By Marjorie Rock
Life is going too fast, it’s going out of control!. I don’t know what is wrong. It’s as though inside my head is going millions of miles a minute while on the outside I am standing stock-still. I can’t seem to get into a groove. I barely accomplish any of the things that are whiling through my mind. My arms and legs are like lead. My back is tired of trying to hold up my neck and busy head. When did this happen?
I think I just grew old!
Oh how I long for the days when my body was under my control. I was the Queen. I would command and my body would follow. The Queen would say, “It’s time to dance!” And off my body would go – “time step – shuffle off to Buffalo – do the riff step – and now break into the soft shoe, turn to the left four times – turn to the right four times, one more time step, cross-over, one-two-three and bow! “Now do it again” she would bellow!”
Where did I get the idea that my body would be immune to this ‘aging disease.’ Why I thought it was going to continue forever. What a cruel joke to have a mind that is still young, full of so many ideas. And then to have a body that is practically frozen in place.
When I allow myself to meditate for awhile, I can harness the energy in my mind and watch the pictures fly past my inner eye. I see my childhood, my grandparents - parents. I am going to school - kindergarten, grade school, high school, graduation. Right after graduation I came close to dying. I had planned on going to college to become an art teacher. However, I put it off for a year with the intention of making some money to help pay for my schooling – the truth was: I was scared of life. So in no time at all, while looking for the ‘easier, softer way,’ I managed to get married. We moved seven times in the first eight years and during this time, I had five children. I was full of energy and loved to daydream. I would dance with my children and chase them around the house.
After twenty three years of marriage, we divorced. My children were grown mostly. They were dancing on their own. I started another period of my life – I felt renewed. I had hope again; and in my fertile mind – a picture of a bright, though unknown future. I supported myself as a counselor, and I had married again. I didn’t get to dance as much as I would like – I sat a lot. However, in ten years or so, I was on stage having the time of my life – feeling inspired and fulfilling much of the creativity that would rush into my mind. I was in love and I was in love with life. It was going to last forever! But then cancer came to visit – however it was only a bump in the road. In two and one half weeks after surgery, I was back on stage, in costume and make-up – nothing to worry about. I was alive! Chemotherapy, radiation therapy – I couldn’t’ stop – I had a life to live – I had to make money. “I will heal, I will be all right.”
Then came retirement and dreams of traveling, doing community theatre – acting, directing, choreographing, painting, writing.
Three years of illness brought all these dreams to a grinding halt. It’s interesting how the illnesses lasted just long enough to use up nearly all of the energy I had left for wanting to live. I just ran out of juice. AND so here I am – sitting with my buzzing head – wanting so much to be a vital part of life and my body is slowing down.
Today I had a glimpse of my future. An 88 year old friend is in the hospital with compression fractures in her spine. In the past, I have said to her: “When I grow up I want to be just like you.” However, right now she is suffering with terrible pain. This is the same pain my mother had just before she died. So, reality says to me, “Marge, this is the dance of life.” It’s as though there is a veil that prevents us from seeing and hearing this most of the time. Apparently, we are meant to live in the NOW – in the moment. But now and then I do get a glimpse - a reminder that life here in this body is temporary; a reminder to take care of myself to the best of my ability and to surrender to the Will of God. There is no point in fighting. As my mother would say, “Marjorie, it’s rather like being at the head of a long, long line of humanity. We are all marching along. I am coming closer and closer to the edge of the cliff and those behind me aren’t stopping and they don’t care…. soon I will be the next to go.” And so she did and so it goes.
Just for today this is my story. Tomorrow this story may change. Tomorrow I may focus on another part of my life – my quest, my searching – along with the question, “What indeed am I searching for?” I have to smile as I realize that all we have are our stories – they often don’t have much to do with the “reality” – they just fit the view we hold of our lives and mostly to justify some behavior. History is rewritten again and again to help explain the past from our own point of view. When I have an opportunity to read or hear about the same period of recent history written from another point of view, I wonder, “Where was I?” It’s then I realize again, we all have a story and that’s all it is. There may be some facts that are truth, but the interpretation around these facts is just a story – a story often carefully honed by us until it’s just right and puts us in the light we would like to be seen, often a sympathetic light but sometimes not – depending on our mood.
Wisdom tells me, as I read histories, biographies, traditions from various countries, listen to preachers, teachers, counselors and doctors and politicians, read the results of investigations, newspapers, watch TV – its best I remember to say, “Maybe so and maybe not.” AND wisdom also reminds me that when most of us finish doing our thing – it’s best we add “That’s my story and I am sticking to it.”
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