"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today." - James Dean
"If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: 'He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.'" - Epictetus
"I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything."
- Steven Wright
Dad and I had a complicated relationship from the beginning. It was a product of the times, and of two very different temperaments. Recently when I read that brain scans show activity in the pleasure centers of bullies when they are torturing their victims, I found myself reflecting on Dad and on my upbringing. Immediately I felt guilty. . . but still . . .
He never intended to be "challenging." He kept a roof over our heads. He didn't ever understand the effect he was having. Going out on my own helped me to grow up and to follow my path . . . but still. . .
A few years ago he & Mom moved to O`ahu from the Big Island. I was glad and looked forward (finally!) to having relaxed times with them in their old age. Everything quickly became a negotiation. They mean well . . . but still . . .
They both are key parts of my identity, some parts I've had to outgrow, and some I cherish. A few weeks ago, Dad started talking about being the last of his circle of childhood buddies. All gone except the last of the Mohicans. He reached his 82nd birthday and started talking about "when he goes." Probably he already felt the signs. Soon we all noticed that he was weakening and losing weight. He's had health scares before, but bounced back. I guess I stupidly always thought there'd be time to laugh together . . . but still . . .
I was at his place when the Phillies won the World Series. It was one thing we could share happiness about.
The WWII veteran was also overjoyed when Barack won the White House; something else we share.
I knew that he had cancer. I've been a hospice volunteer and know the signs when they come in, still talking about "when I get better." . . . but still . . .
A fellow blogger, Bubble Wench, recently posted an honest "cri de cour," a cry from her heart, about all the challenges that she's carrying right now. Rather than be turned-off, or taking the opportunity to feel better about myself, I was moved by her honesty & courage. Judging by her comments forum, many others felt the same. She isn't a whiner - she's courageous . . . and human. Today deciding whether I had it in me to post more than pictures & quotes I thought of my web friend Bubble Wench and decided to risk sharing my heart with you this day.
You see, at One O'clock, Dad & Mom will be at the doctors office hearing the results of a million scans and tests. I already know what they will say: "Very little time for my Dad to really see me, and for us to really commune from our hearts." Tomorrow I'll resume posting about King Kalakaua's 172nd birthday (on Sunday), rhapsodising about the healing skies and drumming of the surf . . .but first, I want to leave you with a passage by a wise woman. I dedicate it to you, my web-friends, and fellow wounded healers.
“Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred…Fundamentally, helping, fixing, and service are ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of service, we are all connected. All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy…Service goes beyond expertise. Service is another way of life. Service is a relationship between equals…In helping, we may find a sense of satisfaction; in serving, we have an experience of gratitude… When we serve, we discover that life is holy…Service is closer to generosity than it is to duty…Over the long run, fixing and helping are draining but service is renewing. When you serve, your work itself will sustain you, renew you, and bless you, often over many years.”
- Rachel Naomi Remen, from her book, 'My Grandfather’s Blessings'
Aloha Nui to YOU all!