My Own Private August 2010
So August came and went and I didn't take the time to think about and articulate what is making My Own Private August these days. And it was a good thing because when the pain completely wraps its dark, bony arms around and about you, talking about it can sometimes seal your futility. As least that's how it feels in here.
A friend I once had, who I miss, told me early on that sometimes all you can do is work hard, keep your mouth shut and do your job. And I have had much worse advice many times. So although the tunnel is still cold and clammy, and I have no bearing, no balance, and I can't see four feet in front of me, off up by my eyebrow is a pin prick of light. I bet, I'm going to say yes, that's the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. For now, though, I can't focus on the light at the end of the tunnel; I have to keep my head down and focus on my feet and my arms, steering myself slowly ahead through the murk, so as not to crash and burn. Again. I hate the taste of mud and blood in my mouth.
This August, it's helped me to remember who I am and who I want to be. My Credo. Because I have absolutely no idea who I am these days. I get flashes of that Other Person, smiling and laughing, always on her way to execute some chore or commitment, and I think, hmmm! She sure had a big smile. I don't think about that smile too hard because the tears start again, and damn them, they disable me every time. Short circuit and shut down the system. Rebooting is such a bitch. Blood and mud in the mouth...
So the first thing that I want to be, that I Believe, is this: I want to be Generous in all things. I have felt blessed and cursed with the generosity factor because people really do take generosity as a weakness. I have sat across the conference table from people, many, many times, who mistook my generosity for foolishness. But then they had to live with that. But that wasn't and isn't my problem. People who exploit me for my generosity do not operate in the dark. I see them. And what pops out in 3-D is not their greediness, but their struggle. And I regret that, but it's not my problem. The struggle and plight of mankind does not fall within the bounds of my personal credo. Those are problems that people with a much higher pay grade, perhaps, only certified professionals and/or people with top level security clearances, can tackle; I can tackle me and living up to what I believe is important; and that's unconditional generosity. And by the way, there's a second part of generosity; in its highest form, generosity is ladled out in helpings that are never measured. Ignatius: Teach Us to Give And Not Count the Cost. And as irony would have it, irony always does, I'm a person who can count in at least 20 different languages. So it is my challenge, my imperative and my mandate in life, to turn off the counter. Because I want to be generous. And Ignatius says you don't get to have it both ways. It only comes with one option. So I want to be generous. And supportive, encouraging and finally, Loyal. Loyalty excludes treachery; betrayal; separation. And I never want to be apart from that and those whom I love because I took the path of least resistance. I want to be generous, supportive, encouraging and loyal. No matter what. That's who I want to be and that's what I will be; not regretting the past, always remembering the present and walking where my aims point.
I believe that everyday, every single day, holds an opportunity to get better. John Stockton said,
"If you aren't practicing, someone else is." And while that certainly points to John's competitive spirit, among the best in sport ever, and to his work ethic, to me it points east to the sunrise of each day. Everyday, I want to learn something new. Everyday, I want to find out something additional. Everyday, I want to get better. Everyday. I don't want a day to go by that I didn't fit another piece into the puzzle of my life. So no matter what's going on, everyday holds an opportunity for me to get better, to kick up my game and face the east with a hope and say, What's up? Unafraid, I want to be that person who steps up to find out something new; even if I stumble and crawl through rubble and chaos, which, honestly, was the August of 2010. No matter what, no matter who, no matter when, if you aren't practicing, someone else is. Know that. Go east.
Finally, I believe, as Ignatius contended, that we are men and women for others. That means different things in different times in life. The conundrum inherent in Love All Serve All doesn't come in the part that involves you: loving and serving. That's pretty straight forward and unequivocal. Love. Serve. Do it. Just get it done. It's the 'all' part that's humbling and confounding. Because it involves other people; people who might not deserve a damn thing in life, let alone good service and love, let alone continued good service and love from you. And that's why Ignatius cautions me with a long look and a firm voice, "Men and Women for others." Love and Serve all. ALL. Yes, them too. Get going.
Soooo I remember now who I am. What I want to be. And amid and among the pain, I will be my best self. Got to. How could I not?
The 'Kan EWA