Don’t you hate it when you lose something in your own house? You KNOW it’s there somewhere, you just had it a moment ago, or yesterday. This morning alone, I lost a notebook that I KNOW is in my home because I just used it two days ago and we are in quarantine. We go nowhere! Where could I lose it really? Looking everywhere, still can’t find it. Decide to return to the porch with a cup of coffee and as my mama used to say, “retrace my steps.”
Sitting down with the coffee, I see a letter I need to finish and reach for my pen. Of course, I forgot to bring one out on the porch. Returning inside for a pen, I do another quick scan of the studio area for the notebook – nada. Oh, there is my iPad I thought was on the porch.
Sitting back down and taking another sip of coffee, I reach for my pen, only then I remember I picked up the iPad instead. I like writing handwritten letters. They are art I want to keep alive. Not only are they beautiful memories of loved ones or lost loves, but they are often also histories, histories that would not have been known if someone hadn’t written a letter and the recipient kept the letter. Paper has no magic keyboard or voice to text (by the way, voice to text is another entire comedic moment when you are Southerner).
As the morning progresses, I keep spinning between porch and studio. No wonder I’m dizzy so much these days. As one would expect, I move much slower than when I was younger and free from vertigo. It wasn’t until vertigo developed in my middle-ages that I realized I had been a whirling dervish all of my life. No wonder I love the Sufi’s. Though, now, I can’t even look at a picture of them without getting lightheaded.
The more I think about it, no wonder my ex-wife divorced me. I say that because the swirling and twirling didn’t (and doesn’t) stop when I am in bed. Long before meeting my wife, I learned not to wear anything overlarge to bed unless I wanted to be strangled in the night by the shirt from my own tossing and turning. Entering menopause also added to the additional fun for my wife because then, I was up and down all night going to the bathroom. I should have divorced myself!
Though I did lose the love of my life as a partner, I want to say now, that the person and love are NOT lost; forever remaining in my heart, mind, and even my being. How is that? Because of how well she did love me, that love is forever part of my experience even if it is not a current experienced. We often “lose” people because each one of us is imperfect in many ways. Sometimes, we get lost to the self. Sometimes we lose each other in the business of life or the tragedy of life or the busy-ness of raising a family. The one thing we need to remember, however, is that we never lose love.
Many would argue because when we lose a loved one to death, the end of a relationship, the change in a person due to health issues, disability, or the aging process, we miss the person we knew before. Still, we never lose love because love changes us.
When I lost my marriage, and consequently my home, town, and church because I had to move, I was devastated. Then the hurt turned to anger at my ex. Those emotions and feelings are a normal part of loss and grief. Friends who hated to see me hurt and other friends who were also hurt because I had to move away, well, some of them wanted me to stay angry. At the time, I was so hurt that I wanted to stay at least miffed about it or righteous about it, even though anger is an emotion I do my best to avoid.
Living in Beech Mountain, at the edge of the forest, healing began. Life-long friends were there for me during the time of loss and grief. G-d gave me wonderful friends at my new church in Valle Crucis. Those new friends kept me singing and praying until the hurt didn’t manage me. I’ve gotten lost in pain before, and sadly, hurt others inadvertently because I was blinded by pain. In addition to the Church of the Holy Cross, High Country UCC reminded me of a host of things I was unable to embrace the last time I lived in the Boone area. Their willingness to allow me to participate as a musician and guest speaker helped heal a different part of my heart.
The same could be said of Resort Area Ministries (R.A.M.) of Boone. In the 80s, I was one of the musicians who worked in the summer singing at the resorts and campgrounds. Since returning here, the memories of my family visits returned, but none fonder than of the beauty and love learned through R.A.M. The ministry was and still is a leader in the power of Ecumenism to make a difference in a hurting world. A long article has been simmering in my heart and soul since returning here, but to summarize, they are a reminder of the thread of love in my life that has existed all my life…even when I couldn’t or didn’t necessarily see it. These beautiful people (and even more than I list) remind me that love abounds even when it is hard to see or feel in other places in our lives.
As the pain over the loss of my marriage eases, and I have run out of things (so I think) to apologize for on my part of the marriage’s failure, guess what remains? LOVE. Though my situations in life have changed time and again – more than I ever wanted – the one thing NEVER lost is love.
How can I say that? Because love is not a feeling. The warm cozy feelings are only one of the many bonuses of love. Feelings are only one facet of the brilliant and dynamic gem of love. When you love, or when you allow someone to love you, love changes you. I wish I could define how love changes you but that would put a limit on love, wouldn’t it? Also, love is a different experience for each of us.
I want to say that the love of which I speak is never bitter, or angry. Yet, as human beings, we remain human even when we love. That’s one of the most amazing things, that these frail bodies, minds, spirits, can contain all of that love. The love of which I speak is that love that causes – no – MOVES us to love one another – even those who are different than us. Even those who are difficult to be around, and yes, even those who have hurt us in the past.
That love is a way of being and that love is Divine. Yet, from my blessed experience, it is also grounded in humanity, animals, and nature. That love dwells in me in the depth of my soul and that love will always be with me. That love can never be taken away from me or lost because it is a deep well. When I love another or someone loves me, that well only fills to overflowing.
Clearly, I even lost my train of thought when I wrote this. As I return to it, glad of heart, I wonder where I put that notebook.