My time with my parents on Saturday caused me to reflect on change and the need to be gentle with myself as I and the people in my life move through change. It seems to me that every change, no matter how exciting and positive, always carries with it a need to grieve that which has been left behind. For example, when I got sober, it marked a new beginning of healthier living, and yet, I felt as if I had lost a close friend, as I had depended on alcohol as I had never depended on anyone or anything, with the possible exception of God.
On the other hand, my experience with Mom and Dad this past weekend reminded me that they are getting more frail as they age, and it is difficult to see them require more effort to do things they used to take for granted. Yet, in the past year, I feel we have grown closer than ever. Partly, it is the very changes in them I find difficult that have opened them in new ways to receive the whole of who I am. Almost a year ago, with the help of my little brother, I took the risk of sharing more of what I have discovered about myself in my spiritual journey. I had a very real fear of being rejected by them, but it turned out to be no big deal for them, and ever since then, I’ve felt closer to them. As my Mom said, “We’ve gotten mellow in our old age.”
It occurs to me that the ability to hold paradox is an essential spiritual aptitude for our time (perhaps for all times.) What do you think?