Look Around.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I should've been a one-armed architect philosopher.

Nothing lasts forever.

That's obvious. Nothing alive is immortal. Even the redwoods will die eventually, although they live many times as long as a human being.

Nothing finite is concrete. No relationship is a completely stable, knowable thing. When two people have something real together, that relationship takes on a life of its own. It becomes a live thing with needs (attention, upkeep, care.) And when that happens, the clock begins to tick. When it lives, it must die.

Sometimes people will stay together their entire lives. That's an amazing thing. I wish for that; to be with another person your entire adult life, to grow old and wise and weird together. It's something I want very much. I never thought I would want that, but then, who really knows what they want until it changes and they realize they were pretty wrong to begin with.

When I was growing up, I saw a lot of harsh things between my mom and her husband. They were never physically violent, but sometimes I thought it would be better if one would just take a bat to the other. Something to break the tension, because you knew it was always just a second away, would have been a relief. It's a sick way to feel, a wrong thing to believe, but it's true and it's what was. Their relationship was volatile. They never seemed very happy, just content or tired in the lulls between inevitable fights. Nothing one did ever seemed good enough for the other. It was sad, because I believe they loved each other very much, in their own way. Whatever that way was, however, is not something I ever want to repeat in my own life.

It's hard, though. It's hard to avoid repeating something when it's the only thing you know. For instance:

My dad had one arm. True story. Maybe I'll write about that someday, not that it ever seemed like something to write about, but some people find it kind of interesting. Actually, he had one and a half arms, but people never would have believed the half was good for nearly as much as it was used. He never missed his missing half arm. He never needed it. He wasn't handicapped. He could do anything you or I could do, he just did it differently.

So. My dad played softball when he was young and into my early childhood. He would catch with his left hand, put the glove under his right armpit, grab the ball out of the glove with his left hand, and throw it wherever it needed to go. His arm was a cannon. He could throw hard and far and fast. He never fell behind, and was an asset to whatever team he played with.

He liked to throw, liked to play catch, and wanted to teach me and my sister to play. He could only catch and throw one way, and this is how he taught me to do it. So I catch and throw with my right hand, and it never occurred to me to try it differently, because it worked for him and it worked for me, and if it isn't broke I'm not going to fix it.

The same thing applies with the way I learned to treat people around me. My mother loved her family so much, it BURNED in her. She would do absolutely anything for absolutely anyone, and often did so to her own detriment. I learned from her to give everything inside myself to the people close to me, and to never stop, no matter what. My son and Cole come first above everyone else in the world. Then my family, then friends, then strangers, then me. You put yourself last so that other people can have what they need and want, then you take for yourself. It's the way she was, the way her sisters and brothers are. It's the way I am, my sisters are, and the way we will teach our children to be.

It's just the relationships themselves, sometimes, that fall by the wayside. The needs I can meet. The desires, the wants, the demands, the whatevers. I can do what a person needs or wants me to do. It's the feelings that I sometimes forget. I don't mean to. My mom didn't mean to. I think the problem was that she could only pay attention to so many live things a time, and she chose the ones she could see. So the people in her life got attention, but the relationships with those people sometimes did not. If that makes sense.

If a relationship between two people is like a bridge between two cities, and my mother was like the Queen who lived in one of the two places, you could say truthfully that she took care of both cities impeccably well. She tended to them, gave them what they needed to prosper. But the bridge would often crumble, go unkempt and fall to rubble. If you can't get from one city to the other, they will both suffer. And so they did. As much as she loved and gave and tried and did, it would sometimes become difficult to maintain the people because she didn't know how to maintain the relationships. So the relationships would become crippled and waste..

I try to keep my relationships with people alive. I try to maintain contact and make sure I show my loved ones and friends that I really do care about what they feel, not just what they want. It's just hard sometimes, and I often feel like I'm groping around in the dark. It feels like I'm a fisherman, always running my fingers along ropes and lines that connect me to the people around me, trying to make sure they aren't frayed and repairing them where they need it. Sometimes things get bad before you realize it, sometimes they need a massive overhaul because they've been accidentally neglected.

I'm trying, though. I think all you can do is try. You have to nurture live things, you have to keep their interests and desires at heart, or they will begin to suffer. I don't want that to happen, I don't want to lose the connections I have. They mean so very much to me.

Nothing is permanent, everything must end. But the ending should be timely, and should come after a life fulfilled.