Tomorrow is my father’s birthday. He hated birthdays. Each one represented another year of life he didn’t want to live.
He died three days after his birthday last year. A massive stroke. I’m told, he felt no pain. If so, then that marked the one moment in all of his years when not engulfed by pain. Sitting here now on my deck, listening to the birds; the breeze putting a chill on my skin – I’m forced to consider life – the absence of it and the presence of it.
We do this thing called living, each and every day; often, without consideration. I see life in all things, even within those who refuse to live. I tend to see the energy swirling in everything. I notice when souls feel the expansive fullness that is living well, and I notice when a soul is tightened and restricted. Most, seem to live nestled in between.
My father longed to feel expansion, yet only knew the tightened feeling of discontent. It’s a painful thing, when seeing that in a loved one’s eyes. Like walking through the halls of a hospital, late and after all have gone home; within each room is someone wanting to live. Some are afraid to do so and have resigned to death, others stand at life’s gate, pushing hard for its release. All of it is felt by me.
I am told often that my characters within my books feel real, and intense. I have to believe it’s because that is how I absorb life – real and intensely – I don’t know how to do any other way. And I don’t really want it any other way. A lukewarm existence may sound like a welcomed reprieve, but I know it isn’t the life I’m here to live. And when a soul isn’t living the life they are intended to live, there is imbalance, disharmony and discontent.
There are many roads that appear easier than mine. Loves that seem smoother, careers less stressful, futures more certain. But that’s not the road I’m meant to walk – at least not today. I have felt great tragedy, and I have felt the unfathomable, wordless joy of miracles. Two extremes. This breadth of emotion has enriched my life. And I intend on taking all that it has given me, and pass it along to others. We aren’t so alone as we think.
I possess a very colorful emotional palette. I can’t look at it without a chuckle. I will not claim one color as better than the rest. I won’t treat it as a portrait that is without flaw. Instead, I notice the colors that take my breath away, just as easily as I notice the dark colors that used to make me cringe. I no longer deny those darker colors, as I now know they are what give me depth. Without those darker colors, my lighter emotional colors would not stand out. I used to view my darker colors as the undertow; I now view them as the current.
My father had a colorful palette, but he never knew how to appreciate his many different emotions. I saw the beauty in them – he did not. I see everyone’s colors. And no color is without beauty and purpose. No emotion should be denied or smothered; give all colors a place upon your canvas. You might be surprised to find that when you do – you finally become a masterpiece.