Sunday, January 4, 2009

Starting Out, Still Here

We have all heard that “May you live in interesting times” is an old Chinese curse. If that is true, we are all cursed these days.
Of course in my universe we are also all blessed. For example – I put a plea for a flower girl dress, size 6-8, on Vashon Freecycle yesterday. Several women replied with offers of a dress. These are my sisters, most of whom I have not met, but when I put that request out there, they responded warmly and generously. Thank you, thank you all.
So our granddaughter will be the flower girl, dressed in flower girl style, at our goddaughter’s wedding this Saturday.
It’s an interesting time to start married life, when the market’s down and the cost of living is up, but what better time to be young and enthusiastic and ready to take on the task of making your way in the world?
Here at the other end of life, I was deeply worried about how my husband and I would be able to retire in a few years, but for some reason when the market crashed my spirits picked up – apparently I love a challenge, because that’s how I’m seeing it now. A lot of us will be facing this challenge together.
Here at the other end of life, we have experienced many losses. People we loved: parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends – gone. Our health and mobility: chipped away by inches in accidents and arthritis or chronic illness, or all at once in a diagnosis of cancer or some other life-threatening illness. Bam! Your world is now completely different from what you expected.
The money goes, the good health, the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We are betrayed, and we betray others, both of which take a toll on our hearts. The dance of sexuality goes on, but some of us, with gratitude, say, OK, I’m sitting this one out.
Eventually all the striving and hoping and fighting and despairing and loving and hating runs down. Eventually our own mortality cannot be ignored any more. That’s if we’ve been fortunate enough to live so long – some people die before they’ve had time to ponder the fact of their own death.
So you reach this point and look around, and son of a gun, you’re still here. Read it out loud: “I’m still here!” Say it again: “I’m still here.” If you can say that, if you can think that, the party isn’t over, and the music is still playing.
I’m planning to rise to the challenges of these interesting times with the relish of anticipation. Oh boy – another puzzle to solve, another dilemma to work through.
For now I am rising to the challenge of seeing our goddaughter married. This is as close as I’ve come to planning a wedding. When my husband and I married, the priest said, “Getting married is a lot of trouble.” Boy, he said a mouthful.
As challenges go, this is definitely one of the happy ones. Right now, two days before the big day, things are pretty frantic. In about 48 hours, the frenzy will stop, the ceremony will begin, and all details that haven’t been covered will fall away, as the bride’s cousin plays the processional on ukulele and her father escorts her down the aisle of the Burton Church.
Blessings to you, Mr. and Mrs. Baskin. May you live long and happily, may you grow in love and wisdom, may sorrow not linger at your door. May you rise together to the challenges of all your interesting times. Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great writing! Thanks for putting a smile on my face and for helping me to stop the worry.