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Icing on the Cake
I recently lost an uncle to whom I was very close, and since his passing have been dealing with all the emotions and issues that arise in such times. It has, to say the least, been a vivid reminder of the temporal nature of these lives we live. After all, not even another breath is promised to any of us.
His death brought the realization of how fleeting life really is when events past are viewed from the perspective of now, and that the mortality at issue wasn't just his.
It was my own. And that magnified the hurt a hundredfold. For not only did I now have to go on without him – I had to deal with the fact that a big chunk of my own life was over, and that the clock was ticking off the seconds until it was ended.
Oh, no! What pressure had I just put upon myself, to think that in the midst of my grieving something inside was drawing my attention not to the pain of his loss, but to how much or little time I had left and what I was going to do with it.
Yikes. Talk about being torn. Here I was riding the roller coaster of emotions that come with loss of a loved one, fighting to hold back the tears. And in the midst of it all, I kept looking at my own life. Or more precisely, at myself – not from a self-judgment sense, but rather trying to understand a feeling that's been gnawing away in me for a long time – that my soul has unfinished business, and that completion was somehow within reach this time around.
Somehow that troubled me, though.
Being a metaphysical kind of guy who believes in reincarnation, the prospects of my own death don't usually bother me. But this sense of unfinished business did. For it heaped an enormous amount of pressure on me – at the worst possible time – to get it right before that clock stopped ticking.
So I did what any red-blooded disciple of the light would do. I opened a dialogue with my soul and asked, “What's going on?”
It wasn't a pretty picture.
Over the years I've received glimpses of what I understood to be other lives. Or at least of certain situations from them that have, when strung together, given me the feeling that this life is the culmination of a common theme that has crossed all of them.
That theme involved a socio-spiritual activism where I explored from many sides the complex energies of human relations, especially those of individuality vs. status quo, and how they related to the spiritual understandings that guided our development. The roles were varied. Some were predictable – explorer, priest, way shower, student, and teacher. Others were less so – scapegoat, slave, judge, soldier spreading the faith with a sword, as well as ones involving leadership or being part of a ruling elite. There were even some lives as revolutionary thrown in as well.
Somehow I was filled with the impression that these were coming to a head in this life, though when, where and how I had no idea.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
On one level, I could see my life is about knowing and perfecting me. Lord knows that's a big enough job, one that has humbled me many a time already!
On another, I could see that same theme running through this life as well. But in this one, it was with clear vision and understanding of how will and desire interact in human relations, and how we might consciously evolve from here.
I guess that's why over the last couple years I've been drawn toward the contentious world of politics and economics where our common affairs are shaped, though thankfully so far not as a participant but as a voice to suggest another way.
Where my path goes from here I wasn't shown. Whether there will be some contribution, much less completion, involved I'll have to discover for myself.
But one point was driven home. Or should I say, a lesson I've long been sharing was reinforced.
What's most important isn't what I learn or do, nor any legacy I leave behind. It is about the people I make that journey with, and the connection we share along the way. It is this connection that allows us to love and be loved. But too often our thoughts and beliefs get in the way.
Regardless of what happens, if I do anything with the rest of my life, what I want to do most is to love the people in my life. I guess that's the greatest lesson of free will anyway – learning how to love, and not being afraid to do it. And allowing ourselves to be loved as well.
My uncle's death made me realize that's enough. In fact, the only legacy we truly leave when we're gone is the love we leave behind.
All the rest is icing on the cake.