In these past years, I have tried to live more and more authentically. When people look at my life. more or less, a consistency is there. God has been my stronghold. My faith has carried me through some of the more challenging times. Loved ones are important to me. Engagement in life created beautiful memories. Curiosity and a desire to learn encouraged me to step beyond my comfort zone. These are true in the present tense too.
Many folks have said to me that I am dying as I lived. No real changes in who I am, only a deepening of what was already there. Consistent. I keep working on the lessons I am still learning.
When I turned 40, I worked on casting out fear that would grip me. Fear paralyzes and is not of God. We can get so caught up that we turn away from God and what God wants. I am still learning to breathe and turn to God when life–or rather dying–becomes overwhelming. Fear is losing its grip on me.
Truth is also important to me. In talking with my social worker this year, he suggested that one of the reasons that I bristle when people consistently move to denial of my dying with me is that I am being authentic and do not want others to try to distract me from this. I want to stay the course that I have been given. It is not easy and so those who try to distract me do me no favours. Yes, we all fall into denial from time to time. I understand that.
Communication has been a key to healthy relationships for me. Some of those who were in my inner circle no longer are because they have shut down, cannot talk to me about what is going on, only want to talk to me about what is going on, want to overcare for me, are bewildered at what to do, and so many other reasons. These tend to be people who do not have good communication skills or who clash with my skills. We are on two different planes. I have become more clear about what is happening to me, what I need, and what I do not need. This is unsettling to people. I can be short with long-time friends because I do not have patience for games or disrespect. This is not what I want and I am learning to be more compassionate to others and myself. I am still learning lessons and continue to struggle with setting boundaries.
Love is what has guided me for decades and I find that the moments I lose the grace to love, I spiral downwards a bit. I want to be charitable but my energy is such that I cannot always be. This will be a task to focus on in the coming weeks and months. Service is one way to practice love and so as long as I have breath, I hope to serve in whatever ways I can.
Being authentic provides me good ground work to die. I am familiar with what I want to do. I think of my grandmother who in her final days had staff coming into her room because they found it so peaceful to sit there. She died as she lived. I hold that example hopefully.
Who is the authentic you?
How do you interact with people who try to distract you from your authenticy?
Creator, you long for us to be our truest selves and shine in this world. Help us to discover who we are and to embrace that goodness. Let us not be distracted by those who wish for something different than your will for us. Amen.