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We skeptic types love to ponder what is true in the world and what is not. Here is an experience I just had that may surprise you. It is true, and it reflects truth.

It was a beautiful and tranquil summer evening. The line of thundershowers came through with the cool front around sunset. The tops of the retreating rainbows and low clouds to the east now reflected the orange glow almost as if the sun were setting in the wrong direction. But alas the sun had done its job many times prior, and didn’t need reminders from me.

As dusk fell into darkness against the clearing, cool skies, there was a great hush and stillness. Yes, it was late on a Monday evening, so it should not have been surprising that the slight fog over the damp roads was hovering undisturbed. There were no cars. There were not even other people out in the suddenly chilled, dryer evening air that was filtering in. It was just me and my unbridled Siberian Husky, and even she wasn’t in much of a hurry to explore ahead of me. The lights in the houses advertised that like my family, many had decided to retire early in preparation for a busy Tuesday.

Sometimes on these quiet evening walks, I can’t help but think about love. I think about the love that wasn’t—mere fantasies about people, adventures, or places that existed mostly in my head, not in reality. Then my thoughts turn to the real loves that have been lost. There is genuine sadness. Oh for one more day. Oh for one more conversation.

I came upon the house where he lived so abundantly. Like most of the others there were but a couple of windows that showed any light behind them, and even there it was faint. Such a large house it is for her, but I know she’ll never leave it, any more than my mother would leave hers, or her mother before her would have left hers, or the widow across the street would leave hers. That was the place it had all happened—the joy, the struggles, the pain, the celebrations, the birthdays, the holidays and family reunions.

And on this night, as I paused and looked at the giant old farmhouse, something peculiar happened. The cool night air, as if in tribute to my thoughts, and his memory, swirled suddenly and dramatically in a post-frontal gasp of low-level churning, that moments before had seemed fully exhausted for the day, like everyone else.

I don’t for a minute believe the narrative, but it was fun to imagine some breath of life—some ancient “pneuma”—being expressed in that animated force that was causing the large gyrations among the newly leaf-laden branches of the tall old maples. It was then that the truth of the matter hit me, and left me with a thoughtful smile.

His love has transcended death. It lives on. It lives on when we toss our golf clubs in the car and head out for an afternoon of relaxation, and I think of the joy he found on the course in that final year we had him with us. It lives on when the grass is freshly cut in stripes the way he liked it. It lives on when we pour a cold Killian’s on a Friday night and enjoy a plate of nachos.

The truth was that that breeze contained a tribute to the reality that he touched and influenced my life—even if the content of the breeze was only in my head. Nonetheless it was real. He was my friend, and I miss him.

The walk didn’t end at his house, however, nor did the reflections. Sometimes we feel lonely when we dwell only on the loves we’ve lost, but I have love in abundance. Some days it isn’t in the form I’d like the most; some days it isn’t in the quantity, or at the time and place, or maybe even from the person I most need it from; but on whole, it surrounds me and I am grateful. I hope I can reflect and share all that love the way he did. It’s my desire that someday, long after I am gone, someone will see the trees sway and think of me.

And I hope they think the same things I think of my old friend: that he loved us, and shared that love wastefully, and without any expectations of repayment. We may not have eternal life, but when people are remembered that way, there is most certainly an extension of their lives, of their essences, beyond death. That is real, and it is true.

Whatever your beliefs, embrace this day and look to the breezes to remind you of love that lives on.

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(By Stephen L. Gibson, © 2009, Truth-Driven Strategies LLC; www.truthdriventhinking.com and https://truthdriven.wordpress.com)

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