but forever was too good to be true (AA Milne), I was reflecting on this quote as I read 16 Thoughts On Life from Winnie The Pooh http://www.morefm.co.nz/16-Thoughts-on-Life-From-Winnie-The-Pooh/tabid/520/articleID/11484/Default.aspx .
I thought back to my childhood and tried to remember what my first experience of impermanence was, two incidents stick out in my memory. Both of these are related to death. The first was of a pet goat that we had. I can remember it well, it somehow got its rope tangled as it was climbing on a fallen tree, it ended up strangled by the rope. I remember well its still warm body and the tears I cried, I also remember the merciless teasing I got at school due to to one of my cousins regaling the students with how I cried and what a baby I was. That cousin was an arsehole then and I don’t think much has changed, he was an abusive bully,however enough said. I pondered then on whether animals go to heaven, I have no definite position to posit on that apart from the belief that all things are possible. My second personal experience on impermanence was another death. I had encountered death before this as I had served as an altar boy and helped Priests in conducting services and had sung as part of a choir in requiem mass. This was different because I had no cognisance of those people as living people.
My memory of this event is quite firm however it is some 40 years distant , it was a late night phone call that woke us, we heard that a cousin of mine, Kevin, had been in an accident and had died. Kevin or Pipi as he was known was as large as life to us, he would appear on his motorbike, sometimes with no warning and here it was with no warning he was gone. His was the first dead body i have seen. I have seen many since then. We went to the Huntly Catholic Church for his mass. I helped celebrate the mass I remember lighting the charcoal and pouring the incense into the Thurible,the Priest swung it as he conducted the final rights in rhythmic arcs with its gentle clinking of the chain and its familiar scent. I think at that stage I realised that life was fragile. Since then I have experienced death a number of times, some expected and perhaps even good, others well…. death is what it is.
At a level I understand the impermanence of life, I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people, I know some people who are fighting cancer at the moment, it seems so unfair. Death for the most part is not something we have control over. There is something that we think we have control over and yet to my cost I have found that it is not so.
I am talking about love here. I recently blogged on love, I posited that Love was a choice, it could be turned on and off, I even held that for me agape love was a choice and that I found it relatively easy. When I think on this I realise that actually there are some people whom I find it very difficult to love or to continue to love. That they have trespassed upon my soul in such a way that the hurt imposed has become an overwhelming barrier to being able to continue to love them. Paradoxically I have been hurt grievously by others and yet still continue to love them (yet wish that I didn’t at times). You see as Piglet says you cannot spell love you can only feel it. Love is much more than a word, love which is only expressed in words is not love at all, it is just words, words are impermanent, they can be erased, deleted,removed in an instant, just graffiti on a wall waiting for a fresh cot of paint to render them invisible actions however are very different.
Actions do their own speaking, they don’t need words to emphasise, validate, or illuminate them. I have learnt that the l word is just a word when it is not backed up by actions. I am not talking about grandiose displays, large gifts or other tangible expressions but I speak of the small thing, the whispered encouragements, the secret notes, the acts of sacrifice and giving of oneself. The thing is this, these actions are not confined to a “relationship” that is between two people, they do not have to be driven by eros, in my experience such a driven relationship will fall especially when the giving is one sided. Unfortunately I like many other people have become very weary of the l word, I am not sure that I can let that genie out of the bottle again.
You see to love someone is to risk being hurt, I have learnt that from both ends of the spectrum from being hurt and from hurting someone else. Neither of those things are acceptable to me, neither masochist nor sadist I am. As to what I am I cannot really tell you right now beyond being a father, friend and writer.