Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tincture of Time

Today (August 5, 2011) marks a special first anniversary for me, one that has taught me a lot of what the human spirit is truly capable of. No, I am not speaking of the Chilean mining disaster, but one that was no less traumatic for me and my family.

We often fail to see the bitter experiences of life for what they truly are, and hold on to the hurt and the anger that comes from being treated unjustly (in our eyes) by life. As I embarked on this one year, I was filled with rage that spilled out without permission, affecting every one around me. I strove to rein myself in, but failed again and again. The legal process that unfolded one year back against me and my family saw my financial resources being thoroughly depleted, and my mental strength being sapped.

All my attempts at bringing some level of discipline to my internal processes were to no avail. I realized that I was in no condition to handle the complexity of social life in the state I was. As I went from one extreme of behavior to the other, I determined that I would disconnect myself from all aspects of life and focus on dealing with one thing at a time.

Although this entire experience burned me up with negative emotions, I chose not to express my feelings about it to anybody. I found myself undergoing a violent return to uncontrolled drug and alcohol use. To the few people who came to know about and asked how I was holding up, I replied noncommittally. I chose to dissociate with my employer of many years to pursue a more meaningful life. I immersed myself in reshaping my life in an entirely new direction, not an easy thing to do when dealing with bankruptcy, hatred, and self doubt. The love of my family helped me keep my sanity even in the face of great personal loss and tragedy.

I am yet to feel normal. I still rage against the machine. I still feel my blood boil when I reflect on the corruption that I have been witness to.  Watching the news on TV is something we have learned to avoid at home, since the smallest things can trigger my sense of violation and injustice. I still am reluctant to open up to people as the trust deficit in my environment has affected all areas of my life. Yet, this one year opened my eyes to the gift of strength within me that saw me reclaim my life in many ways.

I returned to writing and painting, two of my greatest passions. I made a conscious (and very difficult to execute) decision to quit my employer, someone who I have solidly stood by no matter what, and someone who has solidly stood by me in my most difficult times. Based on my personal experience of what the system can do to a person, I decided to dedicate the remainder of my life to working with the less privileged.

Nothing in the last few years have been easy, but the last one year has been especially instructional. The changed circumstances have forced change in many other areas. Yet through it all, hope shines through. I know that winter always turns to spring. I enjoy a freedom today that might be the envy of many. I live life on my terms, not out of arrogance, but out of deep humility for the lessons, many of them harsh beyond imagination, that have shaped "my terms." I enjoy the quite of daybreak with the pigeons who fly down to share my morning cup of tea, and the last call to the faithful that floats over the tenement housing and tiled roofs. I write about things that are of lasting value, not so that others see the world the way I do, but so that I know I have done my bit sharing with others the insights I have been blessed with.

I rise overcome with gratitude for the blessing of loved ones who share my struggle to become who I was destined to be. I sleep in peace knowing that my understanding of what I have had to forgo is but a limited one, and that the gifts and lessons the present and the future holds are unknown to all but the supreme force, the will of the universe. I spend my days firm in faith that retribution will be tempered with compassion, and justice with mercy.  I take each moment of life as it comes, savoring it with my wonderful family, building our life up brick by brick towards the day when all things will become as they were meant to become.

No comments:

Post a Comment