“If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.”
Good morning, friends! With Valentine’s Day just passed I thought a thought on love would be in order. I had a most marvelous Valentine’s Day; I hope you did too. Anywho, let’s get to it.
A few years ago I was sitting in the front room of a very senior adult lady who seemed to be in the shadow of the end of life. It wasn’t necessarily eminent, but it was circling. As we spoke I asked her about deeper things of life: what her accomplishments were, how she felt about the important relationships in her life, and what, if any, were her current fears. We had a wonderful time of honesty (a quite rare experience, in my experience) and when we got to “fears” she only expressed that she feared being forgotten. We were deep in the mire of honesty.
My training as a coach moved me to let her comment rest in the air. I watched as she wrestled with the expression of the honest fear; I didn’t want to remove the power of the moment with any cliché or flippant foolish answer or solution. She spoke, in her honesty, of something deep within us all. I was wrestling, too.
Recently a mentor of mine simplified a road of the human journey for me. We begin life completely indifferent to the thoughts of anyone, absorbed in our own life. We next experience an awkward suspicion that everyone is thinking about us, talking about us, and consumed with the coming and goings of our lives. These teen years pass quickly, thankfully. Soon enough in young adulthood we begin to wonder if anyone, anyone at all, is actually thinking about us at all. Penultimately, we find the stage of life when we realize that in fact no one is thinking about us at all; everyone is thinking completely of themselves, just as we are of ourselves. And finally we reach the stage of my elderly lady, when our fear is being forgotten. Such is the journey of the disconnected life.
Love (giving, selfless, outward) is ironically the experience that connects us, one to another, in ways that nothing inward, selfish or keeping can do. So many of us believe that we build our lives by accumulating and holding only to realize, often too late, that we didn’t invest in the right thing: loving relationships. But a simple eye test shows us that the most loving people among us are the richest in positive, affirming relationships.
My elderly friend indeed was remembered, with love by many people. She was a kind, loving woman and was blessed in her final days with affections far beyond her front room. We agreed that her fears were real but unfounded. She feared what we all fear in time; whether our fears are unfounded is another matter. Love enough people and it won’t matter who forgets you. Too many people will remember you to even count! Love, love and love, and be loved. It really is the very best way. And may I say I too love you. And have a wonderful week.