Saturday, March 17, 2007

IT'S A GREAT LIFE IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN

The title of this post is stolen from my DH. He's fond of sayings much the way I'm fond of quotes. This one is his most used, in fact the very first I can remember him saying when we met. Over time the depth of its wisdom increases.

Without going in to great detail because a) it still weirds me out to fling too much deeply personal data into cyberville 2) because each of you faces sufficient challenge enough in your own lives that you need not come here only to find mine abounding and III) by nature, intent, and DNA I'm inclined to be 'chirpy' as someone once said of me :-) So we'll float pass the details.

The mind-boggling truth is that in the last months I've sat in way too many waiting rooms, exam rooms and funeral parlors with people I love. I've begged fate unfailingly to be kind. Many times she's been beyond kind ~ granting me the wishes of my soul. Some events that have passed were beyond entreatment before I even knew of them.

The sum and substance of what remains in my mind now is an abundance of confused and conflicting emotions. Joy and thankfulness for time 'given back' - futures returned and relief mixed amid grief, shock, and worry. And thru it all I kept hearing my husbands voice saying

~ IT'S A GREAT LIFE IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN ~

He is of course right.

When life flows in easy, lovely ways that point is obvious.
But when fates' outcome dangles the lives of those you love by a gossamer thread it's far more difficult to remember it is still true. Anxiety and pain exist only if you care (caring being a cornerstone of a great life). Pain only finds its mark if you love (love also being a cornerstone of a great life). Worry can only "sit your shoulder" if you wish you could control more of lifes' events (and that only comes because you desperately want to protect someone yet know you cannot). Memories are painful only because they were made - without memories ever being formed they can cause you no harm - nor stay with you in the future and grow to do what they do best - give joy.

The trick it begins to seem in 'not weakening' is to accept (as best one can) that life is comprised of a curious mix of pain and pleasure, comfort and anxiety, phases, plateaus, and challenges. I'll be the first to tell you that I dance (sometimes not very deftly) between the Yin & Yang oposites hoping I don't stumble.
If reading this makes any sense to you at all you at least know you're not alone. I'm dancing right along with you hoping to always see what I know ~ which is that it IS a great life ~ but you have to always concentrate on the "don't weaken"

Adult life is wearying - it rubs the shine off & leaves you wondering sometimes. Other times it's downright scary. No matter how old I grow I still find when crisis comes I FEEL like an akward, underskilled 10 year old. Perhaps some of what causes us to weaken.

As trite as it sounds, hug your kids, call your parents, tell your significant other you love them. Try to let go of what you can't control ~ both present and past. Make time for what matters to you because tho time goes on forever , we don't. Follow your dream(s) as far as you can at this point in your life, and take joy in small daily happiness. Drink in the here and now. Fill your glass. Drink. Repeat.

Most of all, don't weaken!

12 comments:

  1. thank you, it gave me comfort to read your words xxxx

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  2. Beautiful post. I was looking for the phrase "It's a great life if you don't weaken", which was something my father used to always say. Yesterday was the 2nd year anniversary of his death and I think this was the perfect post for me to stumble across. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Anonymous11:32 PM

    Thanks for your message. I googled the phrase because my mother has recently come to live with me and I was getting a bit frustrated hearing her repeat this phrase several times a day. Your essay gave me a new and better perspective on it...Thanks...

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  4. I want to say - thank YOU - to each of you that have left your words here.....

    I wish I could reach of you personally to thank you. I wish I could tell each of you how much it means to me to know that this entry helped you in some small way.

    The time you've taken & the thoughts you've shared with me here, telling me of the sense of "comfort found" after reading is something I do (and will always) treasure.

    Thank you .....

    Faye

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  5. Anonymous1:43 PM

    I just happened to stumber across your blog while googling the origin of this quote...one my Father always says...I am at a point in my life where I have added something new to this quote...It`s a great life if you strengthen thereby surpassing the status quo of your circumstances...I am ready to do that now. You are an amazing and beautiful writer...I am going to bookmark this blog and come back and visit often. CAFF

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  6. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Sorry meant to say stumble...have a great day! P.s. I know life is made up of circumstances that we cannot control...destiny...being what it is...I know there will come a day if not many again in my life when this quote will revert back to the original...and then once again...it will come a time to strengthen...there is a time and season for everything...so perhaps my Dads quote or mantra and my quote and mantra...is the cycle of a life...a destiny...perhaps... CAFF

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  7. CAFF, thank you so much for sharing your mantra. It is a truly beautiful point of view that I'm going to remember. The two quotes together (yours and the original) seem to me a perfect yin/yang balance of ways to view (and navigate) challenging times...

    Thank you also for your kind words re: my writing.... I'm thrilled to know you'll return to read again. You're warmly welcome!

    Faye

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  8. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Loved what you had to say, especially "Adult life is wearying." I was looking for the origin of the "Don't weaken" phrase--my mother used to say it a lot. Just lost my Dad--86 years young--this summer, and have been feeling "wearied" by the adult burden of wrapping up his estate (Mom died 5 years ago)and seeing my childhood home sold and razed to the ground. Your comments made me feel as if I have a lot of company trying to cope with the fact that at times we feel like a lost 10 year old. Thank you and "don't weaken"--dance!

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  9. Thanks so much for your note - and I'm so glad these words helped. You can't imagine how much every single thought you shared means to ME as I read what you've shared.

    Lets all of us dance together .....

    Thanks again,
    Faye

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  10. Anonymous4:50 PM

    My mum died on Tuesday after being so ill with bowel cancer, every day her mantra was 'its a great life if you don't weaken' how fitting that I should stumble across your blog, where you said so eloquently the words i have been trying to form. Thank you for the inspiration to continue on my quest with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. x

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    Replies
    1. My heartfelt farewell to your mum joins with yours, dear Anonymous..

      Alongside your memories of your mum, within the mist of sadness you find yourself in these coming and future days remember to cry as you need ~

      Then when the time is right for you, dance again along the edges of life - no doubt that is what your mum would want for you, her daughter, who also now embraces the depth and strength of her mantra...

      And thank YOU so much for letting me know my words, woven into the fabric of cyberspace helped you in some small way -

      Taking the time to tell me is a lovely gift you've placed upon my cyber-blog-doorstep. (Sometimes as I write, as I leave words here wafting between the cyber and real worlds I ponder their value). It's touching to know my writings continue to be of comfort/help - thank you for letting me know.

      Warmest wishes as you quest onward - hope to hear from you again sometime

      Faye

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  11. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Beautifully said! When I was in my twenty's
    My beautiful neighbor Kitty was 80 and she would say this to me every morning before she walked down to the beach for her swim. Although I didn't quite understand but now as I approach my sixtieth I truly know now. You have said exactly what is in my heart.
    I have weakened on occasion and am weakening again as my husband has cancer for the second time. II haven't yet pulled it together. But I really do believe it is a great life. But it isn't when you weaken. Thank you for your beautiful words.

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