The lesson becomes this. You learn by living. And you hope you’re allowed to apply all of these lessons before your living ends. The nest is vacated as of late, not quite empty but that’s just semantics. The girls have ostensibly evacuated, leaving my wife and me to “fend for ourselves”. We do OK. I cook. She cleans. I repair and remodel. She washes and gardens. I nocturnally smash my head into furniture; she resumes a battle against her dreadful afflictions. But, we do OK. The battles used to be shared. We were mutual combatants in a strained union, dancing precariously on the precipice of a bottomless free-fall. Somehow, the feet always seemed to avoid that finality. You come to be a student of your own mistakes, taking what you can salvage and leaving the unnecessary flotsam for the plankton. The fate has been tickled and in the thick of it, remains our sanity. So we chose to dance; to cling to a life for the prescribed better or worse and try to nurse this wounded beast back to health (or some semblance thereof!) We had gotten into the habit of letting life slip by. But, our new discoveries dictate that if you do that long enough, you die without living (learning the lessons). That needed to be remedied. After all, I repair and remodel, so fixing covers it.
The truth lies in this lesson: love, deserved respect, and forgiveness all seem to be equally important. These make a life well lived. I had lost sight of the importance of the life I had been given. I tried to strive for “poetic perfection”, bucking the system; thinking myself above the “flock”. I went on this journey to find a “higher plane”, without realizing “I had already arrived”. The time wasted trying to honor and glorify my abilities, skewed my sense of priority; it almost destroyed me. I became what I had always been, a small grain of sand on a vast lake shore, a speck in the early evening sky.
My wife and I had come to find something we had lost or forgotten a while back: love, respect and forgiveness. And in the tenderness and embrace of this moment, I fell in love with my wife all over again! And the lesson becomes this. You learn by living. And you hope you’re allowed to apply all of these lessons before your living ends. Whatever happens in this life, that moment belongs to us.
© Walter J. Wojtanik