One day last week, I had an interesting interaction with a patient in the emergency room of the hospital I work in. I went to get him for his exam and as he took his time getting his shoes on, he said to me (not exact quote) “Don’t ever get old. I used to be able to put my shoes on in no time now it’s a task in of itself.” I said: “Well at least you have life”. Now his reply was what really got me. This 70-something-year-old man, who was an immigrant to Canada said to me, “Yes, but life is filled with deaths”.
It’s not that I’ve not heard that before – something about life being about living and dying many small deaths – but what struck me was that he was able to articulate that, to me, at his age, with his not so perfect English, at that moment in the situation that he found himself in. And he has lived some life!
That actually got me thinking about all the different situations in life we face and how dramatic we are, as human beings. Especially when it comes to the matters of the heart and love. The most intelligent, articulate, coherent, common sense person becomes irrational, dumb and frankly unable to clearly communicate a single feeling when they experience love for the first time in their life. It is one of the most powerful and one of the most important, life-changing experiences one goes through in life, in my opinion. That is when we become ‘alive’ and yet when we are also most vulnerable. It’s when we learn the most about ourselves and yet are hardly able to recognize the increased greatness of our Self which we feel during the phase when we are embracing and feeling love. It is also when we are most fearless, for love is scary to many people and too many actually shy away from IT, as an experience in its entirety.
Of course, there are different types of love and I remain a firm believer that love for Self IS, in fact, the most important love to have and experience. However, in this case, I am referring to non-platonic love that’s on a soul level – love that is inspiring, uplifting, and moves a person to the depths of their core. Love that makes you feel invincible at times but mostly one that makes you believe in love and in the beauty of the world despite all the examples portrayed on the news every day of its darkness. Love that teaches you forgiveness, willingness to sacrifice, do better and makes you grow as a person – be it you are a woman or a man.
See, often, when such a love happens to us, we recognize its beauty and importance but we (or the other person involved) may not be ready for IT (i.e. not just the feeling of love, but where love will lead – relationship etc.) for whatever reason OR it could be that circumstances are such that we may not be able to work at it. And it is then that we experience death. (Unfortunately, in some cases people do lose the person whom they love to death but that is not what I am referring to here.) We experience death of a loss of something amazing and incredible we felt for the first time in our life. I realize that sounds dramatic but if you go back and read my paragraphs in describing love, or if you’ve been through it, you’ll realize that it is dramatic and traumatic and painful and incredibly hard. No one ever tells you that love can hurt that bad or that you’ll actually have to grieve in order to let go and move on and in fact ‘get better’. But the reality is, it does happen and it is hard. There are no instructions on how to get through it the way that WE need to get through it. It’s just something that we almost get thrown into and we start to wonder how it’s possible to go from feeling something SO incredible and beautiful to being the most miserable, sad, un-motivated person in the world? And it IS because we are grieving. We are grieving for our loss.
So yes, in a way we experience death during life and it may not always be death of a love – it could be end of a friendship, or a career, or a perspective… And somehow we, as human beings, are still able to keep going, to keep moving and LIVE. It’s not an easy thing to do and love, true love that is unconditional (which in my opinion IS what true love is – unconditional) is always a part of us because when we TRULY love someone, we love them sometimes before we meet them and after we ‘lose’ them because loving someone touches us on a soul level and it becomes the energy of our soul, hence it never leaves us. Even when we let go. Even when we love again. Even when the person we love is gone and we have no communication with them nor do we know how to get in touch with them. Despite all of those deaths, we still love because it was love that inspired us to do better, to become better, to do more and because it was love which awakened us to LIFE.
I want to thank my love. I smile at your grace and am humbled to have been in your embrace.