Ah, the wonderful, mighty Internet. Sometimes it’s a source of frustration; other times a distraction from what I need to do, sometimes from what I want to to do. It can be a source of comfort, inspiration, and occasionally even joy. Today the Internet was for me a “light bulb moment,” one of those rare stumbles upon something that sparks a thought in my head. A thought that stopped me in my tracks before I even got going. A catalyst that changed the trajectory of my day before it had barely even begun to take shape in my mind.
I subscribe to a site called “Inspiring Quotes.” If you already know me, you are well aware of how important words are to me — both my words and those of others. Sometimes the words I write have been carefully thought out and chosen; words painstakingly matched with thoughts to express an emotion I am feeling. Other times words just spring up in my head, unceremoniously and unannounced, pouring out of my brain so quickly that I can barely get to my journal fast enough to write them down before they are gone forever. Sometimes they make me smile or laugh. Another time they might make me sad or cry. But, no matter what their end effect on me, words always have their beginning deep inside my soul, snatched from an unknown repository that I myself cannot quantify, much less fully understand. Then, there are those times like this morning when the words of another writer ignite the spark that starts the cogs and wheels of my mind whirring and, just like that, a thought is born. Emotions are put into words. Feelings are better understood. Meaning is given to a question I have been pondering. Today, it would seem, was one of those days.
Marcel Proust was a writer, who, in the period of his life between 1909 when he was 38, and his death in 1922, wrote what is considered a monumental work entitled Lost Time. An impressive 3,200 pages that fill seven volumes, this work would turn out to have an important impact on other writers, such as Virginia Woolf. Though I am aware of this work, I have never read it, per say. I do, however, know that the prominent theme throughout all of those thousands of pages is memory. “Memory,” I think to myself. “It has, for the last nearly two years since my husband died, been the center of my life.” Memories that I have wrestled with, regretted, cried over. Memories that I have sometimes wished would fade into oblivion, but oh so many more that have sustained me through turbulent, troubled times of grief.
And the quote that spoke to me and clicked my mind into writing mode today was this:
We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us. ~Marcel Proust
“So,” I ask myself, “am I wiser now because of what I have gone through since Brian’s death?” Without a moment’s hesitation I would answer, “Yes, most definitely.” If you asked me if it was wisdom I am glad I have gained, I would say, “Yes and No.” YES, because I now understand, or at least am more cognizant of, feelings and thoughts that I never knew existed. Feelings that the “Me Before” was only acquainted with through books and the experiences of others. NO, because there are too many times to count when I have wished I’d never been put in the position to gain the wisdom I now have. Wisdom gained through tears, heartbreak, loneliness and sorrow. Yet, on my very personal “journey through the wilderness” of loss and its ensuing grief, I know I’ve gained wisdom that was previously unthinkable. Wisdom, that though bought at a high emotional cost, will serve me well as I live out the rest of my time here. Wisdom that would not have been possible had life not stopped me in my tracks, forced me to remember, and set me out on an entirely different life path. While I don’t feel I am “There” yet — where ever “There” may be — I am well aware that I may never get “There,” and that if I do, I may not even know I have arrived. What I do know is that I am on my way there, and I am convinced that I can do it— arriving “There” as one, gloriously new Me.
~by Julie Gentz~
Perhaps life is not so much TO DO, as it is
To Be at peace with one’s self.
To Be content with what one has,
yet to never stop being open to what new things come your way.
To Be happy, even when you aren’t sure why, or don’t see happiness around you.
To Be a seeker, yet to not try and see too far beyond your line of sight,
though still far ahead enough to dream.
To Be the best human being you can be for as much of your time
here as you are given.
And, most of all,
To Be a light, not only for your own path,
but for paths of others as well.
To Be whole.
To Be complete.
To Be genuine.
To Be until your being is but a loving memory.
And, to quote Proust one last time:
What matters in life is not whom or what one loves, it is the fact of loving.