Friday, October 21, 2011
Faces of our Lives
When I was pregnant with Matt in January 1983, my maternal grandfather lay dying. On that very same day, my cousin's wife was having a baby girl. I remember the conversation going on long distance over the phone, with the family at Paw-Paw's bedside encouraging him to hold on, that he was getting a great-granddaughter any minute. Paw-Paw died, and Hope was born into the world. One went out, one came in. Sorrow and Happiness holding hands.
Every time I am grieving, a part of me realizes that others are happy at the same time that I am sad. I may be heading to a funeral while others are going to a wedding. I may be struggling with despair while others just down the street are celebrating remission of cancer. Conversely, I may be enjoying watching my grandson play while others are hearing the news that their son has died overseas.
This yin and yang of life has always fascinated me - and one interpretation of yin and yang is that "their interaction is thought to maintain the harmony of the universe and to influence everything within it." It brings to mind lyrics from that old song "Love and Marriage" - "Try, try, try to separate them, it's an illusion....You can't have one without the other."
We just got a new Border Collie puppy and named her Lily. I took her to work on Tuesday to show her off. She charmed everyone; who doesn't like a puppy? On Wednesday morning, I found out that my supervisor's dog had been accidentally run over and killed the evening of that visit, and another co-worker had to take her beloved terminally ill pet in to be put down that very day. A new pet coming in, two pets going out. And life goes on.
I think my happiness and contentment will forever be a little tempered by the knowledge that others are simultaneously suffering, and too, in my times of tears and sadness, I need to remember that there is still joy and happiness in the world coexisting with my pain. As humans, we are connected in that way. We grieve with each other, and we celebrate with each other. Sometimes that makes life hard. Sometimes, though, it makes life bearable.