Sunday, April 06, 2008

BEST if USED, By ...

I mourned. For a period of days that turned into painful weeks, I mourned. I mourned the passing of a Friendship. A friendship celebrated for but a year, but one that was born as Life’s gracious gift, and lived in a place particularly special in a way of celebration and enjoyment in my life. I tell you this because loss and mourning are inextricable elements of Fact in all of our lives … and there may be a nugget of insight, a thread of hope or understanding, or the slightest breath of relief for you, in your personal experience, in my perspectives on my own loss.

Firstly (and perhaps most importantly) I allowed myself to mourn the loss. Please do not fly by this statement on a breeze of assumed awareness. For, unfortunately, what we are most readily encouraged to do is to “move on” as if this event, this circumstance, this occurrence is nothing more than some meaningless whim of an impersonal fate that has no value or merit for our living. Quite to the contrary, I insist that this loss, yours and mine, is ripe with Life Meaning if we will but do what our environment encourages us not to do … stop … recognize … embrace … and live the moment. And, in my own so-doing, I became aware of a few insights that have redeemed this “claim check” of circumstance for me.

I did what we always do. I reflected, reviewed, questioned, doubted, and analyzed the words, behaviors, and motives that I had mixed and blended into the recipe of the Friendship. “Should I have been that open with my remarks?” I asked myself. “Is that what I should have done ... how I should have acted?” I queried. And in the gentle, sweet voice of my inner awareness, Life responded “Were you genuine and honest or were you cautiously and calculatingly careful in your comportment?” Well! … those of you who are even the least familiar with me can give the answer that I gave to that one. I was always candid and respectfully transparent in every element of my participation in the Friendship. And the freedom to be so … genuinely Me … was the richest core of the relationship (at least, for Me.)

But then the voices of Many began to echo in my mind “Lighten up!” (as I have been repeatedly told in the past.) And self-doubt raised its destructive head from the murky mire of uncertainty. Now here is where I ask that you take note, My Dear Reader. For it is here that I have a Treasure to hand over to you. One morning, as I did my work in the pre-dawn darkness and stillness, Life made it simple for me (for Life knows that “simple” is what I must have in order to make use of it.) Having neither heard nor read this from any Source … I had, presented to me in the elementary picture-language that my mind requires, a fresh awareness. Life said “Check the ’Best If Used By’ date (as found on grocery items in the market) on your emotions, feelings, and energies. They are all ’Best If Used’ … NOW! For now is when they are fresh… and Fresh is the best state to realize the highest potential of “flavor” for this immediate experience known as Living.”

I considered this seemingly silly idea for a while and began to see the unquestionable merit of it. I have always been most interested in Being genuine in every circumstance and every moment of interplay with everyone in my world. This commitment is what chafes some to the point of urging me to “Lighten up!” But I enjoy a gourmet level of experiences with life that is directly attributable to the implementation of the freshest of ingredients employed in each immediate response that I offer my life. To do the “lighten up” thing and store away some emotion … preserve some feeling for another unknown time or opportunity, that may or may not ever occur, is (for me) to lose the freshness of that gift that is that instant. And I do live with an almost zealous urgency about the infinite value of each moment offered by Life.

I recognize a responsibility to myself and to Life for every opportunity and gift that is presented as the path of my living intersects the path of another. The messages from my heart filtered through the care of my spirit are “Best If Used” when presented. So that answered those concerns that I had about my role in the Friendship (and, hopefully some of yours as well.)

These considerations brought me to the renewed realization that … by the same measure that I accept pleasure, I am, also, obliged to accept pain. Therefore, Dear One, if I am passionate in my celebrations of the Pleasant … I must, unavoidably, know Pain in an equal measure of awareness. Thusly … I must consider if I would ever be willing to confine my realization of Pleasure in order that I might mitigate the inevitable occurrence of Pain in my life?

Would I be willing to accept a “toned down” Happiness to ensure a muted Misery? My personal response to this question is, has always been, and will continue to be “Not no … But HELL NO!" (Please forgive the language… but, again… I emote!) I have determined that to live a “safe” life in absence of excessive highs and/or lows is akin to the life reflected in the heart monitor that has no highs or lows demonstrated on its screen. That result is a straight line … and a straight line on the heart monitor in the operating room says one thing … “You Are Dead!” So, as long as Life keeps me living, it is my choice to not be among the living dead.

So, My Darling Reader, I did mourn … and I felt it intensely. I did not enjoy it … nor did I like it in any way, save the way that has rendered me available to the insights presented to me by Life. And I now make an attempt to forward to you, those insights. I do so in a motivation born of Love, and in the knowledge that this Love is “Best If Used… NOW”


CrazyCath said...

Never a truer word spoken. In my work, I am constantly frustrated by referrals for people who are in early stages of grief. How sad! That they are told they are ill or abnormal in some way because they feel and express the pain of grief. Even sadder, some professionals "cash in" on this and offer therapy. I am glad to acknowledge their pain, but stress the normality of feeling pain.

He who has never felt pain, has never loved. And he who has never loved has never lived.

Great insights. Thanks for sharing.

And, btw, as you well know, I have felt pain, but I love and I live!

John-Michael said...

My Darling Cath-Daughter, how blessed are those, brought to you by Life's gracious kindness, for encouragement and perspective. May your Spirit continue to touch and enrichen lives.

(Your pain, with both its old, and its fresh, bruises and scars, is serving you (in your willingness to use it) in your healing and strengthening of all fortunate enough to know you.)

I love You!

Shrinky said...

Children are so spontanious, but life teaches caution as the years roll by. My impulsiveness lands me in heaps of trouble all the time, I've learnt to "reel myself in" ocassionally, otherwise I find I cannot always deal with the eventual consequenses!

John-Michael said...

I hear you distinctly and clearly, My Darling Shrinky, yet, implore you to nurture your wonderful gift of Spontaneity in a cradle of Prudence. For, my Precious One, it is comfortably possible to curb that oft-dangerous impulsiveness that, by definition, is without the disciplines of thoughtful control. And guide all of your innate energies that are part of those "impulses" ... into a joyful and fulfilling "Prudent Spontaneity" that will bless all of those touched by your inspiring Spirit ... as well as permitting you the on-going 'Celebration of Living' that you so deserve. In brief … please do not stifle your beautiful Gift … accept, embrace, and nurture, instead.

(This from [if you can visualize this] a “carbon copy” of the person of Robin Williams [in my social interaction and energies.] Yep! I definitely know all about those impulses that cry out for “prudent management.” I have been ‘caging’ that ‘tiger’ for (as of tomorrow) 62 years!) [a loving, understanding and admiring smile]

I not only Love all of the "Who-You-Are," but all of the obvious Wonder that Life has entrusted to your care and expression.


Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I have grieved a loss of friendship. I realized I was grieving the loss of what "should have been" and "could have been" a life-long friend. But,I believe some friends are just meant to be a "summer-time" friend for us to enjoy for a short period of our lifetime.

John-Michael said...

So perfectly conceived and spoken, Beth, my Darling Friend!

I do hope that you won't mind if I presumptuously intend that this Friendship (ours), that has become a treasured part of my life, continue and grow into even the unseen and unknown future. For, My Dear, that is my sincere intent!

I love You.

Classic Charm said...

First of all I'm sorry for your loss. Your entry today was very real, and I certainly will take much away with me today.

It also brings me back to a moment at the hospitaal when mom was ill, and she was having trouble breathing, I ran out and grabbed the only doctor I could find walking in the hallway, and he quickly came and helped the situation. I was so scared, that I stepped out to the corner of her room, and began to cry into my sister came over and told me to calm down that they were taking care of mom, in that moment the doctor passed us, and he quickly stopped my sister. He told her let her cry, those are her emotions, it's natural, leave her be. Wow....I never heard that from a doctor before. And so I felt better just from knowing I was "normal" in my expression.

So, thanks again for your wonderful insight into our natural being that we all need to take the time to acknowledge.


John-Michael said...

How very wonderful that Life directed you to the caring presence of a physician who is genuine and willing to be involved in his Humanity. Your recall, My Darling Rose, of that moment, points out how significant the event is to your life. Affirmation of our natural needs is so critical to our comfort with living.

I thank you for sharing that part of You with me. You are a Dear, indeed! And I do love You!

CHEWY said...

People pass through one's life. A friend is forever. I take it the other person ended the "friendship"? This person obviously was not in the same life space as you.

Suldog said...

You are always so wonderfully open with us, John-Michael. I very much appreciate the time and effort you expend in treating us to your insights.

I also very much appreciate the time you spend reading my blog, as well as my comments here. You obviously do take the time to read, and not just skim, as can be seen from your in-depth commentary. I really, truly, appreciate that, and I thank you.

John-Michael said...

Dear Chewy, you have just causes a smile to visit my face. For, you, my Dear, have touched on one of my life-long quirks (in the eyes of many to whom I have tried to explain.) I have always created a place in my heart for every Friend given to me by Life. And, when that 'someone' chooses to move away from an active involvement in our friendship, I quietly drape all that furnishes that room with that person's name on its door ... and close the door. I do not remove all that would remind me of that Friend. Oh no! I keep that space and all of its memories ready for recall ... and perhaps, even reopening. if so blessed.

Though this is "strange" to many, it leaves the entirety of my heart's "house" free from occupation by spirits of regret, bitterness, and anger. I like living with it in its present state.

Thank you, my new Friend, for stirring those thoughts.

aims said...

How true - dear JM. And so eloquently spoken as well. I can feel your pain and your sorrow - and I agree with you totally.

The loss of a friendship is something that needs to be mourned. And we do, but how often do we ignore the signs and put on a brave face?

I just lost a friendship of 23 years. I'm not sure if it will come back - but if it does - I know it will be different that it was. And that is sad too.

John-Michael said...

OK, Jim, my Darlin' SulDog Friend, you got me! Now I have to fess up! (I was going to slither by in quiet stillness on this one.) I did ... I confess, stop ... repeat out loud (thank goodness I live alone!) the proposed 'punch-line' to the 'chicken crossing the road' joke in your current post. Yes!! I did think that it was some 'sophisticated 'play on the sound of the words' that I would catch on to if I heard them out loud. (I am such a lame sap!) You got me! (for those of you who have not yet enjoyed SulDog's current post, he mixes the punch lines from a mix of jokes and none fit the joke in ANY way. "DUH" to me!

As to your kind comment, Dear Friend, given the respect and regard that I feel for all of the nice people who invest a part of themselves in commenting on my thoughts, I could never give anything less than my most intimate and sincere attention to what they say. And as for you ... the fact that I love you makes it a genuine pleasure.

John-Michael said...

Just maybe, Aims You adorable and oh-so-lovable Friend of mine, we can consider "redecorating" that 'room' in our heart with that Friend's name on the door, if they return. Perhaps the ambiance will be a bit different, but the hearts are always going to be the same hearts. Wiser, more 'seasoned', and a bit more reserved, no doubt. But Love is an eternal thing that knows none of these 'limitations' and expectations that we so often try to 'box' it up in.

I am sure that our willingness to welcome all returning friends has spiritual, psychological, and yes, even biblical justification on its side. And your magnificent heart is just far too lovely to soil with any grafitti of negative thought or consideration.

Guess it shows, eh, I love you!

OHmommy said...

I have been thinking about a lost friend of mine for a while/ Perhaps it is time to make a connection with her.

Very beautiful and thought provoking post JM. Thank you for that.

Jules~ said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sorry for your pain. It is indeed hard. But I beleive, like I think you do, that it takes courage and openness to let it hurt and then be able to move on in the now.

Each experience in our life is so important and should be lived to the fullest. It robs a person's inner most being to hide from the pain and "safely" live numb.

Then, the other side would want us to live in that past and replay events, re-analyze motives and question personal character. This is where I tend to have found myself. Again not healthy and does an equal amount of robbing. Though it is good to evaluate, it is dangerous to dwell in because it ceratees a pool of wallowing.

We are to live not in thepast, not in the future, but in the present...because it is a present.

I love you experation date analogy. It made me giggle and smile.

John-Michael said...

Darling OHmommy, how I would gently and unobtrusively encourage you to honor that whispered voice from within ... and allow your gracious Heart to guide you in reaching out to the Friend who is present in your thoughts. I have found that trusting Life's quiet guidance never takes me anywhere that is not already prepared for and receptive to my arrival. Life is faithful that way.

With every fibre of admiration and respectful regard in me, I will have you in my thoughts. For, don't you know, I love You.

John-Michael said...

Precious Jules~, you have a comfortable grasp of one of life's best understandings in your awareness of the importance of embracing the present moment ... with ALL of its accoutrements. This is living genuinely.

And I too had a good giggle when Life was so understanding and patient as to present this truth in the picture of the "use by date." "Simple" is my speed!

Thank you for gracing me with your loving presence today ... I love You!

Misty Dawn said...

I made my 500th post on My Dogs Keep Me Sane today... and you're in it John-Michael (so is crazycath, by the way). I hope I have adequately expressed what I wanted to say to you in that post.

John-Michael said...

Precious Misty ... Leo Buscaglia (the teacher who opened my eyes to the joys of loving) said ...

"A single rose can be my garden...

a single friend, my world.

You, Dearest Misty... are such a rose. You are such a friend.

Loving you is as natural and right as breathing. You are consummately Lovable!

Thank you, sweet Friend!

david mcmahon said...

Beautifully expressed, as always

John-Michael said...

Thank you, David, you are kind.

JeannieTheDreamer said...

Loss hurts. There is wisdom in it that we do not see as we hurt. However, i know for a fact that someday, that loss, will finally make sense.

Life. It's difficult but good.

God bless

jillie said...

I guess relationships, like food, in the early stages is always freshest. The flavors, sounds, scents, etc. are always the freshest in the early stages.'s when things start to go stale is when the real test is. If you can remain with that relationship, I think the BEST IF USED BY DATE will never have an expiration date. I hope that made some sense to you. I know what I was trying to say, but sometimes, when it comes loses it's meaning.


John-Michael said...

Don't you just love the way that the essence of all of those "flavors, sounds, & scents" 'melds' with the passage of time and becomes something that none of those elements could ever be alone. How the relationship does gain in quality and character after "sitting" for a good while.

May our Friendship, Dear Jillie become a perpetually "renewable resource" with our acceptance and celebration of our combined elements and aspects. And I would hope the same for all of your treasured relationships.

Loving and appreciating the wonder of you more and more ...

John-Michael said...

I do enjoy the comfort of resting in the truth in verses 5 & 6 of the book of Proverbs ..."Trust in the Almighty without reservation, and do not depend on your own abilities to understand. In all of your ways, acknowledge the supremacy of The One who created you, and your paths will be directed." This does free me from any personal need to "see" or "know." I simply trust. It's nice!

I am grateful for your caring and insightful thoughts Jeannie. You bless me!


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