Life isn't fair. It's tough. It's sweet. It's unforgiving. It's only too generous. It's a cold-hearted mistress. If anything, it's unpredictable and unreliable.
When my sister administered a marriage exam out of her book yesterday, John listed my core life values as: love people well and be consistent. Something like that. I thought "yes! That's it." I added, "and be true." He'd boiled me down so well!
That's right. In this unreliable world - I'll be reliable. And I'll love the people who are reliable for me. Consistently kind - to my face, and when I turn around. To me, that is everything.
This morning I'm thinking I might have things wrong - not the kind - love - true part... but the whole over-intense value of working hard, following through, chewing whatever you bite off... even when swallowing it makes you gag. Which is of course the living out of 'love - reliable - kind' for two people who love to make big promises and dream even bigger!
I'm kind of a pain in the ass wife sometimes. Too often I remind John "this is the life we chose." It's a sort of quiet threat, don't complain and don't you dare quit. So we work and we work and we work. I didn't realize this quiet threat before of course, because I've been saying it to myself for a decade - maybe two. And there's certainly value in the message. I think the world would be a lot better with about 200% more follow through. In fact, it's one of the things that drew me to John - his kindness, his follow through, his sincerity.
Still, I'm regularly baffled by how EVERYONE loves him. Don't get me wrong, I think he's the greatest person alive. But there are a lot of great people out there that get misunderstood and 'disliked' in a moment's breath. It's like a rule of life: People get misunderstood and judged. Not John. I've only ever seen people love him immediately. And while I'm sure there's more to it than this - a major part of it is, he's kind. He won't say a bad word about you - and somehow, people must be able to feel that immediately. He must put off a silent message that echoes in a passerby. And it says a lot more I'm sure, but to me that echo said, "kind - honest - trustworthy - fun."
And that fun, man! When I'm reminded that this life could end at any moment, I only wish for more fun! Because life, it isn't reliable. And it isn't always kind. Life is as generous as you want it to be, but it will deal you out joys and agonies in wild measures. And life doesn't listen to my silent threats.
Like I've said, I'm not a minimalist. I don't see "simple". I'm trying! I want to! But, right now I see a complex equation I'm trying to balance - kind, true, loving, consistent, fun, they are all in there to some power. A life well-lived means little moments and big moments. Spending ourselves in little and big ways to make big impacts in little and big places. It means working hard even when it's inconvenient. But it also means enjoying your people.
If I were to be given the '6 months' - I'd want to spend every moment I could cuddling, hiking, gardening, dancing, playing, kissing. The fun! But, after those 6 months, I'd want to be remembered for great kindness too. I'd want to be remembered as someone who was there - a person always up for a good time, and never scared away by a bad one. Perhaps it is the difference between, what memories do I want to have versus what legacy do I want to leave?
How do you balance that when as far as you know, you have a lifetime?