GROWING UP AND STAYING YOUNG
A Guest Post by: KYRENE
I firmly believe that you must not wait ‘til you’re senile before you return to your childhood … yet, no, that is not the reason why I watch cartoons up until now.
I often equate heaven with pictures of a problem-free, worry-free and guilt-free life which makes me wonder, haven’t I had my slice of heaven some time ago in this realm? “For from the mouth of a child comes out real worship” …
Growing up, I have allowed that piece of heaven to slowly shrink away by allowing myself to learn so many things while losing the time for the things I knew beforehand. Reasoning took the place of innocence, a roster of "things-to-do" took over the "things-to-hope-for" and a handful of "things-to-gain-knowledge-of" relegated a truck-load of wonderful things I already possessed to a concealed corner.
Having experienced a really awful and life-changing loss a couple of years ago with a “disaster-appearing-normal”, I was told to keep myself busy in order to forget the pain. I took the advice to the maximum level … often to the borderline of “insanity-causing busy-ness”. A piece of heaven got chomped out of me everyday …
One night, I had a dream that I was again talking to this person I haven’t seen nor heard from for nearly a decade. He was, at one point in my life, very important to me. Can the word “important” even do justice to what he and I meant to each other? We knew "everything" about each other, from the trivial to the crucial, the mundane to the exotic, and the communal to the most personal and intimate core of our beings. He and I shared a bond that the mature and rational mind cannot fathom. I lost touch with him when adulthood was shading its days and in due time, I have learned to live with the loss. After all, there were a lot of people who were willing to take his place … it was a place of nobility in my heart and of a grave importance in my soul. Unfortunately, I made a severe mistake of bestowing charge of that place to the “disaster” I talked about in the previous paragraphs.
After that vivid dream, I searched for him on the internet (thank God for modern technology) and found a way to contact him. Two days hence, he called me up and took me on a trip down memory lane … a road I have refused to travel of late. He is apparently even busier than I am. He has four very adorable children, a business and a new girlfriend to help him cope with the divorce he went through with his wife who left him for another man. He is still into the same stuff … sports, music and food. While I, have turned into someone I myself don’t even recognize.
With each question commonplace in catching-up conversations that he asked me, he reinforced the nail in the coffin of “I-am-not-living-the-life-that-I-want”.
His simple “What do you do?” made me ponder about all the dreams I have not pursued (some by choice and some out of a seemingly “no choice” situation). He asked “What keeps you busy” … and I became aware that everything is keeping me busy that I don’t even have time to do the things that I love – assuming that I still remember what I love.
Do you still draw when you are happy? Do you still dance in the morning as you go about preparing to leave for school (then as a student and now as a teacher?) Do you still roller-skate when you are angry? Does it still take you an hour to take a shower? Do you still play the piano at night when you are feeling down? Do you still write when you don’t understand what you are really feeling? Do you still buy birthday presents a month advance? Do you still wake up in the middle of the night to reach for a bar of Snickers? Do you still read voraciously? Did you finally open the bookshop you have always wanted? Are you still my damsel in distress? Do you still possess that smile – the smile that launched a thousand ships in my heart? His voice sounded like a distant echo of the shouts that have long been welling up in my heart that are now just starting to reach my brain. He said I sounded the same – sweet voice … sweet words …
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I haven’t drawn a single picture since the “disaster” struck, leaving me in a chaotic state incapable of grasping the notion of being “happy”. I have trouble sleeping, thus, trouble getting up in the morning, robbing me of the luxury to dance around and take hour-long baths in the morning. I have not found an alternative to roller-skating to dissipate my anger.
Having no chance to skate makes me carry a chip on my shoulder biting off the head of practically anyone who comes my way when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
The feel of the ebony and ivory keys of the piano is so foreign to the tips of my fingers which have now grown accustom to the feel of my laptop’s keypads. Oftentimes, my gifts to people are accompanied by words like “belated” or “sorry for being late”. I don’t keep those fattening Snicker bars near my bed anymore and a book shop is not financially rewarding. I seldom flash the smile that launched ships that sailed away with people I love. I still am a damsel in distress … but not his … not anyone else’s. I am in constant distress devoid of a knight in shining armor. I loathe being sweet … because I have a friend who loathes my sweetness – some kind of friend he is!
So here I am … writing … because as you have guessed, I do not comprehend what it is exactly I am going through right now.
A firm believer that all things happen for a reason, I have since then, questioned myself why the Lord has caused our paths to cross again. “All things work out for the good of all those who love Him and are called according to His purpose”. The realization didn’t come to me like a big ball of blazing fire – instantly and noticeably. It crawled upon my being like the benefit of exercise – painstakingly slow, inconspicuous and needed to be reinforced by the opinion of others before it became apparent. It involved stages and the stages took me to horrendous depths …
He and I, going back to how close we were, is NOT an option … the geographic distance and the time elapsed with all the what-have-you’s in between makes it improbable.
But if there is at least one purpose why he has journeyed into my life again is perhaps not for that fleeting moment of joy which I will just end up missing as we put down the phone … it is most likely to hold my hand as I return to my childhood – a second time, a third time and each time I need to – to regain my slice of heaven while I prepare myself for the real one when my mortal body seizes to be. I need to go back to that piece of heaven …
I need to go back to that piece of heaven … when I still believed in romance, in love … in all the things that do not last but bring exceeding fulfillment. I need to believe in something I cannot see … to dream about things simply for the ecstasy that dreaming brings … when dreaming is not for sleeping – and sleep can be interrupted by bars of chocolate without the worry of gaining weight. I need to forget disappointments and the indelible scars they leave … I need to let go, to trust, to treat everyday like a fairy tale waiting to happen or to end in a happily ever after … I need to live – to live like a child… to venture without worrying about things being economical or financially wise. I do not want to be this adult that merely exists. I want to go back to the time when my biggest problem was which stuff toy I will choose to hug for the night without hurting the other stuff toy’s feelings, not like now when I am capable of hurting real people’s feelings. I need to go back to a time when I pretended to talk on my toy phone content with the imaginary conversation going on in my mind … not at all expecting a real phone call or a real conversation from a real person. I was spared from problems and all the serious talk. I was told what to do … I complained about it all the time. But now, I am always involved with the problems and the serious talk and how I wish someone would tell me what to do instead of me deciding for myself … which is now the new thing I complain about all the time by the way. I need to hang on to that ignorant bliss of believing that people you love will not hurt you nor leave you. I need to … I need to … as if saying it will magically whisk me back to the past …
This article was originally published in the Allimed - the official publication of the College in which the author served as the Moderator.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The author is a young, successful academician, presently pursuing her doctorate degree. She has a zest for writing and writes whenever her multifarious tasks give her a chance to. Thanks Kyrene, for allowing me to post your article.