In the comments for Day 1171, Andrea refers to "work to be done" that her father had to complete before he could move on to the next world. For those who believe, there is comfort in such reflections. A life after this one. The opportunity to "tidy up" before the final transfer from one domain to the next.
For those who believe...
One thing is certain about such reflections. They are meant to provide comfort and meaning. I honour that intent . But apart from some death bed reversal of world views (which will not happen), I cannot take comfort from such thoughts.
And so, this evening, as my wife and I watched the Raptors lose their sixth straight game, I broached the subject of "unfinished business", not because I believe the gates of heaven require a special key for me to enter that I must help forge, but because I truly do not want to leave behind a legacy of personal issues that I could have addressed but left undone.
We talked about different people with whom I have had serious conflict. Some family members have openly hoped for reconciliation. But as we discussed such possibilities, we agreed that there is nothing and nobody with whom I must make amends (in the Alcoholics Anonymous sense of the 12-step program).
My life is an open book. My character is best described as "what you see is what you get". If there are some with whom conflict remains, then they will remain - not because I am stubborn (although I am definitely that), but because self examination and reflection tell me that there is no wasted energy bound up with those historical conflicts, nor anything for which I should beg forgiveness. I am at peace, not only with myself, but with others - as much as is possible.
In other comments for the same day, Lorna Scott alluded to her husband and me as candidates for the miraculous. As it happened, in a telephone conversation with my parents today, we also spoke about the possibility of the miraculous. My mother is a believer who not only believes in the intrusion of the supernatural in daily life, but expects it. My father...not so much. But he did say today that he would be delighted if my improving health led to a miracle, the first that he could honestly acknowledge and welcome in his life.
Again, in my world view, the word "miraculous" doesn't work. I am far more amenable to thinking of continuing health as a positive "black swan" event (see some of my posts which talk about the impact of the highly improbable and Nicholas Taleb's work). But however we talk about it, whatever metaphors and imagery we choose to describe possible meanings for such phenomena, the point we are each making is roughly the same.
Lorna also referenced the necessity of approaching the good and the bad on a minute-by-minute basis. My wife and I also decided, in this evening's reflections, that this is truly the only viable way to approach the future. When pain threatens my equilibrium, deal with it moment by moment. When hope brightens the horizon, enjoy the gift, taking it in moment by moment. When uncertainty is dominant, reflect on the possibilities momentarily, choose a course of action, move forward, and then review as the moments for reflection arise.
I am grateful for all of you. As we discuss such issues, we discover jointly the wisdom that works for each of us individually. It will undoubtedly not be the same wisdom, for each of us are unique individuals. But there will be wisdom nonetheless.
There were others this week with whom I visited who also provided gifts of wisdom and sharing. You know who you are. Soup, sailing, singing. Each deserves a blog, but this is it for now...