“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”-John Lennon
I will admit to you all, since we are so close, that my ‘faith’ has been challenged in recent weeks. Many times in my life, I feel like I can understand (at least generally) why people are the way they are. I include myself in this. We all have basic needs, and spend much of our time trying to communicate, and fulfill, these basic needs. Lately, though, even with all of my experience, research, and time spent with the ‘why’ question, my own behavior seemed to be taking a different turn altogether-and I could not understand what was happening.
I had a friend who passed away this year, and a mixture of basic denial and sorrow had been brewing for some time. I have cried many times, and even found moments of peace with the situation-resting on the completely gorgeous life she lived, and feeling so grateful to have been a part of it. This is the natural course of things, I realize. However, I would rarely stay in this place.
I would say out loud how sad I was, and that I was okay with her passing-but was I really?
I started to become concerned whenever I didn’t hear back from someone I reached out to. I would worry, if my partner wasn’t home on time, that something terrible had happened.
I became increasingly anxious, and began to have more erratic thoughts. These thoughts were not always to do with fear of loss. Sometimes they were just panicked solutions to ease the feeling I was in, like packing a lot of activity into my day to distract myself, or eating ice cream to soothe myself. However (as you might guess) the solutions did not change much about the core issue.
I decided to ‘go behind the picture’ as Wadude taught us-or you could say, go behind my immediate experience. Begin where I am, and slowly-without judgement-witness where my thoughts would take me. This was not always a clear path, of course. Sometimes it felt like my ‘pictures’ had their own defenses, and would create tangents constantly. I would tire, and go back to my automatic response system, try again later.
The more I did this, though, the less tangents there were. What felt like authentic moments of vulnerability would enter those spaces. My motivation shifted from interrogation to curiosity. My heart began to hold more of the process, instead of my head.
Then finally this past weekend, I saw it clearly. I went behind the picture, and there was only Love waiting for me. Love for my friend, love for her family, love for all of us moving so tenderly through scary parts of life. I felt held in this feeling that we are all visitors here, and the reason we are here is to love-not to fix, not to change anybody, not to “rage against the dying of the light” or feel secure. Our job is to love, and once that was able to emerge it became all I could see.