I’ve thought about this for awhile now trying to decide what my first post should be about. Should I write about me, who I am, what my life’s been like, my family…the usual stuff? Or should I go politics? Or the environment? Or, being from Louisiana and Mississippi, maybe about manners. I think I’ll save all that for later though. Tonight I want to talk about an observation on constants.
It’s been said the only constant is change. But that’s not really true is it? Most of my life I’ve been able to depend on few things. I could count on moving about every 2 years. I could count on getting beat and made to feel like the lowest form of life on Earth. I could count on getting picked on about something stupid. I could count on my parents fighting and my mother crying. I could count on getting into a fight with my little brother. I could count on getting my heartbroken on a regular basis. I could count on missing my grandparents. I could count on disappointment. Both in myself and in the people around me. As I got older I could count on friends dying in combat. I could count on having to watch my back. I could count on chronic back pain ruining my day. I could still count on getting my heart broken.
All of those, in retrospect, were bad things to count on. And it’s no wonder I suffer from bouts of depression. Many of these things I can still count on. However, growing up, there were also a few good things I could count on. The sunrise and the sunset. The stars coming out. The Earth still turning and life going on regardless of what tragedy befell me. And most importantly, I think, I could count on the unwavering unconditional love of my son.
I have the benefit of being from the country and have travelled all over the world. It never ceased to amaze me, whether I was in the woods, sitting on a mountaintop, or sitting in a warzone, the power and tranquility held in each sunrise or sunset. Those are the moments when the entire world goes completely still. If you sit and listen, the birds rarely sing, the squirrels are quiet, the mortar rounds stop coming in for a moment, the clouds themselves seem to stop. Silence. Then the sun slowly crests the horizon. At first just a sliver, then a half, and at that 3/4 mark, the world begins to wake up to a new day. I watched the sunrise this morning and its always one of those rare moments where my soul truly feels at peace.
Sunset was no different. Slowly the sun sinks into the ocean or behind a mountain ridgeline. And again…the silence. It’s such a special moment when wars stop, children stop crying, mothers worry a bit less about their kids, money problems go away, life is simple again for just a moment.
I used to think the stars were constant, but we now know that’s not even true. What we sometimes think are stars, are really manmade satellites and just like this moment, they eventually die and fall. Blackholes swallow real stars, or they die and explode their light twinkling out and often by the time we actually see the pinhole in the heavens, that star is already dead and gone. I watched the falling Soviet satellite burning over us tonight. It didn’t last long, but it was still a magic moment. I rememeber laying in a field watching Haley’s Comet, Hale Bop and many meteor showers.
It’s so hard to believe in anything this day and age. There are so many things that do change and so many disappointments just waiting to happen. It wasn’t long ago when things were going right in my life. I was happily married, I had a good job, the kids were great, my family was doing well. Then in an instant, the worst year of my 38 years hit with a force hard enough to very nearly take me down for good. My grandfather was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. That man was everything I ever aspired to be. The father I should have had. I lost my job. My back got increasingly worse. My marriage began failing. Money was a problem. My grandfather died. My brother and I got into a serious fight the night we buried him. And to add icing on the cake, I was hospitalized with kidney failure after a botched gall bladder removal and a month after I finally get out of the hospital, my wife decides she doesn’t love me anymore and wants a divorce. I was left with nothing but the idea of rebuilding my life, again, alone, at the age of 37.
I wanted to die. There were many moments where I wished I had died in the hospital. But the only thing that was constant, yet again, was my sons undying love and devotion to his dad. The sun rose, the sun set, but I didn’t care. My life was literally falling apart and there wasn’t a damned thing I could do about it.
But…I refused to let it beat me this time. I finally moved back home, went back to work, and started the process of rebuilding all over again. I knew I could count on me. I knew I could count on my son. I knew I could count on the world turning and life going on. That was enough for me. Now I’m working alot. I’m spending every moment I can with my son. I’m buying a new truck when I’m home next and shopping for land for my house. I’ve buried the hatchet with someone I care about I thought was lost to me forever and who knows what the future holds there. Life is looking up.
But I still take a moment and go and sit and watch the sunrise. It’s a time of reflection for me. It’s a time where everything is still, the bad things seem so trivial and the world so big. It’s a moment in time where nothing can go wrong. Where everything seems right. The pain stops. The heartbreak stops. The problems go away. And this day looks so promising. Where the future holds no limits.
So we all need to take that quiet moment. Whether it’s at sunrise or sunset doesn’t matter. But we need to take that time and just listen. You can almost hear the world sigh a breath of relief right along with you. Block out everything and just…stop. It could always be worse. Trust me I’ve been there. It was less than 6 months ago I really believed I’d never see another one.
Change is indeed a constant. But so are life, death, birth, taxes, sunrises and sunsets. By my count, that’s 4 good things vs 2 not so good. I like the odds.