“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.” – Bruce Lee
Rob has this saying that he uses to explain, qualify, quantify and generally achieve a zen state about nearly all things that are beyond his reach and control. “It is what it is.” I have to admit the path to Nirvana is not as cut and dried for me. I have a difficult time just leaving things alone even when all I can really do is worry about it.
Back in the last month or two before the first anniversary of Will’s death, I had this nagging feeling that something “wicked this way comes”. I called this feeling “the other shoe” as in “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. I am not unique in this anxiety ridden state of being. It’s common among the widowed. Common among most survivors of tragedy in general I would venture to guess. When you have lived through one of the worst things you could ever possibly imagine happening, no matter how fervently you hope for better days…..believe in their eventuality even…..you cannot help but fear the future a little. It hasn’t smiled too widely on your recent past after all. After a while I came to understand that this feeling I would get was nothing more than the grief alerting me to the passing of another milestone or “first” without Will. It was what it was, I guess. But even all these months later, and the ample opportunities life as provided for practice purposes, I am still not over the need to try and control circumstances through action. Pre-emption even when possible. I can’t let things just be what they are. I need to fix or explain or something. A side-effect of care-taking? Something inborn? My teacher side? I don’t know.
It’s turned me into something of a risk taker. Even while I was trying to shore up the crumbling sand castle that was my life, I was taking tremendous chances. Changing teaching assignments two years ago when I knew that the end was near for Will and I would be in a new situation without my established support network. Going back to get my masters when Will was first sick even. Tossing aside fair-weather friendships because I didn’t think their occasional help and support was worth the emotional strain. Completely changing the terms of my relationships with family and in-laws for much the same reason. The whole dating thing when I clearly wasn’t ready. And, of course, Rob – who turned out to be the least risky of all my leaps of faith.
I am asked all the time how I am feeling about leaving for Canada to be with Rob. Am I worried? Am I scared? Am I sure?
I worry about the details because that is who I am: a water rabbit. I am scared of crossing the border because Immigration is an authority unto itself. But, I have rarely been this sure of who I am, where I am going and what I want.
It is what it is. Just kick when you need to and punch when necessary.