By: Tamon Mark Uttech
How are you? Here are a couple of things (a photo of yourself as a young girl and a letter you wrote as a teenager) from your own life of yesterday that I came across in the attic while trying to manage my own life in a today that surprises family, friends, and myself with twists and turns that cannot and could not possibly be foreseen. Cancer? To what end? No one may know that either and I encounter all manner of doubts and fears that I never knew existed before.
If I were to turn to poetry as a legacy, “Ash Wednesday” by T.S. Eliot is the anthology that would be my first choice, perhaps my only choice, “because I cannot hope to turn.” The Book of Ecclesiastes is the only other thing: “There is nothing new under the sun, to everything there is a season.” This, and only this, would be the legacy I would choose if I would be so fortunate as to be enabled to choose.
We, being human, grasp at straws even as we may notice strands of that same straw being thrown into our bonfires and heaters. We’d like to be warm without getting burned or scarred and we’d like to believe it is possible; that is our human spirit that turns from pain and desires comfort. Never mind the unknown, never mind that opposites always are. Never mind the light that creates shadows. Never mind the shadows and/or the darkness that is also always there.
What will we see in our children, our grandchildren, or even our great-grandchildren should we live so long? Will we see the stories of our own lives being played and replayed? Will we see pictures that will bring memories back to us that we didn’t know we carried (and we carried them down through the years)? We may look at our own parents, grandparents, and again, if we are so fortunate, our great-grandparents and wonder how much we know these people who are the very reason we are here at all and continuing to bring others into the story. (In only 3 generations, 104 people are involved.)
“Would you like to hear a story?” Life seems to demand that we look at our own lives again and again. “Teach us to care, and not to care. Teach us to sit still.” -T.S. Eliot.
We have our dreams and agendas. We keep trying to understand our teachers, because everyone has mentors and teachers. Who taught us how to read? To write? To add, subtract, multiply, divide? Fractions are in there too. Who taught us that x = y but not always? Who taught us to ride a bicycle, to swim, to drive, to dance? Who told us jokes? Who told lies? Who read to us? Sang to us? Who baked us a birthday cake and made sure the right amount of candles were planted on top? Who made sure the candles were lit and blown out before too much wax got on the frosting?
It’s been 61-1/2 years for me. My deepest wish now? To do more than teach you to bow to the moon and the life streaming all around you.
My deepest wish is to wake up.