Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: A life that looks small from the outside might actually be deep and wide, vast and spacious. For example, you might learn that we’ve walked our dogs at the same park at least once a day (sometimes twice) for the past 10+ years, and think “how boring.” I’ve seen it in every season, every kind of weather. I have favorite trees and stretches of trail, spots along the river I’ve memorized, patches of grass that are special. I know where the turtles lay their eggs each year, where the fox dens are, where the heron fish, and where the beavers live. I know where there are things missing, where there used to be three Cottonwood trees stretched out over the river or where the wild irises used to grow. I remember the place where Obi used to drink out of the river, the bridge that scared him, and the route we took on that last day, for his final walk. I know all this, and yet I am not finished knowing.

2. Truth: I am superstitious. I know I can’t control anything, but my small mind still tries, just in case I’m wrong and I actually do have some sway. I have little altars, tiny shrines at each of the places I write and practice. Some days, I wear a string of black onyx beads around my wrist for protection and healing. I have a black string tied around my wrist that I asked Eric to put there. I think of it as my “life line,” and imagine that as long as it’s there, Dexter will be here. I also drink out of the same coffee cup every morning, for the very same reason. I made a vision board with Dexter’s picture, a white lotus flower hovering over his forehead and a mandala with the Medicine Buddha at the center, and listed my wishes, the last one being “may his death be easy.” Every time Eric and I part, I insist that we tell each other “I love you,” just in case. I think that these rituals, these talismans will keep us safe, keep us together, even as I’m clear that they make absolutely no difference, have no power at all.

3. Truth: I know what I want to do, but for now, it doesn’t pay well enough. The other day, I saw the difference between the two things, my current paid work and my heart’s work, very clearly. I was working my way through an academic training for online teaching. The information was good, useful and accurate, but the context, the framing, the platform made me want to poke my eye out with a pencil. I had trouble concentrating, felt tired and irritable, wanted to bolt from my chair. In contrast, I’m also currently taking a free class from Ruzuku, 5 Days To Your First Online Course. When I was reading through that content, I leaned forward in my chair, stretching towards the screen, focused and intent, taking notes and coming up with all kinds of ideas. The truth underneath all that is that the work in the first situation is paid and that of the second isn’t, and I want paid work, need it to live how I want. And while there is an exit plan of sorts, the intention that things will shift, sometimes I get frustrated, impatient.

One Wish: For acceptance and patience and gratitude, for surrender, for “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

4 thoughts on “Three Truths and One Wish

  1. Joy

    Wow. I brought my dinner to the beach to eat in the sunshine this evening…and as I sat there, I thought of how many years I have come to this same beach, and how I have seen it change over the years, but to those who just come to vacation, I bet it hasn’t changed a bit…and I realized I know depth on this beach, of the land and myself…I like watching the changes of the season, but to an outsider looking in, there are beaches world-wide and I am “stuck” in love with the small stretch of sand. Like your experience of your park…and your insight that you share here affirms my own…thank you.

    Reply
  2. Rita

    I have struggled with the same paid work/heart work dilemma for, well, years. (Was going to say a few years, but realized it’s been far longer.) I am still not there, but a path is finally opening. I wonder, now, how much of that came from making peace with where I am, from being content to do what I love in the spaces I have for it. Or, it might be much like you and your talismans: What happens is random and out of my control, and all I can do is accept whatever it is that comes my way. Writing this, I find myself thinking it is both. There are things I have intentionally done to make room for what I love and foster my skills and plant seeds that could grow into opportunities. And some of what’s come to me recently is just chance, things I have had no control over.

    It’s what makes life interesting, isn’t it?

    Reply
    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Exactly, Rita–it’s why that part of the Serenity Prayer made so much sense in this context, because I know there are things I can DO (but need the courage) and there are other things I can’t change, and knowing the difference, accepting that, finding peace with it, and being grateful and present for however things happen, is such a big part of it. I also have seen in the last few years how the things that seem like struggles in the moment, the things I might wish away, later I can see are the places where I learned something essential, gained some strength or skill I wouldn’t have any other way, so necessary, even if it doesn’t seem “nice” at the time.

      Reply

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