“…That the powerful play goes on and you might contribute a verse.”
-Walt Whitman (O Me! O Life!)
“What will your verse be?”- Robin Williams (Dead Poet’s Society)
I couldn’t sleep last night. This echoed in my ear over and over again. Dead Poet’s Society has long and forever been my favorite movie, and Robin Williams my all time favorite actor. But, I must admit neither often keeps me awake unless things are on my mind.
My father-in-law passed away last week. His funeral was Saturday. Parkinson’s was ruthless and took its time ravaging his body. Yet, through the end his spirit never wavered. During more than one conversation we had over the past few months, he would often say, “God in the front.” He would tell it to me in English, and in Spanish, but I won’t pretend to be able to even type the Spanish version. The conversation often led back to the same sentiment. “Everything went wrong when we stopped putting God in the front.” He meant in life. In the world. In the chaos. In the anger and the hatred so often around us. To him it was simple. It was powerful to hear him explain it.
I realize not everyone shares my faith, and I am ok with that. What I do wish for everyone is a belief in something that can help you maintain your poise and grace through indescribable agony or just generally difficult times. Because none of us know what our future holds. But, as Walt Whitman said, even after we have left this earth, “…the powerful play goes on, and you might contribute a verse.”
What is my father-in-law’s verse? To me it is everything. My husband. My daughter. Their light. Their souls. Their spirits. Their hearts. He contributed to this world two of the most spectacular humans. The powerful play goes on. He rests now. But his verse, it has ripple effects.
A very young grandchild of a family friend had a very near miss on a life and death experience this week. He is recovering. I spent many hours talking to God about what his verse could be, and how much he could still do here on this earth. Heaven had enough angels. It was not the first miracle I have witnessed.
What will your verse be?
I’ve reached a point in my life, where I will not give people the power to affect me negatively. My older sister has given me this advice countless times, but it is finally starting to register.
Meghan and I have talked a lot about the Nature vs. Nurture debate these last few weeks. We’ve played what if games with a ton of scenarios. The thing about this debate is the only truth is, it’s both. Nature and nurture impact who we become. Sometimes one is more powerful than the other, by no fault or credit of anyone. But, it’s undeniable that they cross over. All the time.
Bad things happen. We can’t always choose those things.
Relationships with both family and friends sometimes sour. We can’t always fix it.
Health sometimes fails by no fault of our own.
Sometimes there’s a global pandemic, and everything gets turned on its ear.
We often can’t choose what happens to us.
What we can choose is our response to those things.
And often, it is the response you choose that can lead you to peace in the darkest hours.
Life is not easy. I am not telling you I’m never mad, or sad, or flat out angry. I’m human.
But, lately I’ve been choosing to spend less and less time in the dark places. And while I recognize getting to the point where you can make that choice is in and of itself a battle for some, I know that everyone moves at their own pace. For me I’m at a place where I’m choosing the light. I’m choosing not to give people power over my happiness. I’m choosing to put “God in the front.”
I am 4 weeks post op from a major foot surgery, and still non weight bearing. The other day I went out on my crutches determined to drop a package at the post office and put gas in my car. Three separate people stopped to offer me help at the post office, and a kind old gentleman insisted on pumping my gas. I saw so much good.
I choose to think its always there, but it stuck out so much more because I am prepared to seek it.
What will MY verse be?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot. The truth is, I don’t know. But, I do know I want to start forming it now.
Having a rare disease, and also just having open eyes and ears has grounded me in the reality that there is no promise of tomorrow on this earth.
What will MY verse be?
I’m not sure yet. But, I’m working on it. One day at a time.