January Lessons

See? You blink and the month’s gone! And this one has been, well, a ‘monster’ month in terms of events for me and mine.

It started out happily enough but things got pretty insane towards the end – two deaths in my family, one gruesome – a life cut short tragically; the other – from natural causes after a life well lived but still sudden and unexpected. Both these events taught me stuff – about myself, about my family and about life. Where do I begin?

Perhaps the most important lesson is “DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. NOT PEOPLE. NOT LIFE.” It’s not new this one, but Life has a way of reinforcing it, as if to make sure you never forget. I try hard to live in the present and to respect myself and the people around me, and I’m getting better at not taking things for granted – it gets easier with time. Still, getting over a punch in the solar plexus is NOT easy and I wish there was an easier way to learn some lessons. This was way too hard and I’m not done getting over it yet.

A corollary to that first Mega lesson is the knowledge that ‘I WILL SURVIVE.’ And as an extension the lesson learnt being, ‘THE HUMAN SPIRIT IS MEANT TO SURVIVE.’ It is. Truly. We survive unmentionable horrors (a brief glance through World history & our own, should be convincing enough), and I don’t mean we just get through them. I mean we get through and over them and go on to lead fulfilling lives again. Maybe not the same ones as before; but changed yet equally if not more meaningful and cherished. Yes, I have had my faith affirmed in the fact that our basic instinct and function is Survival. All this is not to say that it’s easy. Au contraire, climbing Mount Everest is easier, in a manner of speaking, but with the support of a loving family the odds are very much in our favour. I’ve always found the internal self-conflicts to be most challenging. It’s very hard to make changes when no one’s watching, when the only person affected is you. Isn’t it strange how we can change so easily for others but find it so hard to do for ourselves? Perhaps it’s generations of societal conditioning at work.

Another important lesson, ‘NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP.’ I don’t. Often I rely on my friends more than my family – especially for non-judgmental, unbiased advice. I have been blessed in my friendships! I have a strong support group of the most amazing women, who love and comfort and nurture me when I’m hurting and without whom my life would be considerably diminished. I christen it as of now – My Circle of Love’! Thank you Girls. I love you ALL. You know who you are 🙂

How about this for a lesson? ‘LISTEN. OBSERVE. COMMUNICATE.’ Losing a family member viciously the way we did taught me that I need to be more attentive to my family – to their feelings and their thoughts. I need to be actively engaged with them and ‘Listen’ when they speak, so I can hear the sadness that’s hidden by rage and the despair lurking behind the scorn. I need to be alert for signs of stress and be willing to help without being judgmental. And if and when the time arises, I must be unafraid to step on toes and push through boundaries to get them the help they need, especially when they don’t want it. None of this is easy but it has to be done if incidents like the one we’ve just suffered are to be avoided in the future. And they HAVE to be. The alternative is unacceptable.

As I write I see that none of these are lessons I haven’t been taught before. None of them are new, but all of them are crucial. Perhaps the most important of all is ‘FAITH.’ And I don’t mean the religious kind either, although if that’s your rock then so be it. I mean Faith in a broader sense – a belief that things will get better, that a crisis will resolve, that tomorrow will be a better day. Faith in the self, and in the goodness of others. It’s not easy to do when the world around you is crumbling and nothing makes sense, but then again, nothing worth fighting for is ever easy huh? Unfair? You bet! And yet to live without Faith and Hope, is the bleakest sort of life, a sorry excuse for living.

So, as this rather tumultuous beginning to the year draws to a close, here is to Better Days. Happy Days. Peaceful Days – for you and for me 🙂 Coz Lord knows we’ve earned them!

And here is one of my favourite poems…it never fails to revive my flagging spirit & seems utterly appropriate in the light of all that has come to pass 🙂

Invictus

Cheers to February! May it be Joyful!

2 thoughts on “January Lessons

  1. You and I – we think a lot alike. Hang in there. Hope floats and Faith steadies and aren’t we strong enough to handle the days – better or worse ?
    THANK YOU. Reading your post made me feel like I reconnected with an old friend.
    Love,
    Suchitra

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