Friday, September 9, 2011

We Who Must Remain

I don't know of anyone this summer that would say it's been anything less than challenging. We've all heard the old adage that God never gives us more than we can handle at any given time. I'm not sure how much God really has to do with it, to be honest. I do believe there is a much larger master plan that we are all part of, one that we may not even fully realize in this incarnation, but that does very little to assuage the relentless strife and turmoil that many of us seem to have to face so unfairly.

Within the last week, a very dear old friend lost a six-year long battle with cancer. I had reconnected with her and talked a few times over Facebook in the past years since we were both going through similar struggles with our health. I was always inspired by her undying strength, humor, and resilience during her battle, and I tried to apply those lessons, sometimes unsuccessfully, to my own plight. When she finally passed, she left behind a husband and three lovely daughters.
Three days later, another old friend lost his dear wife to cancer after a long and hard fought battle. Similar story again... same age, three sweet kids and a really solid, good example of a man were left behind.

Where in God's grand scheme does any of this make a lick of sense? I could pontificate and go on to say that they lived their lives so that we would all learn from their example, and that would certainly be true. But I guarantee that's not going to make any sense to a small child who has just lost his/her mother.

So what am I really trying to say here, if I don't have any useful advice to offer? Everything I want to say seems trite when dealing with the kinds of issues many of us have faced this summer. Just this week, so many people very close to Austin have lost everything in the horrific wildfires that are a bi-product of the unrelentingly brutal summer we've had. The upper East Coast is flooding. Our economy is screwed, jobless rates are absurd, and politicians on both sides seem to be completely lost and useless.

It's easy to think that everything that's happening is connected in one way or another. And it may be... I'm certainly not enlightened enough to make a ruling on that. It would seem our Yin has come back around to bite our Yang in the ass. But perhaps in that very model we can take some solace... it's can't always be light, and it can't always be dark. The true nature of the universe implies balance. What we're experiencing now won't last forever. Things will get better again. But right now, there's simply not much solace to be found. So, the real question must be, is is pointless to even try?

But that's really all we can do. Embrace our pain. Own our loss. Strive to find some sort of meaning out of it all that works for you on a personal level. And for God's sakes, keep helping each other! I'm overwhelmed this week by how rapidly and selflessly our community has come together to aid those who have lost so much in this week's wildfires. It's heartwarming to see so many people come to each other's aid without hesitation... they know instinctually they have to, and that they gain essential life's worth in doing so. It's addictive to help others, and it's the best kind of drug... a drug that actually helps us in a very real and tangible way for once! We simply cannot afford to lay down to life, and even more so, there's simply no excuse for it when so many opportunities to help and heal ourselves are ever-present as they are today.

Look, life is hard as hell for most people. A lot of it really sucks. But we have to keep at it, if for no other reason than the simple knowledge that we will achieve balance, and possibly even find joy, once again at some point. And when you've suffered, joy is a much sweeter gift than if you had not.

In memory of:
Laurn Boehner Schroeder
Mindy Bryant Lanoux

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