I’m lucky. This morning I got to sit on an isolated beach and watch the sunrise. It was the perfect opportunity to take an inward look, to take stock.
A Rabbi friend taught that one way to do this is to hold what he calls a “Convening of the Ministers. “ In your mind’s eye you sit at the head of a long table and invite your Ministers to take a seat…your Ministers of Childhood, Finance, Dreams, Broken Dreams, Aspirations, etc. You never know who is going to turn up at these meetings in your mind with its various selves. (I’m not alone here, right?) Then you ask them for the state of the union. That’s where it gets interesting because like it or not, each of the ministers has something to say be it a complaint, a question or a celebratory hurrah.
This morning and maybe because we’re at the year’s end, my Minister of Loss took the floor. The list he (Yes, “he”. Don’t know why but it’s a he.) sited was long….went back to my first memory of loss: my red tricycle and the resulting copious tears over its rusted carcass at the age of three. Next up was an early childhood little red tray, a favorite sweater. Moving forward, my home town when I moved away, my virginity, my love, six miscarriages, the bulk at the time of my monies, a few dreams, a few more dreams, my parents, three treasured friends to untimely deaths, one to betrayal, another love, the passage of empty nest. How ever they present, we’ve each had them.
“Not in all but in most cases something else has, in time, filled the void created by those losses” the Minister of Love (also at the table) responded. Sitting at the head of the table. I had to agree.
In the place of the miscarriages, the pride and sacred joy in my life, my son. Also my two grown, thriving and soulful stepchildren. In the place of the first lost love, wisdom. (The second lost love is a work in progress.) Filling that impossible void of empty nest has been different and extraordinary joys. The day I left my son at college I literally thought I would die. Suddenly after 19 years of being on the inside track of this being’s life, driving away from his dorm at midnight Sept 1, 2014 that ride was over. To my amazement I didn’t actually die. A kind of phoenix force continues to evolve out of the absence that is made up of the great joys of seeing him negotiate his world. There is his beautiful girlfriend and the qualities she extols of grace, grounded-ness, beauty and love. There is her wonderful family, now, a part of mine. There is his excitement over a new challenge…each of these moments is filled with meaning, the kind borne only of the deepest roots. The work of time. Enough of my losses have evolved into gains that for the most part I believe that those that have yet to evolve into gain, will. Some good is yet to be, yet to come, some branches from a painful pruning season have yet to sprout but sprout they will.
So, I’m lucky. There will be new losses…but new gains too. Here comes the new and the new year. Blessings to you and yours toward all good gains.