The alarm rings and I make a choice: have a productive day or wallow in a sinkhole of despair. It’s a surprisingly difficult choice!
Arlene is at the office seeing an early client and the bedroom is dark and the house is eerily silent. I’m alone. Which is okay. But a sense of loneliness gnaws at the fringe.
I’ve got the blues.
I am supposed to be the shining example of how to face aging with grace. With a brisk step and a ready smile I demonstrate how an octogenarian ‘cheats death’ and finds joy and meaning in the years that remain. But this morning, I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to just ‘let go;’ life is too difficult, I’m useless, there’s no hope for the future, my thigh is throbbing from a recurring bout of neuropathy, my hip feels like a knife is stuck in the joint and my vision is annoyingly blurry from the un-repairable rippled retina in my right eye.
In the short term I know what lies ahead. Breakfast, the newspaper, finishing the crossword puzzle, breakfast dishes in the washer, making the bed… and then? What will I do with myself for the rest of the day? And who cares?
The reality is, nobody listens to me; the organizations I volunteer for are toothless, the causes I believe in are under siege and anger is welling up where love once prevailed. What’s the point! Why go on kidding myself into thinking that I can make a difference in a world where demagoguery is spreading, and an unprincipled pathological liar is president of a divided nation.
I close the blinds and flop back on my bed drowning in a tsunami of sadness. I feel paralyzed. Dark, troubling thoughts cross my mind.
The monkey mind has crept into my bed! Of all the guidelines for spiritual maturity, taming the mind is the most difficult. And this morning it is leaping about, a banshee unleashed.
In the still morning, my defenses are down and I am most vulnerable. All the anger, frustration and umbrage that I avoid during the day are front and center, possessing me. Why resist? I surrender to the warmth of the quilt and drown.
I lay still and listen. I need to nurture myself. I’m in no rush. Slowly I detach from my negative frame of mind. The dark clouds do not dissipate completely but they float in an otherwise blue sky. I observe them as part of the harmonic flow of life.
I’m not denying my feelings. To be candid, I can make an argument that suggests there is no point; that it might be easier to pack it in rather than deal with the inevitable limitations of the years to come.
But for now, that’s a philosophical argument that will help me when the time comes and I need some courage to say goodbye with dignity.
But for now, in the short term I know what lies ahead. Breakfast, the newspaper, finishing the crossword puzzle, breakfast dishes in the washer, making the bed… and then… whatever life brings!
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