the Basica

  Not because we should dwell on such matters and become mired, but because we must be able to face all of life in order to truly embrace it, there is the need for us to acknowledge and accept those truths which make us sad, angry, or frightened. It is no good to try and convince ourselves that we shouldn't feel as we do. And if our joy and love are based on attempting to hide from or deny that which we find most unpleasant, we must become so shut up that we eventually have no room inside for any chance to really live. Instead, we simply exist, and still the inevitable eventually comes. We cannot stave it off. We can only live in dread of it until it finally arrives... or reach out our arms and wrap them fully around life, as far as they can reach.

  To give an example, yes, let us admit it openly, lest we allow our dread to overtake us and cast a pall over everything we cherish: Everyone we care about will eventually die. Everyone. And the longer we live, the more of them will die during our lifetime. But not all - not if we continue to make new friends, spend time with family, intermingle with younger generations... The connections we maintain and the new ones we forge can never take the place of the ones we lose. But we need not allow human contact to be whittled away into nothing. What would be missed by that course is not worth the weak and unhappy shield of a cold heart.

  No silver lining need be sought for every sorrow in order to know that life remains rich and beautiful, though we may fairly and understandably forget from time to time as we deal with grief and pain. It is surely not true that only one emotion can be held in the heart at a time. And so joy can come to be remembered again, even in the midst of pain.

  In this same light, let us also see that life can be embraced even despite knowledge of the road not taken. Might you be better or your life more worthwhile had you made different choices in the past? It would surely be quite different. But then it would be the life of someone else and not that of the person you actually have become. To wish to be that other, potential person and have that other, imagined life is no better than to wish to exchange places with someone who actually exists now. An exchange of only one piece cannot be made. The whole must be taken or left. With each different person and life come an entire set of satisfactions, displeasures, comforts, and problems. You can only view another from the outside, making up with your imagination the parts you do not know. But your life is your own life. Your self is your own self. Love them not because you can think of how things might be worse if it were possible to make the mistake of trying to go back and change them, but because they have value as they are now. If you cannot see that, it is not because it is not so. It is because you must uncover your eyes and have the courage to admit to it all: that which appears pleasing and that which does not.

  To reconcile the fact of the existence of hurt, both that which is risked and that which is inevitable, with the equal reality of beauty, wonder, happiness, and love is to be filled with all of life. Having been born, we are meant to truly live.

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