Not the Natural Order?

The sun shone through my healing room window today. The natural light brightened my room. It fell on a lovely angel statue someone kindly gave me a while ago.

As I sat there I thought about a conversation from last night. It was a conversation I’ve had many times in my journey as a counsellor and then as a medium. I sat after my service talking to a lady who was going to be burying her son today. She couldn’t believe he was gone. She told me it didn’t seem natural. And I had to agree with her. We have an expectation, an order of dying, that says the oldest go first. Then life shows us that it can be anyone. From only moments old to a hundred years. There is no certainty of the order of our dying. Only that we must.

At lunchtime I sat with a good friend of mine talking about retirement. I guess it’s what we all look forward to. The idea that work ceases to be the central point of our lives and leisure can take over. But even that is uncertain. I came out of a job several times because there was no more work. Or I was ill. Eventually I became someone who had my own business. Because of this I don’t necessarily see myself as stopping. Slowing down maybe. Plus I enjoy what I’m doing so much that I want to keep on doing it. At least until it stops being my passion and some other occupation becomes more natural for me.

We talked about our work plans. What skill was a natural fit with another ability. At what point is it time to move from one thing to another.

I remember a long time ago studying some statistics for my sociology course. They seemed to show that men lived shorter lives than women. One of the ideas put forward for this was that once a man retired his lack of an occupation made him feel useless and he fretted himself away. I wondered at the time if this was the natural order of things. I guess I kept that thought in the back of my mind as I watched older men who I knew sort of fade away when they retired. Then today it came back to the front of my thoughts.

The reality of my eventual death can be an unsettling, upsetting uncertainty. Or it can be something I embrace. In the same way that I know people have died ‘before their time’ so to speak I know that I have no idea how much time I’ve got either. Perhaps it’s a natural reaction to want to hide from the uncertainty. To put time and energy into planning a future because that way it’s sure to happen. If I expect to get my pension in xx years then I’m sure to be around to collect it. Aren’t I?

If there is no natural order to life perhaps it is more important for me to do those things I enjoy right now. Rather than putting off my leisure until I ‘retire’ it might be time for me to grab whatever opportunities come my way.

And because there is no certainty for any of us I can encourage my daughter, my family and my friends to make sure they are enjoying what they do too. Taking the chances offered. Exploring new ways of living. Making sure that I and they build lots of lovely and loving memories of our shared lives. Because the most powerful thing I took from the conversation with that lady last night was her memories of her son. I hope that as she moves through her grief those memories will sustain her and give her strength. She has other children who will need her example to help them through their loss too. Together they can help each other deal with something that feels unnatural. And I need to live my life to the full, right here and right now.

Day 442 of my blogging challenge. 

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