Sunday, November 14, 2021

Life is Beautiful, Life is Hard

Life is beautiful. Life is hard.

A friend said those words to me recently, after reading a Facebook post in which I described two consecutive days in October. On the first day, my husband, who is 81 and has Parkinson's, fell, almost first thing in the day. Now mind you, the Parkinson's makes him very unsteady when initiating movement or turning, so he falls several times a month. For a slim guy, he bounces pretty well, and hasn't really hurt himself. But when it happens, it's always a shock. Sometimes, we just laugh and say, "Phew! Close call!" Other times, like that day, it upsets us and hovers over the day like a dark cloud, portending an imagined future doom. 

The next day, I received word that one of my poems had done well - for the second time - in an international poetry competition. For me, this was a sign that I am not wasting my time when I sit down to put words on paper. That among my gifts is the ability to put words together in a way that moves people. A sign that I should keep going, keep working, keep playing, with words. 

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. One day you fall, the next day you get good news.

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. I practice living with this daily now. Not just in my meditation practice, but in my thought process throughout the day: 

Can I hold in one hand the knowledge that things change, that everything is temporary, including our loved ones and ourselves, that bad news can come at any moment, that we can be laughing one minute and crying out in pain the next because we've taken a fall, the mind fearful of what might come next,

and in the other, hold

the joy of watching ducks float by on the pond, simple daily rituals, a chat with a friend, a laugh with my brother or sister, an appreciative word from a student, a handwritten note in the mail, a 50% off sale, sun sparkling on water, having a home and all I need to live, getting up again after a fall with only a bruised knee and ego, a bit of good news about my writing?

Life is beautiful. Life is hard. This is my practice now. Allowing for both, without clinging to one  or denying the other. Holding one in my left hand, and the other in my right. Bringing my hands together in front of my heart. Allowing them to mingle and co-exist.

Life is beautiful. Life is hard.