Is there something I long to do? What would I like to try if I only needed to try it?
I am currently depressed. I am currently in a long “dark night.” I know the deep, deep love of Jesus. I had a nearly idyllic childhood. I experienced years of sexual abuse, but even during that time, I experienced many blessings in other parts of my life. I had the great gift of wonderful parents. I enjoyed a marvelous and extensive education. I’ve traveled. I’ve known the profound joy of serving others in a variety of ways. I love my family and I know I am loved by them. I have had some lovely and nourishing relationships with some great mentors. I could continue on with my list of how I have lived a full life.
But that’s part of my current struggle. Already at 40, I had felt I had lived a glorious life and it would be okay with me if I left this earth for Heaven asap. Then around age 45 or 47 (depending on how I would define this chapter of my life), I started experiencing death and loss. I had experienced abuse, hardship, loss, the death of loved-ones, sorrow, heartbreak, etc. throughout my life prior to middle-age, but in my mid-forties, I began to experience perimenopause and a series of many losses, an onslaught of losses actually. That season of loss has continued until age 57. I once listed for myself all my losses. There were over 40. I quit counting. That’s on an average one loss every three months. My heart just can’t keep up with that pace of suffering. I’m just not cut out for that.
And yet, it would seem I really am. I’m still here. My heart still breaks. I’m not entirely numb. I feel the sorrows of others. I hurt for the world’s injustices. Meanwhile, I am fairly numb to my own heart, my own soul, my own sense of self. I just don’t WANT to feel anymore. I want a break from grief. I want a break from the awareness that surely there will always be more (and more and more?) loss, for the rest of my life. Until I die.
And yet, I can’t manage to appreciate much light relief. I long for meaning. I always have. I always will. That’s the warp and woof of my being: to seek meaning.
But here’s the thing: I’ve mostly found it. I’ve mostly known and embraced the meaning of life: love. Love God, love self, love others, love being. Being. That’s the main thing. Accept being, breathe, and when fitting, give and receive love. (For me “Love” = Wholeness, Truth, Beauty, Communion-with-God-which-enables-and-empowers-me-to-love-self-and-others.)
How dare I say I’ve found “the” meaning of life? Like there’s only one? Well, for me, I’ve found that while life is complex and full of wondrous variety and surprisingly co-existent contradictions and paradox, the meaning of life is very simple: Be. Like James Taylor sang: “the meaning of life is enjoying the ride.”
Being is Good.
That’s my Credo.
But there’s SO much freedom in that. And given that I’ve already explored many challenges, met many goals, contributed good in the world; given that I’ve already justified my existence (if that’s necessary), I now need to choose to keep going, to keep being, to keep doing something creative with this time-space-energy I’ve been given.
And I don’t know what’s really worth doing.
What Being (and even Loving) currently boils down to for me is this: I have the time and opportunity to do lots of ordinary little things, (lots of things that pretty much bore me!):
- sort the clutter in my house
- organize whatever I decide to keep
- clean house
- do daily dishes
- continue to relate with my current context
- fix broken stuff around the house
- Et Cetera
Most of my adult life I have had the luxury of being able to justify spending most of my time teaching, practicing, performing, doing church/ music ministry, i.e. using my gifts in lots of great ways, but none of them domestic! I haven’t cultivated domestic skills in myself. I haven’t developed an appreciation for doing the daily tasks that are just so very daily.
Someone asked me recently if there is something I long to do. It’s such a gracious question. It’s so lovely to be invited to dream. Truth is, I really feel most of my dreams have been fulfilled and the rest have dried up. It’s hard to dream forward when I’m overwhelmed with grief. Also, my tender little thread of Longing-to-Long-for-something-worthwhile secretly just wants to write. I just want to think about my experiences and write about them. But it’s hard for me to see sufficient purposefulness in this because it would really be “just” for me.
It’s also difficult for me to write. I thought it would help me process my grief, which in some ways it does, but it also makes some wounds fresh again. It takes more energy than I thought it would to remember, process, and work to heal more deeply.
That’s really the point: to heal more deeply.
Yes, there is something I long to do.
I long to become whole.
I think some older, wiser souls might tell me I’m only now ready to embrace “the meaning of life;” I’m only now ready to live. When one is ready to live, just for the sake of living, that’s when your authentic life begins. At least, I’ve heard that idea celebrated by some I admire. But my Life-View is such that Everything Belongs, everything contributes to what Is. So, I’m sure I’ve never “arrived;” I don’t have or expect to have any great epiphany that others don’t also have…
Today, my growth is simply my willingness to admit all this, freely, possibly to others, that is – if anyone is reading this.
PS – I started this post nine months ago. It took me nine months to admit the only thing I really long to do is to become whole. I guess that’s okay.