I sat at my computer staring at the words I had just read, not seeing them. It felt like something inside of me was being rearranged. There was nothing I could do but wait for the pieces to fall into place.
I had just read Eve Marko’s blog post questioning if being unhappy means we’ve failed in our life. It wasn’t a question I’d ever considered and it unlocked something inside of me.
I’ve always had this idea that life is made up of long stretches of ease and peace and times of pain and turmoil. That there were hard times and easy times. Such as when someone you love is sick or dying or the good times being when you find love. As if the events were cordoned off in blocks of time that were either good or bad. And if something good happened, inevitably something bad must follow.
With issues such as my difficult relationship with my family, I believed that if I could just figure it out, that it would all be resolved and I could come to a place of peace. That in the “end” it would all be okay.
But the idea that my unhappiness is not a failure on my part, takes away the blame. It’s not a judgement of my morality because it’s painful for me to be around my family. This upends the way I’ve always looked at the world.
I know that many people have problems with their families, but somehow I always felt like my problems were unique. Somehow my situation was different.
Eve wrote about her 88 year old mother being in a hospital in Jerusalem, and feeling the kind of emotional pain she hadn’t felt since being in a concentration camp. Eve, who lives in Massachusetts, and has given up her mother’s religion to be a Buddhist, is living a life her mother never approved of or understood, no matter how many good works Eve has done.
This is not an unheard of story. It’s one I’ve read and seen in movies again and again. And yet something came together in Eve’s telling it and my reading it at just this moment that allowed me to see clearly, and understand both sides of their story.
And that the situation is not something that will be resolved, and Eve’s strength and her mother’s strength is not something to be rivaled and their life choices not something to be judged in comparison to each other. And although I always understood this idea intellectually, for the first time I embodied the idea. Knowing it in my whole being.
And in Eve and her mother I saw myself and my mother. Different circumstances but the same story.
I was able to see how different issues in my life will evolve but won’t be neatly and finally resolved. There’s no tidy, happy ending. There’s acceptance, and there’s moments of pain and joy and the spectrum of emotions in between.
Life isn’t broken up into neat blocks of time some good and some bad. It’s all things at once, mixed together. A mix of joy and hate and love and anger, in times of pain and times of peace.
For much of my life, I believed there was something wrong with me. That I was a bad person for having different beliefs than my family. For having so many difficulties and struggles. But now I’m seeing there’s nothing wrong with me. This is just the nature of life and I’m living it.