Odd Observations from a Skewed Perspective

Follow suit. Especially bathing suits.

Happiness is a Perspective Away

I say this a lot. It’s one of many mantras that get me through the day (or even those few minutes.) One thing that has always brought “Capital J” Joy into sharp relief was grief. A recent death in my family summoned up a lot of things I’d thought were buried. I, in my arrogance, believed I could overcome such trivialties as human emotion, thereby compartmentalizing and remaining competant during a time in need. I didn’t do half a bad job, if that entails not having to come up with bail money. However, concepts like family, duty, secrets and silence all spark in the dry bushes around funerals. So many raw, exposed nerves are subject to shock, often with terrible repercussions.

“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequence” – W. I. Thomas

My Latin heritage is blatent during these times. I see these episodes like Wild America, and Steve Irwin (Don’t ask. Rest his soul) is narrating the comings and the goings of my extended family as they do the dance of death and decision making. Hordes of lamenting women descend upon hospitals and then retreat, wailing. Someone is fainting, someone is fighting (profanity and fisticuffs – let us be real, we do hail from New York), someone is pleading, loudly. We have yet to reach the actual funeral by this time. Between those points lies the unearthed remains of rumor and reality, the reopened wounds and the stages that consume us all. There were profound moments of reconnection and exhaustion in turns, and more tears than I’d thought possible. All of the missed opportunities had reached up and grabbed me by the throat. However, between courier and counselor, I got to be a cousin; between the tears, I found joy in a different perspective.

“and Joy is Everywhere;
It is in the Earth’s green covering of grass;
In the blue serenity of the Sky;
In the reckless exuberance of Spring;
In the severe abstinence of gray Winter;
In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame;
In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright;
In Living;
In the exercise of all our powers;
In the acquisition of Knowledge; in fighting evils… Joy is there Everywhere.” by Rabindranath Tagore

There was a minute that I was surrounded by the chaos of my family. Music, children, voices – lots of them. Lots of loud, loud voices. No one told me I spoke too loudly. From the food, to the family, it was a taste of home I’d thought I’d lost when my mother had passed on due to advanced stage breast cancer. There was a lot I thought I’d lost when she left, but that is another story.

I wept into my arroz con carnitas. I admit it.

So much I had missed. New members, old members, family recipes, histories and escapades. There was laughter. There was drinking. Things were learned that couldn’t be unlearned. Life was blossoming anew. It was a shitty reason for a family reunion, but we were there and we were trying to reach beyond generations of history. I think we succeeded.

Despite any specificity of belief, whether a great beyond awaits us or dwells within us, that glimmer of joy helped me hold on to my percieved reality for a few more minutes. Perspective was the gift of the life that left us behind, and while I rent this divine spark in me, I will use it to walk in joy. Thanks, Cuz.

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