Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Shrinking Table

Time slips past us at a fearsome rate. When you are but a child, a week feels like an entire school year, a month is an eternity, and a year might as well be never.  We age and slowly recognize that a week is but a speck on the calendar. A month comes and goes before we are prepared for the list of birthdays and holidays that fill it. A year? Well that is something we wish we could slow from coming as we realize how many things we have left undone, unsaid, or untouched. 

Time slips by.

So where are we now, a single year after our last Thanksgiving? Have we made any changes? Have we advanced our goals? Have we completed tasks we set for ourselves in the past twelve months? I know that I haven't accomplished nearly enough in my life. I haven't given enough blankets or coffees or meals to homeless people I see on the street. I haven't learned to stay my tongue when patience is called for and my hurt rises from my mouth as anger. I haven't been understanding enough to realize that age sometimes brings with it a rigidity and unwillingness to accept sweeping changes to once-comfortable lives. And I haven't looked into my own soul enough to bandage the old wounds and apply salve to where the missing scales make me vulnerable. 

Much has happened in the past year. My family is shrinking, and the core elements (my sister, my mother, and I) are not getting any younger. Warranties on the bodies that carry us through this iteration are expired, and the realization that we cannot rebuild those ailing components is painfully obvious. I accept that we should take better care of ourselves and each other.  I am thankful for the chance to improve my health, and for those I love to remain as healthy as is possible. I am also thankful that my mother and my sister are who they are, even when I can't help poke at them. I hope they never forget that it is love that guides my heart, never malice.

I see the world through a lens that others don't always share. I am thankful for the chances I am given to express my own opinions and hopefully point my not-always-delicate finger in the eye of those things I find distasteful. I'm sometimes not so careful with my words, and that can be problematic.
I realize that I live a life that many don't consider normal, but I live it happily and willingly. The women I love are part of me, and I am thankful for the chance to love them and to be there when I am needed. I am thankful for them in my heart, accepting me as I am, and being understanding when I fall down. I am far from perfect, but I try.

I watch others I love struggle with health issues, with familial issues, and with financial issues. I am thankful that I am able to be an ear for them when they want or need one. I am ever grateful for their friendship, and for the intimacy we share.

And then there is my son. I watched him grow from a child into a man, and still is see him as that little boy, wanting to please everyone and hurt none. I see him struggle with the fire of an angry young man, but with little of the wisdom of age. His world is not mine, and I often find myself unable to understand how to help him without doing for him. There's a difference. I am thankful for his beautiful, if often confused, heart. And I love him dearly. 

I am thankful for my sweet and mischievous daughter. I see her becoming a lovely and (hopefully) reasonably well-adjusted young lady. She has a thick, leathery exterior, but the heart of a human being more than twice her age. I hope she understands that I am not just an embarrassing man in her life, but rather that I treat her with respect and trust that she earns. 

I am thankful for my extended family through my partners. So many people to love, and be loved by. Sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers. Jewels among humanity.

I'll take one tiny spot here and mention those who will wish to remain nameless, but who are so very much a part of my heart. People who I hope will recognize that although we do not see each other often (years, even), they are still connected though the words we share, or the breakfasts, or music, or a hundred different ways. You are a part of me, and through peace, love, and happiness, I hope I am a part of you.

So, dear reader, gather your love in your arms and hands and hearts and hold it close. Remember those who have passed, or moved away, or moved on in any way. Sing their songs and share their stories. Be thankful for having them in your life, or having passed through it.

Just be thankful, even if just for being able to watch the passing of the time.