Monday, August 9, 2010

Loss and Spiritual Quest

The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeing new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.

~ Marcel Proust ~

After the death of my mother and ex-husband, I felt abandoned. The mystery of life itself possessed me. One late afternoon, I cut a lily from a plant once preened by my mother. It's slick stem, broad venous white petal, and deep yellow stamen enraptured me. While slipping it into a water filled vase, I was struck by the inexplicable. This lily plant, formerly nutured by my mother, had outlived her. How could that be?

I traveled the old haunts my ex and I once rollicked. Sand that had seeped between our toes and swept against our faces continued to rearrange itself in the shifting currents of the beach breezes. That sand now grated against my skin.

While driving throughout the city of my childhood, the grayness of familiar concrete streets stretched out before me, a solid reminder that life ultimately betrays us. Jaunts we frequented still stood upright. But he remained a shadow in my mind. This promise of life appeared so hollow.

Late one night, while walking along the boardwalk , a cold breeze pressed against my cheeks. As the union of my mother and father’s flesh encased me, my path was lit by the soft reflection of the sun upon an otherwised darkened moon. The contrast of these bodies was ominous. Looking out upon the water that night, I reconciled with the inequity of my existence. I was determined to defy death’s separation. Although the presence of those I loved had darkened, I would serve as a source of light. I would invite my mother and ex into my new life. Not morbidly but in a comfortng way. I would live life for three.

Spirituality was another area I wanted to explore in retirement. Yet I struggled to add entries to this column. It would have to remain open. As a child I was raised in a fundamental religious household. Like all children, I was a literalist. I accepted the teachings of my childhood at face value. As I grew, so did my awareness of  the vastness of other religions. The inconsistencies of  mine began to haunt me. I do crave a spiritual community. So far I have not found one. I would have to be content with the act of exploring rather than arriving.
Carl Jung’s observation rings true…
The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.

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