The Purpose Of It All
For nine months we stay sheltered inside a womb. It is our protection, a temporary home, shielded away from the onslaught of a world now in dissaray, but we don’t know it and aren’t meant to know.
We kick, twist and turn, until that moment comes and then we emerge from the womb with a resounding cry, and I daresay the cry is in part from confusion; for were we not until recently, sheltered in a dark place, surrounded in quiet, and had no cares?
In one quick flash, we become subjected to humanity, and that starts the cycle of one’s humanity ... life.
We move ahead to the early stages of life, where we learn to crawl, eventually uttering our first words, eating on our own, and then stand and take our first steps. I call it growth and learning by what others do; a part of life.
Moving ahead further still, we begin to interact with people other than those we live with. The neighor’s kids, school kids, the wayward bullies, and girls. And it is there we see a difference and come to understand that no two people are the same. All different races, creeds, languages, and different color eyes and hair. It’s all part of life.
Continuing years later, parties, high school graduation, romance, college or the military, or just get a job. Somewhere down the road, marriage comes into play for some, and the cycle of life starts anew, when you hear the names mother and father.
More years crumble away and one day, you don’t move as fast, think as quick, or wonder as much. Age leaves telltale scars or wrinkles around the eyes, a belly not so flat as when young, and steps become slower and more precise, lest you trip and fall. The funny part is we start weak and are feeble with no self-control. When we age in those later years, the cycle starts again.
Life is experiencing all you come into contact with, be that people, places, events. Life is about finding your own niche in life and making it work just for you. Life is making mistakes, correcting them to become a better person. Life is about leaving a mark behind you hope someone will remember, or, you feel good enough about it you can say, “I did that!” And you feel all is right with the world. Life is living, laughing, tears, pain and loving. Life is about joy and heartache, togetherness and aloneness. Life is truths and lies and knowing the difference or at least hope you can.
Most of all, life is what you choose to make it. No one else can do that but you.
If you’ve ever worked for it,
Been afraid for it,
Agonized over it
Or truly enjoyed it
You won’t try to find sanctimonious ‘purposes’.
No higher meanings nor pious divinations are required.
You even begin to resent the people who try to find them...
As if they are sneering at the cutest baby in the world and saying “what’s it for...?”
Life doesn’t have purpose. It has potential.
She takes small steps, her legs leading her to the beach, a fragile figure, barely visible against a raging storm. Dark clouds covering the sky, cold drops falling on pale cheeks. Her breaths are uneven and shallow as she stumbles forward, bare feet sinking in the sand. She’s dressed in a black, heavy coat. Sharp gusts of wind opening it with every blow, a thin hospital gown the only thing she has underneath. She holds it tightly, her fingers almost white against the dark woolen material. It wasn’t even hers. They hid all of her clothes because she didn’t need them. Hospital clothes and her covers were all she had. After all, she wasn’t going anywhere. It was too late for that.
Slowly moving forward, a few more unsure steps, just to get closer to the ocean. Just a bit closer. She wants to perceive it, inhale it with her entire being. Just the smell of the salty waters, tiny particles of iodine from the seaweed promising to make her feel better; and not just the constant odor of sickness and medicine. It was just too late. She knew that for a long time now, even if her family tried to convince her otherwise. “There is always hope Anne, they are going to find a donor for you. I know they will. You just have to be patient, child” The same empty words not really giving her any hope to hold on to. These days were numbered, she just wasn’t sure how many she still got left. Two, four days? A week, or a month? Maybe more, maybe less? She didn’t know. Twenty-two years wasn’t such a bad score.
Gazing at the water, she makes an attempt to move. One step, two, three, four... That’s the moment when her legs buckle under her, deciding that this will be all that she gets. Anne’s weakened body falls to the ground and lays on the wet sand. Her breathing more shallow than before. She wants to spit out her lungs so there will be no more pain. She wants to open her chest and rip out the heart, that hasn’t been working for the past year. She scratches her throat as if she were looking for hidden air. For a moment her face lands in the sand too, she can hardly breathe in this position, but it brings her a strange almost masochistic pleasure to feel like that; as if she still had some faint control over her life, as if she could end this. Here and now... She growls into the ground and makes herself lift a bit. She spits the sand out of her mouth and coughs for what seems like forever. Her body lifts even more and she sits up on her knees.
The breathing slows down and the last coughs stop. Tears running down her face. She inhales and finally feels the breeze on her face and the ocean in tired lungs. Eyes focused on the waves crashing with force and the storm coming closer. Maybe it will take her with it. Breathe in, breathe out - light lips lifting slightly. She has made it hear, reaching her goal; a little dream that she could still make happen on her own. This sickness has taken so much. Eyes closed, she lets the simple sounds of the ocean fill her up, but other words break through too. Atrial fibrillation. Type: Permanent. She tries to block the too known words but they keep hitting her. Heart abnormality from birth, treated too late. She clenches her eyelids tighter. Right-side heart failure. Recurring and badly treated health issues. “Your immune system is that of an infant, we will use medication to improve...” She finally blocks it and just listens to the tides rise anbd fall.
With eyes open again, she pulls the coat tighter around a slim figure. I couldn’t find any shoes, the slippers fell off in the sand. She gazes at the water as the same thought bounces in her mind. This isn’t my coat. She can hardly feel her fingers as her eyelids begin to get heavy. I’m so tired all the time, I just need to sleep. Her head feels dizzy, and her breaths become shorter with every passing minute. Maybe today is the day. She makes herself look at the world, still feeling the wind in her hair and the fading rain on her cheeks. Her hand goes to her chest once more, barely hearing her mistaken heartbeats. There is a pull somewhere inside her and she groans, her vision blurry. She collapses into the sand. And as she drifts into unconsciousness she can sense cold hands wrapping around her and picking her up.
“There you are, once again running away”.
A man in his mid-thirties holds her tighter and starts to walk back to the building. This wasn’t the first time that she has disappeared, but she never managed to get that far. She had a strong spirit but this couldn’t be stable for her health. At least there was some good news, the situation has changed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXwPUYU8rTI Birdy "shelter"
Waking up and it’s too bright
My skin is numb to this sunlight
Does it have to start again?
Mindless droning on and then
Your perfect face comes bursting through
My heart soars with love for you
So much held in one so small
You have saved me from this fall
My life, my love, my perfect daughter
You’re everything I have to offer
A smile is a flame
Out of womb and into the light our soul goes
Into empty vessel for our mother’s love flows
But will it be enough kindness? Who knows?
Kind or wicked, our path is one we chose
In a world indifferent to suffering we live
Don’t ignore the pain. No, help and give
In this grand experiment love and forgive
A smile is a flame that melts the hardest ice
Courage and grit the surest way to paradise
Some Kind of Purpose
If life is a bunch of heart beats in a row,
A net is a bunch of holes tied together.
And if the net has to hold all the heart beats,
The heart beats have to be bigger than the holes.
If the purpose of my life is mending my net,
I hope they gave me lots of string.
If I knew when a raindrop turned back into the mud puddle,
I could name the space between a waterfall and the stream.
I’ll tell you mine
if you tell me yours.
They aren’t alike.
They don’t play out the same
each given different scripts, venues, lighting
some broadway productions
other equal as a solo performance.
I know mine
but it won’t ring true to you
anymore that we could trade
glasses, bras or lovers.
If you don’t know yours
mine won’t help you
my story will sound lame
while I beam
to the sound of
one hand clapping.
What Matters Most
A: Call your mother.
A: When was the last time you talked to her?
B: About three weeks.
A: Even if nothing new has happened lately.
B: Nothing has happened.
A: Even so, she will be happy to hear about it.
A: I always end up on the phone with her nearly two hours.
B: That’s a lot of nothing to talk about.
A: True. I end up talking about movies I have recently watched. She never watches movies, so it’s just me explaining them to her.
B: But she still likes to hear about them?
A: Sure. I ask if she cares if I tell her the spoilers. She always says no because she probably won’t watch them anyways. She likes to talk to me and I like talking to her.
B: I think every mom likes to hear their son talk.
A: Towards the end, she didn’t really talk that much with dad. At least not about anything that they could agree upon. He changed the last couple of years before he died. I think he was depressed because of his declining health.
B: Does she get sad when you talk about him?
A: Interestingly, it doesn’t seem like it. I don’t really get that sad either. He always comes up in our conversations, though.
B: I still get sad.
A: Don't get me wrong, I feel sadness, but I usually try to think about the fond memories I have of him. You know, I can do his laugh pretty well. He had this high-pitched yipping. Listen....HIH HIH HIH HIH!
B: Ha ha ha!
A: Ha ha ha! It makes me laugh every time!
B: It’s funny!
A: I don’t want to forget about him.
B: You won’t forget.
A: But memories do fade. I want to keep them fresh.
B: So you talk to your mom about the memories of your dad?
B: Does she want to talk about him?
A: It makes us feel close. It allows us to be with each other if not in person, then in spirit. One thing I have learned about dad dying is realizing what is important in life. It’s about the people around you whom you care about. Family and friends.
B: The ones you love.
A: And the people who love you. Everything else is bullshit! Work politics, social media, needy people. It’s all bullshit!
B: No shit?
A: No shit! HIH HIH HIH HIH! Ha ha ha!
B: Ha ha ha!
A: So call your mother.
B: I will.
The Author of Life
Where’s the secret hidden;
Who holds the lock and key;
The purpose of our life
Our fate and destiny?
Who has seen the end
From the beginning of our tale?
Who has writ each story
And pulls back the opaque veil?
Who has authored journeys
And draws the map and clues?
Who can whisper to our hearts
Thy why of me and you?
Who designed our beings;
Body, soul and spiritual
Pouring love in fragile vessels;
Life, a miracle?
"What is the meaning of life?"
A teacher asked of me
In one of my vivid dreams.
I cannot recall how I answered
Though every other wacky scene
Of that dream is in my memory.
My answer had gone up in smoke
But it made me wonder
If the meaning of life, its purpose
Is hidden in our subconscious.
An answer secret even to us
But it tells us what is right
The meaning of life is ambiguous
different and the same
For every living soul.
Our everyday journey
Through chaos and sanity
Is the road to that elusive answer.
I believe it can only be known
When one knocks on Death's door
And sees the purpose of their life
Just as their last breath leaves.