The spring semester of my junior year in college started out as a rough one. I was going through some relationship issues, feeling what it felt like to get my heart broken, feeling like I was falling to pieces. So dramatic, as I look back now… but at the time, my whole life felt like it was over. HOW could I possibly deal with the relationship ending? This was the first time in my life someone else made that decision for me. I was learning a great lesson that year. I look back, thankful to have learned it. My heart grew regardless. I was becoming smarter with how and when I gave it out.
I can remember very vividly sitting in a philosophy class one morning, totally zoning out. I was trying to go over the events in my mind about what had happened, and if there was an opportunity to fix it. I came back to reality in the middle of a deep discussion about Heraclitus and his ideas about being in flux, how if “becoming,” or the art of change stopped, that “being” would stop too. Funny how, all these years later (and yes, it is ALL these years) I have remembered the details of that class to a “T.” It stuck with me.
So, my junior year in college I was being. I was living in those moments of being hurt, of being sad and angry and of being fragile. I understood and quickly learned how matters of the heart can be harder than anything in our existence. In being, at that time, I just “was.” But even more so, I was becoming a stronger person with a bigger heart and less afraid to share it.
These days, I often speak about my amazing mom, how she is dealing with a disease that has her completely unable to do anything. Some days I am angry about it, question why it’s happening and don’t really get the answers I want. Some days, I am being impatient, being scared to lose her, and at the same time hating to watch her being robbed of her self.
I spent last sunday at my sister’s house, visiting my family. A few of us took a ride up to to orchard to pick peaches and enjoy the view from the top of the hill. The peaches were perfect, just like the view. It felt like an escape from a hard day with mom. It wasn’t her best day. She was becoming agitated, frustrated and angry. I have to say I would too if I struggled to communicate and just live any kind of normal life like she does. When we got back, I spent a few minutes while no one was really around and sat next to her while she was in her wheelchair at the table. I put my arm around her and like I had experienced before, I was content just being. Every moment I spend with my mom reminds me of the simple things, the things we all take for granted. I feel I am becoming stronger and more patient through this disease.
So Heraclitus talked about being and becoming. Being comes from change. Becoming is change. You can’t have one without the other.
Isn’t that what we learn every day? Life is about being and becoming.
When I left my mom last Sunday, I kissed her and looked her in the eyes and told her I loved her. She always has this amazing need to make sure I am ok. I can tell she is trying to ask me with her tone and the look in her eyes. In those moments I can see her being mom. And I feel an instant deep connection to that love… that unconditional love that continues to grow.
I would be lying if I said that my heart doesn’t ache over it, that’s it’s perfect and strong and doesn’t feel pain through some of these rough times. But somehow, the simple things have become the most important moments I have. Breathing the air in the orchard, for a second alone, staring at the most beautiful peach I have ever seen. The view on the hill. Being able to feel and see the chair in that philosophy class as I write this. Watching and feeling the peacefulness of my dog sleeping next to me on the couch, hearing her quiet snore.
The quiet, calm love I feel when I look in my mom’s eyes. No words she could ever say compare to what I see in her face when I say I love you.
I have allowed myself to just be, and I am hopeful and still.
I can’t wait to see what I become.
Life is… being and becoming.