Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Truth Remains: Lessons I've Learned

In August 2007, just three months after John died, I composed the following and sent it out as an email. I came across it the other day when I was cleaning out some computer files. Nearly three years later, it still holds true for me, so I thought I'd give it some air and share it again. It seemed appropriate for a sunny Sunday at the Church of the Wayward Gypsy. So, without further ado...

Lessons I've Learned

  • Blood is thicker than any water under the bridge.
  • Family does not necessarily involve DNA. 
  • Crying is good. Laughter is better and more healing. Nothing beats a friend with whom you are free to share both... at once. 
  • Creativity, whatever avenue it takes, will take you outside of yourself.
  • Hard work is a balm for the wounded soul.
  • There's absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional shot (or three) of tequila… as long as it's good tequila… as long as there are friends about… and limes.
  • Allow yourself to feel everything. You won't know what ecstatic feels like without the depths of despair to compare to.
  • Never underestimate the power of a phone call.
  • There are hugs and that's always nice. So hug a lot. And then there are the kind of hugs that leave you knowing you've been held, and knowing that everything really will be alright someday - even if, at the moment, you're crying your eyes out in the pouring rain.
  • Every day, you make differences in lives that you may never know about, but someone will remember. Try to make it a good thing.
  • Real love and real friendship are absolutely, indisputably unconditional and unending.
  • A good bottle of well-aged red can, on taste alone (never mind the quantity), soothe the soul... but it must be shared to do so.
  • Listen.
  • Wishing may not make it so, but wanting it badly enough can sometimes make it happen.
  • Don't ask people if they are okay. If you ask that question you are either a) being completely unobservant, or b) fearful of asking direct questions about what you have observed. Be constructive, not obtuse.
  • Beautiful and wondrous moments are found even in the very worst of times.
  • If you see a need, don't ask, "How can I help?" Just reach out and do your best to meet the need.
  • You don't always have to look on the bright side. Sometimes bumping about in the dark is actually required.
  • When someone's loved one dies, don't tell them they need to "find closure" or "get on with life" or "get over it." There is no such thing. It's like telling someone who's lost a limb the same things. It's a ridiculous suggestion. They may learn to accept the loss of the limb, they may adjust to it, but the absence of that limb will always be a presence in their life. Nature abhors a vacuum.
  • Take every opportunity to remind people you love that you love them. It's nice to hear, and equally nice to say. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "You never know how soon will be too late."
  • Animals will let you be whoever you want or need to be. They know the secret to the word unconditional. Get a pet.
  • There really, truly is no time like the present.
  • Just live and love.
  • Cigars aren't half bad.

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