Life’s less gentle tides, all these flowing, sometimes crushing rides send us whirlwind spinning and yet, love. Love secures, sustains when all thought of explanation is a whimper in dark refrain. And somehow, in the roughest slam against some hard, craggy shelter, we are held together. By love.
The picture below is one taken of my children a handful of years ago. We were visiting Sunset Beach, NC for a memorial service at low tide. The metamorphosis of my children’s sweet lives in such a short stretch of time, their growth and resulting loss is palpable at times. It can seem strange to see it as such but growth is a loss, on many levels. It is an exchanging of one way of being in the world for a new way or a revised way of being. The need to hold to something constant while going through these changes is, at times, all-consuming. I see it in my youngest’s struggle with divorce, watching his siblings go from fun playful pals to serious, teenage individuals who want their own space. It’s plenty to deal with and all while growing a new phase of his own, unfolding into the pre-teen years.
And he does it with awareness, the double-edged sword of clarity and recognition of what he’s losing in order to gain something he doesn’t even know yet or trust. Without my interference or prompting, he sees. And I find myself reflecting on adulthood and on how so many never really get to that level of maturity beyond the inevitably obvious chronological advancement. The fear of life itself seizes us at some point, fear of the loss created by growth, by awareness, by commitment to choices, by accepting our greatness and our frailties and all the resulting responsibilities. And accountability. And possible accidents. And maybe even death. We, for all our adult constructs, can quickly find ourselves whispering… “Wait, take me back to the time under the pier when it was all so simple and ashes washed away in the tide, the idea of a life gone somehow muted in the sound of hypnotic waves. All is well…”
The first 4 “sentences” of this blog post were originally written for my dear friend, Kate. These words are my heart response to an onslaught of hurtful reminders of why it’s all so precious. She has faced death after death this past year and kept her heart open. We’re growing together in our friendship and in business, learning what we have to lose in order to make dreams come to life. And what we aren’t willing to lose. And what we can’t control, when others’ lives fade away. Growth requires awareness, objectivity, rational acceptance and commitment. And this is true at any age. But more so as we age and feel the urgency of life’s demands.
What strikes me through it all, through birth and death, in the midst of growth from being cute cuddly kids to sometimes awkward teens to “adults” to mature individuals is how deeply we need truth and courage in order to grow in a love that is real. Not some sentimental fluff hoping to hide. How do we get there? To that place of courage? We get there by believing in our best, by trusting life to toss us around a bit and teach us what we’re made of and why we cry when we lose what is so deeply precious to us. We get there by embracing our greatness and all the responsibility that goes with it. We get there by not pretending we’ve arrived at some height of enlightenment exempt from frailty or flaws. There’s no arrival. Just this clinging as we go and letting go as we must, affirming love as we allow life to shape us…