Despair and Not Preparing
“Despair is a time of waiting, of paralysis, of non-time. When we are in its kingdom we do not distinguish among things. Our experience is incomplete because it is non-experience; it is not anything in particular itself and neither is it turning into something else.” The Light Inside the Dark by John Tarrant, p. 52
I am there sometimes. I spent the better part of last year there.
I cannot be comforted at times, especially by superficial clichés, which I call “Veggie Tales theology.”
Would you tell someone in a concentration camp, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do,”? It is insipid. There is no real light at the end of my tunnel. Sorry if I get depressed. Sometimes the tough times outlast the tough people. That is truth. Patience can be pointless.
I have been having a rough time trying to motivate myself to do things to prepare for a next phase of my life that I don’t have any assurance of having.
So I’ve decided to indulge myself. I am eating things I really like, while I still like them. My tolerance and taste for white sugar is declining, so self-indulgence ain’t what it used to be.
I’ve also decided to lean on the fact that nothing is changing, to count on it, to base choices on it. I am simply taking care of myself and not concerning myself with a future that may or may not occur. If things are not going to change, I may as well take advantage of that. I am going to decorate the pit I have fallen into. I did absolutely everything last year I could think of to move my life forward. I’m done for now. I will find little things to do that mean something, but it is no longer in preparation for something.
I have prepared as much as a human can for various scenarios. I’ve gotten an education, planned for my own and Barry’s demise, gotten new windows for the house, cleared out the basement, etc. I’m done preparing. It is time to live in the meantime. This may not be a bardo at all. Things just are as they are. Lesson learned: I cannot move my life forward without life’s cooperation. I cannot find that house buyer. I cannot have that certainty (good or bad) regarding Barry’s health. If someone asked me if he has cancer, my response would have to be, “Maybe. We can’t be sure and he won’t have a biopsy.” I know nothing and all the prayer and meditation in the world do not fix that. I only meditate to be here now. I am not pretending to accomplish anything.
Transformation involves change. When the necessary changes do not occur, then maybe it’s not a phase. Maybe it’s the new normal.
It reminds me of a story of Shunryu Suzuki. A student was asking if he had ever met some renowned Japanese roshi. Suzuki said yes. The student asked what ever happened to Roshi So-and-So. Suzuki’s answer? Drum roll…. “He died.” I read that and cracked up. I laughed so hard it hurt.