Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I recently wrote about a game that was on facebook. My intentions of course were what all of my "Pause" blog intentions are... to get whatever is swirling around in my crazy mind out so that I can be 'free' of it. Because the internet is far-reaching, there is opportunity for many to hear my rambling thoughts- the world according to Laura- my therapy of sorts. I wrote often in those early days too- via letters to Andrew and whether I be angry, sad, or just plain missing him, those letters felt like a big exhale as did my blog (and apology) about the facebook 'game'.
As I write this, over 3000 people have read that post (which amazes me still) and I realize that this 'therapy' of mine can sometimes help not just me, but others too. I heard from many who I do not think realized how this 'game' could have hurt others- and those of you who shared it with your friends, I thank you. In a sense, this game (through this blog and others like it) shared the feelings of what people (like me) who have lost a child, carry with them everyday. This 'game' allowed others a bit of an insight into my life and reminded ME of another lesson that I sometimes forget. Your best lessons can come from your biggest mistakes. Though I know I was forgiven and had a 'free pass' from my community on this 'game', it still was a big mistake for me... I should have known better- but I have learned- and I have reflected and now I have more thoughts swimming in my mind that need to come out.
I was blessed to have an amazing mentor in my life- someone I looked up to and watched. From a very young age, I knew that there was something different about him- something special and so I learned from him. Not like a student learns from a teacher- but how most of us learn the really important lessons in life- by watching.
I watched for a very long time and then in those dreaded 'tween' years, we became penpals. I would bend his ear, ask his advice and memorize things he'd write to me. So poetic. So poignant. I wanted to be like him, and I want to be like him still but I am (clearly from my last post) still a work in progress.
Whether you are aware or not you are being watched- by adults and children in your life. Your choices impact far more than you think- even if you don't post them on a blog for the world to read. Similarly, I like to think that Andrew and E continue to touch lives and make a difference in me and through me (for the better). Emily Dickinson very wisely said, "A word is dead, when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." This is true of not just her words... but yours- and mine. Words can take on a world of their own. They can anger you, move you to tears or make you laugh until you cry.
Words are powerful.
All of this has reminded me of one lesson I learned from my mentor. One that some of you may have heard before (as it comes from a much greater teacher), "Be quick to listen and slow to speak." I love this quote so much, that I even had it written in my public school classroom (and loved when the occasional ~elementary~ student would recognize its origins). If you are unfamiliar, this is a quote from the manual for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (otherwise known as the bible: James 1:19).
This lesson is (clearly) something I need to work on and I think many in this day and age may need as well. With social media the way it is, we think it, we type it, we press send and its out there- a delete key is too little too late. And what you say or write is there for the taking- free for anyone to interpret in any way they like. So I need to pause. On this blog I am quick to listen. I listen to your words, I read your emails, blogs and comments. I hear it all. I pause. I choose my words as carefully as I can, praying that my words will come out the way in which they were intended and the thoughts swimming in my head will leave me be.
Why did I watch my mentor so? Because he was quiet. He was funny, quick-witted and wise. He was quick to listen and slow to speak and after all, we learn not from talking but from pausing- reflecting- thinking- watching. Today's actions may and probably will impact someone's tomorrow.
Clearly I am (VERY) far from perfect- but this all (0 Weeks and Craving Forgiveness) has reminded me that pausing is something that I need to strive for- for today.
That mentor of mine, the wise man who made me want to be more like him- a better listener- a wise friend- I think would be pleased. Yes. He'd be pleased with my words. These words.
But then again, sometimes the greatest lessons aren't expressed in words, but in actions.
I watched him. I watched him that day in church as he cried, tears streaming down his wrinkled, wise face, watching me with my little Jonasen- thinking of Andrew- and remembering the pain of losing his own son. He remembered. He didn't have to speak, I heard volumes. But I never thanked him for those lessons.
My twinless twin, my son Jonasen has no idea the lessons I learned from his namesake- and like Andrew- though he lives now in the heavens- continues to teach me.
My Grandpa Jonasen
And thank you for reading
And sharing yours.