Monday, October 3, 2011

Five By

Five years will go by anyway...
~John P. Johnson

That was one of John's favorite sayings. He hauled it out whenever hard times hit, when someone wronged him, when life surprised him.

And so it has. Five years has gone by anyway. Five years ago it was obvious that he was becoming more ill by the day. Five years ago we heard two of the most vile words known to man. Cancer. Inoperable.

Five years ago, amid the deepest, darkest part of my life to date, I couldn't possibly have imagined that my life would become the shining thing that it is now. Five years ago I was certain that John's death would leave me emotionally crippled for life. Five years ago I saw a long line of boring desk jobs in my future, of coming home to an empty house, of basically riding it all out until it was my turn to die.

And five years went by anyway. Five years of self-discovery. Five years of doing what I had to in order to keep my promises to John - promises to be a woman of honor, to live well, and to find love again. Five years of not really planning anything in my life. Five years of just getting through.

Although I lived every minute of it, at this point in my life, it's almost difficult for me to relate to where I was five years ago. Remembering those days feels a bit like watching another person's home movies. I've done a lot of living since.

Five years later, I've thrived. Five years down the road, I've found love in an individual completely equal to my own love. I no longer sit in front of a desk wishing I felt good about my work. Instead I'm doing work that I feel good about, work that no longer defines who I am, but that allows me to define my world.

Five years went by anyway, as it would have no matter what I'd chosen to do with it. I've learned to not make plans, not make demands and wager expectations with my life. That sounds passive, but it's not that so much as knowing that no matter what I do, life will (regardless) surprise me, both in good ways and not so good ways. The best I can do is live it, enjoy it, appreciate it for what it is, and give myself over to each day.

Today I have love, freedom, happiness. Today I'm an artist. Today I have shelter, food, clothing, and lights. Today it's all good. It's beyond good. It's wonderful.

And I will grasp that in my hands and hold tight to it.

Because five years will go by anyway.