Why am I here?

February 18, 2013

Maybe it’s my age or maybe it’s some other reason 

but I think about the big things a lot these days. 
 Such as, Why am I here? 

 Kierkegaard was right.
Life can only be understood in retrospect, 
and maybe not even then. 

But I believe everyone’s here for a reason: 
to learn a lesson, 
or to contribute something, 
and I’ve been doing my best to figure out what I’m doing here.

I’ve come to see that my life has been all about love: 

the scarcity of love
its value
finding it
losing it
abundant love
surprising love
love denied
love withheld
and love returned
insufficient love
romantic love
family love

Just love.

But not in the traditional way we think about it.
The Universe, Source, God,
has given it and taken it away, 
challenging me to learn new ways
to fill the voids left behind
and in that finding,
to learn love’s true meaning.

I definitely bought the 1950s TV version of loving family
and knew young I didn’t have it. 
As a little girl, I felt some shame at that.
Why didn’t I have what I believed everyone else had?
Decades ago I sat in my therapist’s office
and comforted that little girl,
tearfully and with deep compassion.
It took me a long time to understand 
that TV families didn’t reflect reality;
they were fiction.
By the time I did, though, I’d internalized that my own family
had real and serious dysfunctions.
I made the best of it, I did.
I loved my very flawed mother: loving, insecure, 
generous, self-centered, smart and human;
she died young, at 74.
Despite her flaws she was the pivot point
of our broken family, the misshapen anchor,
but an anchor nonetheless
and after she was gone
the shit really hit the fan.
My father, authoritarian, opinionated,
driven, conservative, generous but
sometimes mean,
and judgmental
got Alzheimer’s in what should have been his golden years
and wasted away his final decade in an unfamiliar world.
My sister, the baby who was always treated that way
grew up feeling less than and that was how she lived her life.
Envious, withholding, grasping, empty.
My brother, the only boy, treated like a prince,
chafed under my father’s iron thumb
and then grew up in his darkest image.
All four of them, lost to me,
two by death 
and two by dysfunction.
Who wouldn’t feel a void?
Love withheld.
Love denied.
Love lost.
 But then, like rogue flowers springing up in a garden
a loving new family appeared.
A sisterhood I knew and loved
and who knew and loved me in return.
A mother figure I got to keep
through the generous love of her son.
{If you’re thinking Jesus and the Virgin Mother
you’re going down the wrong road.}
Male friends who became
confidantes and brothers.
My sister-in-love and I built a close relationship
on new, more solid ground, after her painful divorce
from our dysfunctional family.
Her own sisters lovingly welcomed me
into their circle of sisterhood.
My nephew, my fabulous nephew,
who sees clearly and loves deeply.
And my not-blood-but-like-blood nephew in Tampa.
My husband, whose love has lasted
44 years, despite a 27-year separation.
Now there’s a lesson.

Love regenerates

if you let it
and my life’s the richer for the letting.
Letting go of the fantasy
was also required, 
that fiction that Father Knows Best
or The Beave had it good.
Until you’ve tried to do that
you don’t know how powerful
media images are.
How we buy into them without even knowing.
And I barely touched on romance,
which had its own share of love found,
lost, denied and rediscovered.
I’ve come to learn that the Beatles were right:
 love is all there is, really.
And though it might wither and die,
lie fallow
or be pulled from its roots
another form of love is always present.
You just have to be willing to look for it
and accept that it can come from unexpected places.
And is not any lesser for having done so.

8 comments on “Why am I here?
  1. I have been so blessed to have found real, solid love in my marriage – amazing to me, as my parents had the most unstable relationship that ended in divorce. I am thankful every day for this.

  2. Love one another-the second great commandment. It isn’t easy but it brings such wonderful rewards. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Beautifully written.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Life has so many layers. Molly c

  4. This is inspiring in so many ways…

  5. SO many levels of pain and thoughtfullness. YOu take me down and bring me up…wonderful, painful..

  6. geekbabe says:

    Ah, our family of origin! I suspect a huge part of being self-actualized adults lies in our ability to reconcile our dreams of the family we wish we had with the reality of the actual family we were born into. Melding the great traits we inherited while extinguishing the bad & forging the whole thing together with the fire that is our own unique passions.

    The 1st person we need to love & accept fully is ourselves.

  7. Problems like yours (and mine!) led me to become the Midlife Crisis Queen and write books like: How to Believe in Love Again, and Find Your Reason to Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife.
    They might help you find more love and meaning in your life…

  8. R says:

    “you don’t know how powerful
    media images are.
    How we buy into them without even knowing”


    Though it’s not just media images.

    Dr Timothy Leary – “think for yourself and question authority”.

    My interpretation of “authority” is any source of information – not literally authority figures. The fact something makes sense does not make it ‘true’.

    One of my favourite books is Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander. He wrote it in 1978 and in my opinion the book was well ahead of its time.

    The book does not focus on how TV is rubbish – the focus is how the physical television itself is the problem, i.e. the medium and technology, and thus cannot be reformed. Such an interesting book, I highly recommend it.

    Another great post M.A.D

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