Hmm... it went by more quickly than I expected. It was a year of changes and a year of extremes. It found me in the deepest anger I've felt in a long time, yet also the most reassurance and support that I've had in a long time. My method of dealing with said anger wasn't as graceful as it could have been but far more graceful than the person who I was five years ago would've handled it. This was the year that my faith in humanity truly began to gain momentum. There were many acts of Grace and friendship that I had the privilege of witnessing, not least of which was found in a number of friends who came through for me and helped me when I needed it the most. Matt, Murph, Brian, Sean, Meghan... I feel indebted to you for helping me as much as you did. I hope I can return the favor some day.
This year also took a couple of friends away from me due to drugs. Sad? Yes, but I've learned that it is pointless to beat my head against the wall with people who, so absorbed in their own pain, can't see what it is doing to them or those who care about them and are unwilling to get the professional help they need. Part of me feels a pang of regret for having walked away when they were at their worst, but it is also the part of me which wants to fix everyone and ultimately cripples me. I can't be doing that, it will only burn me out and leave me with little resources for repairing my own mind, body and Spirit when necessary. I've watched many past friends descend into squalor and ruin due to drugs and I just don't have it in me anymore to sit around and watch people commit slow suicide. It hurts too much. "But for the Grace of God", that could have been me at one time. Optimistically, I can say that some of those friends who fell into this dangerous cycle found a measure of strength and Grace, having crawled back out of the pit. Guys/Girls, you know who you are and you have no idea how proud I am of you. It takes a lot of personal strength and painful reduction of ego to seek help and bring yourself back to those who care. If the aforementioned two wake up and get help, I'll be there for them as always.
Though two are gone, I've also made friends with someone whom I'd never have envisioned being friends with and as such, have been reminded to humble myself and stop judging a book by it's cover. This was a person whom I thought lived by a code of survival and preemptive or reactionary punitive action, yet possesses tremendous depth, wisdom and peace. I've learned a lot from him, bettered myself because of him and hope that we can remain friends.
I once read a quote in a book of Quaker Faith & Practice which appropriately describes human history like a mural, when standing up close examining one particular, small section, one may appreciate and learn from it, but it is very difficult to tell what it's purpose is and how it relates to the rest of the picture. We gain much more insight when we back up and examine the whole picture, the farther away it gets from us, the more we see how it all fits together; so it is in human history and so it is in one's own life experience.
How do these things relate to my own life? The various hardships and tragedies which took me out for a few years are now further away. I see how they fit together and what good things they lead to and I am at peace with the outcome. I feel whole, calm again. Confused? This previous post explains it. I've forgiven Tim (called Tom in the previous post for the sake of respect because he was still alive then), still love and fondly remember the good side of him. I am at the point where I don't think about him most of the day, every day; maybe just once a week or less, and it is usually the good memories. Maybe I've mentioned it before and it sounds crazy, but he pops up now and then. I actually see him with my own eyes, always when I least expect it and am not thinking about him. He never says anything but he's always looking at me and smiling, sometimes laughing joyfully. The last time I saw him grinning at me, then disappearing into the trees on an off-trail hike... another time in a fish tank (of all the odd places, he did have a good sense of humor). Will he ever pop up again? Will he say something to me? It is neither here nor there. If it happens it will be interesting, but I am now beyond any need for closure. Yeah, I know for a fact that he's dead and I don't know if these fleeting images are the product of some self-preservationist, subconscious process meant to soothe me or if it's an actual spiritual encounter, whatever it is I can say I am at peace with him. He has rejoined with The Source and has moved on to a better existence, whatever that may be.
While I've lost the need for New Year's Resolutions as a crutch or a way of putting off what I should be doing right now... I still state my intentions for the sake of tradition:
1. Keep trying to be nicer and more understanding with people, having come a long way in this respect since last year there is still a long way to go.
2. Become more involved: with family, with Meeting,with my friends, with life in general. It feels like it is my time to do so after having a decade-long phase of being aloof and rambling around. I've been walking around inside my head far too much. While it leads to a lot of creative and ingenious ideas/projects, it also causes me to be asocial, neurotic and shifts my focus onto distractions instead of essentials for personal growth.
A man I know and respect once stated that "We begin life on a long arc... as a bundle of Spirit with potential and a path in front of us and our existence fades in the same way, with us as a vital bundle of Spirit, with more to give than when we arrived." It feels like my life is approaching the apex of this arc in the next few years. I no longer fear the rest of the journey or the act of dying, these things all happen as part of the big picture. There will be hardships & heartbreak, yet also joy, renewal and love. None of us knows for certain when our time will be up, so do what we can with what we have and live in a State of Grace, eh?