Friday, November 23, 2007
If some of life's moments pass by me as ordinary, almost forgettable, others stand out, made special because of tradition or their own uniqueness. These moments are often infused with a healthy dose of bittersweet. The metaphor "bittersweet" speaks profoundly to me, especially on days when joy, magic, and connection attach tenaciously to an underbelly of loss, vulnerability, and sadness. This was Thanksgiving Day for me this year. From the post on the Wednesday before with its upbeat mood of anticipation comes the more tempered reality of my life. It's not that bittersweet is not good; it may be life's greatest gift to see the pain in the pleasure or better yet, the pleasure in the pain. It's a reality that is sometimes tough to walk because the balance between the bitter and the sweet is always one of perception and experienced uniquely.
Thanksgiving was warm and delicious. I was surrounded by people that I love and who love me back. Memories of past Thanksgivings brought laughs and a sense that as life marches on, this particular day stands out. Stringing all these (Thanksgiving) days together in my mind forms one long train of cars, exploding with abundance, connection, and gratitude.
Thanksgiving also stirs up memories and thoughts that whisper loudly to me that every breath changes us and moves us farther along into an unknown place, one that we never control. For someone resistant to most change, struggling to maintain and balance the present now for the long haul, I realize that this is not the nature of living. All this verbiage is my way of alluding to the specific pain in my heart, the bitter of the season: when we gather again for the next Thanksgiving who will I be and who will be with me? Said another way: what will be for those two loved ones who raised me and whose life this past 18 months has been fraught with great challenge and loss, whose connection to me is infinite yet finite, who I see slipping away from me, who are either on my heart or hands, and whose vulnerability and need for protection is sometimes all that is left? This is the bitter in my sweet.
** The botanical print is the bittersweet plant; at once lovely, utilitarian and poisonous (berries and leaves).