Too late; leaving too little

Recent events have caused me to contemplate how we ‘process’ what we think of as an injustice.

Everyone has experienced events in their life that test the bounds of wisdom, patience and comportment; we all have been less than our best at some point when confronted with life’s misfortunes. When those ‘misfortunes’ were authored in some way by the behaviour of another, ‘justification’, ‘fault’ and ‘but for….’ become our talismans, our shields and, perhaps, our enduring mantra.

I once lived in a farm community south-east of Owen Sound. My neighbours in the country were a couple about 10 years older than me. Both were wonderful people, each accomplished in their own ways. They should have been a joint force to be reckoned with, but they spent so much time bickering between themselves that their life continued to circle around them in ever-decreasing circles until the wife simply left the home, taking their two children with her.

For the next 15 years or so, the wife never set foot on the farm and both of the children only grudgingly, and infrequently, came to visit. The husband remained torn up and angry (for the record, never violent or abusive), feeling strongly that he was an aggrieved party in the whole affair.

The story ended several years ago when the husband was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. The family gathered at the farm to spend the several weeks before his eventual passing. I was not present with the family for this, but the wife later told me it was both the happiest they had ever been on the farm; together as a family, sharing in each other’s warmth and love – and the saddest – realizing how many precious years of life they had squandered, not appreciating all they had together.

In my thoughts, I’m hopeful that my response to circumstances will be of equanimity and grace, donning not a cloak of sadness to carry until it’s too late to doff.

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