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October 2009


Endings can break your heart.  Last episodes of your favorite television show.  Last dinner in your favorite restaurant.  Last day of class.  Last look at someone you love.  We are built to be resilient.  We have incredible fortitude but in the very center of this amazing spirit ... we are tender and fragile.  We build walls to protect that gentle speck of Divinity that continues to glow despite all odds, but at the close of the day ... endings can break your heart.

Sunrise or sunset?  Depends on the direction you've chosen to face.

In the last month I've had to say too many Good byes.  I watch the leaves turn and feel the chill in the night air and marvel at how we continue to breathe, continue to watch for beauty in moments, continue to extend our hand to someone more desperate. 

There was a time that I might have considered the walls I've built to be inappropriate or callous.  I thought that perhaps they were keeping me from being as loving and compassionate as I want to be.  Today, I realize that those walls keep us strong.  They give us something to lean into when the winds blow cold and harsh. 

If we're not careful, we will spend too much time looking back.  Looking back not with that smile of accomplishment or memories of Christmas mornings or with immense gratitude for those we've loved and shared time with... but with regret and remorse or guilt or shame.  Then again, we might spend too much time looking forward with anticipation or anxiety... with day planners or day runners or overextended calendars.  We look forward with cell phones and i phones and black berries and commutes.  We lament that we have no free days and life is moving too quickly. 

The truth is that looking back with anything other than that warm glow of happiness makes no sense at all.  We can't change one second of it, and looking ahead at what might never be is equally as pointless.  We have this moment.  This moment will be tomorrow's past and tomorrow will never be more than the promise of another today.  It's hard to remember that this is what we have and if we hold it tight... we'll be okay regardless of the rest of it. 

Don't misunderstand... I haven''t gotten it yet.  I still have a calendar with too many days full of expectations and obligations and promises yet to keep.  I have a sink full of dirty dishes and the vacuum is waiting for me to return to the task at hand.  My clutter is migrating and propagating as we speak and if I let it ... it will completely overwhelm me and I'll be forced back into the recliner and reruns of old depressing episodes of ER.

I'm hoping that by admitting all of this... putting it in writing, I'll free some space in my tender spots for simple appreciation, and the realization that the song has it right... what is it... Every ending is just another new beginnings end?   It's just that in the moment of the ending of anything, the human self we embody feels a loss and can't always grasp that life is waiting to rush in and fill any void with a new promise.  So let's just hold on to one another and when an ending creates that inevitable void... we'll pull each other close ... and watch with as much patience as we can muster.  We'll be still and feel the moment grow larger and slow to a gentle wander and we'll really see the smile, hear the sigh, feel the touch and say thank you ...  for one more moment!