Tuesday, December 28, 2010

how to live not survive

My grandparents lived through parts of the Depression and struggled through the second World War. They were young brides and soldiers coming home. They worked through years of what today we'd call "full time"/"overtime", for a comfortable life. But through all they've lived, they aren't so much "survivors"  from a hard time as much  livers in their own lifetime. Visiting them, means living in a very special way. They worked into themselves small indulgences- or the goodness of life. There's 4 types of jam, vacations, lessons in yoga french computers, stacks of library books, trips to wherever the one you love goes, saved pieces of the place that follows.  They live not survive their lives.
When I put aside any bouts of my quarter life crisis, I like to spend time with them always, but then especially, as if on sabbatical. I arrive coming in through the backdoor they left unlocked for me, passing the dimness of the kitchen put to bed, left only with a corner light for latenight waking, and climb up the stairs to the top sheet of their bed. There I see they've been waiting for me. I watch black and white movies, movies in foreign tongues, navigate the bad mechanics of a DVR. I ask childish questions- those that hurt to ask, not because they have no answer. No, the ones you fear you must only be a child to ask. Like what are you afraid of and what can I do?
And so I ask anyway even if I am not a child. I ask because in a childlike way I listen. Because I believe them. I so believe what they say.
Worry is a funny thing. My worries are mine to keep for as long as I can keep them. But for something that can do so much to how you live, worries cant do any of the dying- It's ironic that it can survive. And so I won't let my worries outlive anyone including me.
I love my grandparents as well as for how they love. The way they live together in detail.  The small gestures they create to make each day better.
 Whatever I encounter as I find my way and as I go on it, I promise to live through everything, not simply survive.  I promise to try.

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