Monday, 4 November 2013

A Tale Of Two Cities

Charles Dickens says it best in the oft-quoted and classic opening paragraph in his novel, A Tale of Two Cities... "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

This time in my life heralded by such point-counterpoint. There times, moments, days when I feel so blessed, so fortunate, so happy. There are days when I feel like this is the best time of my life, like each day is as happy as I have ever been. There are days when despair overwhelms me, when fear strips me as the leaves from the trees by winter bluster. These warring emotions battle over my spirit, constantly stabbing and thrusting, lancing from the depths of my soul, piercing my heart frontally and enfilading my courage obliquely, the light warding off the dark, the warmth defeating the cold. It is not manic; I do not fling wildly from one to the other. I feel both, at the same time, working within me. I accept, as two sides of the coin of my life, these mortally locked companions, joy and sadness.

Yesterday was a day of happiness, even great happiness. Yesterday I felt, for much of the day, that this was a good part of my life, even a great part of my life. Yesterday I got to visit with my family and friends, felt free and alive, shared parts of myself with people who care. Yesterday I laughed and felt joy. Today will be like that too, I hope, a day where I will visit my daughters and granddaughter, where I will explore the wild country of backwoods BC, where I will see life in all its glory and winter in all its power. I am truly alive outdoors.

Part of the freedom I feel these days, a large part of what gives me joy, is the sense that, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I get to be myself, unencumbered by the thoughts of what my wife, or my children, or my family, or my friends might think. These days I am living more as who I am than I have ever done in the past.

I know who I am. I am loud, boisterous, at times outrageous. I am difficult and easy going. I am silly and serious, laughing and deep in thought, generous and parsimonious, courageous and fearful. I am worthy of trust, supportive of those who care for me and even those who don't, caring of others regardless of their response, and willing to give. I am an emotional human being continually growing to be who I am without fear of repercussion; well, almost. I am getting closer but not yet there completely. Most of all, I am me. I am, as all of us, a work in progress.

I know I have failings and faults; these are a part of me. I will no longer apologize for being who and what I am. I reject those doubts of my worth and value. For the first time in as long as I can recall, perhaps for the first time ever, I am who I am without regret. That makes me happy. My days are short, my life uncertain, shadowed. This makes me sad. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

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