don’t like it one bit.

Also, I am feeling like an underachiever. He did so much more than I have done in my life, and I am halfway through by all physical measures. But, it is not really about that, is it? Loss ultimately shows us that there are just some points in life we cannot fully understand, and that is OK. But, they sure are sharp, and they sure do hurt.

Be kind. We are all doing the best we can. Life is never easy. Otherwise, it would bear no significance.

Loss opens the door to a better understanding of everything, but the process is fraught with obstacles, which, when faced head on, can blind with fear and overwhelm with intensity. The impact death brings is paralyzing to those of us who remain among the living, as we relive the happy moments over and over again in our minds and try to make some sort of sense out of it all. But, this is the good in it, too, for understanding brings acceptance through strength and courage. And, acceptance leads to surrender, not surrender to death, but a surrender and a connection to the possibilities yet before us which only life can bring.

The truth of the matter lies in the fact that there is only so much we can humanly fathom. The rest is trusting in the great mystery of life, where it came from in the first place and where it is going. We are a blip on the screen. We can only do so much while we are here. Why is this so difficult? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Maybe we expect too much? Maybe because the cultures of our world celebrate great feats? From the Greeks, we celebrate Olympians, for example, as close to the gods and goddesses one can attain.

But, I have to say that I think we have lost sight of what achievement means. It means to do something, anything, successfully. Myriads of meanings come to mind: immense laughter, a song that brings you to tears, a child’s first steps or words, making someone else smile, simplicity in all forms, natural beauty and resources, and our responsibility in honoring and protecting what we have been given to survive, serendipity, affecting someone else in a positive way, healthy food in creating healthy bodies and minds, and in feeling the promise of a new day.

These all factor into achieving greatness. Actually, achievement and greatness are very realistic and possible on a human scale. I fear that all too many have given up on achieving some semblance of greatness in their lives. We’ve grown weary.

We’ve been knocked down again and again, maybe one too many times. It is easier not to get up. It is easier not to strive for the good or even to see it sometimes.

But, if we dig deep into the human condition, into the very guts and sinew of existence, we can challenge that notion. Get up and do whatever you have to do to find your way. Weep, feel the pain, feel the love, feel it to the very core of your being. Let it fester there deep within you and wring your very soul inside out.

These are growing pains, and they will try to shut you down before they set you free.

They will try to frighten you, bind you and defeat you, before any human being can ever understand achievement or accept that things end and others begin again. This is the way it has always been. And, it is no different now.

Maybe the idea that we all have a dawning and a twilight, and that somewhere in between we have a song to sing, that in itself marks achievement. Look at recent events. Look at the natural devastation around the world, and at the lives lost in Haiti. Look at all the orphaned children. Look at the human costs of war.

Look at the loss of an Olympian on the very first day of the much anticipated and celebrated games. Look at the financial ruin and desperation that surrounds us. Finally, and most importantly, clearly look at the fear in each other’s eyes, and sing to each other a deeper song, a song that brings us together in celebration of simply being alive in body and in spirit.

Therein shines the greatness that sparks all kinds of unexpected success; past, present and future.

Molly Brooks

Aspen


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