I've thought long and hard about this - should it be big? Should it be trivial? Funny? Serious?
In the end, I simply decided that it should be real.
I don't want the life I have. If the Angel of Death came down right now and offered me his hand, I would bargain for at least a week to clean up my room, sort out funeral arrangements, burn my half-assed diaries, give away my belongings, and get the hell out. Actually, for a personal reason, I would see if he would let me hang around till after mid-March, then I'd be all his.
Why? Because on most days, my life feels like it has been a complete and utter waste.
Now, before the God or New Age squads start - shut it. Really. Because all you have to offer are platitudes; nothing in your relentlessly 'love and light' worlds, whether Jesus-based or 'suffering is an illusion' or 'life is a gift'-based, helps - at all. Neither does the Wayne Dyer, 'Law of Attraction', CBT 'change your thoughts' New Age shit. None of it. It might change things for a day, or a week, but because it never reaches the depths, the feeling comes rushing back. And whilst it may be factually, Myers-Briggs 'S' true, the practical "It's what you've got, babe," doesn't help either.
Let's be brutally honest: those soothing platitudes are more about you than about the person who's feeling the pain - all parroted rules/thoughts that you mouth at these moments because feelings like this make you panic and you have to push them away: so you're unable to be real, to be with the person in that moment. That is where G-d, Spirit, Source is, not in your precious little 'Jesus loves you'/'Well, change your thoughts and the world will change!' chirpy moments. Keep them away from me, please.
Love from friends? That DOES help, because it's real, because it makes me aware that my life has made a difference to others - because I think loving and being loved is the ONLY reason for being here. Not only that, it's only recently that I've started being able to *feel* love when it is offered. That is always welcome. But though that eases the emptiness and sense of waste, it still hovers in the background, waiting to pounce.
There's only one thing to be done: pull a Pema Chodron and sit with it, breathing deeply, letting it be what it is. Embrace it. Love it.
The first thing that comes up for me is that my life has been 'trivial', and thus has been a failure. I haven't had a major career; I haven't saved lives; I haven't made the world a better place - all of which would have been a way to mitigate, or even nullify, what feels like the biggest failure: not having a husband and children of my own.
*Breathe* Under the surface.
Obviously, I'm not special enough or pretty enough or glamorous enough or sparkly enough or high-maintenance in your face enough or lovable enough to be THE person that is the most important someone in another person's life. The supportive one through various things, maybe, but not THE one.
*Breathe deeply* And again. Further.
I am fucking SICK TO DEATH of being happy for everyone else, watching their lives motor past mine, especially since quite a lot of the time, I don't think they should be marrying whoever it is they're marrying, having children, whatever.
*Breathe* And dive.
I am utterly weary of living my life without integrity, and even more, watching those around me, especially those I love, do the same. Just recently (and repeatedly), I have wanted to grab a close friend and say to him, "LISTEN TO YOURSELF!! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING AND *WHY* ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF???" Then I realised that if I did it to him, I would have to do it to myself. I'm utterly tired of remaining silent about practices around me that go so deeply against my values, I feel ill thinking about them. I am utterly weary of knowing what I know about 'pillars of society' that make me barely able to look at them. I am weary of remaining silent to 'protect others'. All I want to do is be real, speak up and let the chips fall where they may.
My life is way too small. I need more depth, more challenge, more abundance, more freedom. My life is the life of a survivor. Work is way too small - I find admin soul-deadening; there are so many things I do better. Money is tight. The space I live in is too small. Church/religion is too small, and in some ways, diametrically opposed to my spirituality - I am about relationship; in so many ways, it feels like most religious people are about avoiding it. It's running out of air. The way I'm living my spirituality feels twisted, dislocated.
I can see a young me panicking and thinking, "Nobody loves me!" Even then, I felt like a commodity to be used for other people's needs.
*Deep, deep breath* - and as deep as one can go...
God doesn't love me; God is just using me for His purposes - He doesn't give a fuck about me as long as He gets what He wants out of my life for His precious little pattern. Life is just a vehicle: for parents to have little extensions of themselves and feel grown up; for leaders to use as fodder to further their own ends; for others' needs/pleasure. Fuck it.
God can't be trusted. Life is to be borne. And if you, like my parents, gave me life just to further your own ends/feed your own ego - then you, my Lord, can go fuck yourself. I'm not going to make it easy for you.
And beneath that, a pain beyond words.
*Eyes snap open in utter shock*
Oh. I had no idea.
But finally, at long last, I'm honest. With myself and with G-d. And it's only from here that healing and real relationship can start.
Because I know, from the preciousness and depth of the close relationships that I do have, which must mirror that first relationship with G-d, that's not true. As I read what's above it, I know those are not true either, not completely - I have examples from my own life and those around me to know that, though feeling it is a different matter.
From this thought - "This is an ordinary moment, and it is totally rocking. I love my peops, where I am and what I'm doing right now, simple as it is" - I know life for the incredible gift that it is.
But that does not invalidate this feeling or make it unworthy of acknowledgment. This pain is part of the whole and worthy of being loved - this pain, like love, is home.
So I turn to the Angel of Death - of whom I will never be afraid, and to whom I will ever be closer to than my own breath - hold him close for a moment, then step away. As I do so, I say:
"No, not yet. Much have I been, but even more have I yet to be and love here. As Gibran said,
Only another breath will I breathe in this still air, only another loving look cast backward,
Then I shall stand among you, a seafarer among seafarers.
And you, vast sea, sleepless mother,
Who alone are peace and freedom to the river and the stream,
Only another winding will this stream make, only another murmur in this glade,
And then shall I come to you, a boundless drop to a boundless ocean.
But another winding has this stream to make - perhaps short, perhaps long, but its journey to the sea must be complete, not cut short. And I will meet you at the ocean's edge when the time comes - not before, my friend."
Death nods his acquiescence, and if it is possible for Death to look happy, he does - and turns away.
And finally, as Paul on the Summer Tree, I understand the meaning of Death's visit and his offer:
And he understood then, finally: understood that it had to be naked, truly so, that one went to the God. It was the Tree, stripping him down, layer by layer, down to what he was hiding from...Naked or not at all, one went to Mornir. And oh, that was too much for them, too hard to be forced to go into the darkest places then, so weak, so impossibly vulnerable.
But not that night. Because of pride, of pure stubbornness, and because, most surely, of the dog, Paul Schafer found the courage not to turn. Down he went. Arrow of the God. So open the wind could pass, light shine through him. Last door.
And so too, G-d, I choose not to turn - facing you in all my fear, my mistrust, my anger, my vulnerability, my lack of integrity, my certainty that you love me not.
Only this have I left to pray: take me through that last door and bring me into life and love, which alone are real.