Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Have I Learned?

I've been a little reflective lately. (I just smiled at myself for using "reflective" - an image popped into my head of me walking about and having things bounce off me - probably not funny to anyone but me.) At any rate I've been thinking about the last 9 years or more and what I've learned if anything.

More years really because the time before the start of caregiving is so entwined with the caregiving itself.

It, that is the reflecting, started casually enough. A man who shares a lot of years of history with me was telling me about his own visit with another mutual friend. They were remembering and talking about people we all knew. One man knew what had become of one person from our past and the other man knew about someone else. So my friend was passing on to me the information he had learned.

There was a customer who died of a brain aneurysm and a fellow worker who was now in prison. Another associate's son had served time for tax evasion. A person now worked one place and another person someplace else. One's wife had died but his son had married and was now a father himself. Another man, nearly as old as my own father, had suffered the loss of his third wife to death but he had married again for the fourth time. Babies then, are now grown and having babies of their own. Happy and sad events all stirred together and so typical of life as we find it and more real to us because we know the people and care about them.

I suppose that conversation really didn't start the fire but maybe fanned the smoldering coals. And then the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life", was on last night and that added fuel to make a full blown conflagration. Conflagrations aren't easily controlled. The entire "Wonderful Life" movie is one giant reflection itself.

I learned a lot of stuff is the answer to all my reflecting.

For one thing, and a lesson appreciated more than once, I learned that my past life had prepared me for my present. That's a pretty good lesson and a rather useful one, especially for people like me who always want to be prepared.

And another is that I can do many more things than I ever thought I could. That, too, is a pretty good lesson.

Nothing lasts forever is one that got me through quite a few things.

Calmness and love is transferable. So is anger and hate but calmness and love is stronger.

Being always trumps doing. Learned that first I think just by sitting on the porch with Dad and Mom. Sometimes we just sat there, the three of us, in our old lawn chairs and never said a word for long stretches of time. And later learned it better by sitting there beside both of them when we awaited death.

Forgiveness is stronger than anything. I guess that's the same thing as written in 1 Corinthians 13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

People are a lot stronger and more resilient and capable than I thought. People can also be uncaring and insufferable and downright mean and nasty.

It's really nice to have some blog friends that have experienced the same things.

There's more but I'm tired now and kind of have it out of my system.


SKYGIRL said...

Good to 'see' you Flinty! And always nice to 'hear' what goes on in that mind of yours! Always, something!

I watched "It's A Wonderful Life" too last Night. I must have seen it 100 times. My thought last night was, wow, so ahead of it's time, in a way, and VERY insightful!

I have another question though, why does it ALWAYS make me cry? At the end, every time? It is a HAPPY ending? I guess it just touches me so. Like one night at Church, for some reason the words "Hallalulueh" in a song, just about brought me to my knees? I sombered up, because I did not want to be embarrassed?

Do you 'cry' when you see these old Movies, Flinty? And if so, do you know why?

Food for thought! Not that you need any!

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Being always trumps doing.

Yes, Terry. Among the many things that you've learned, I'm sure you learned that first. I think we all learned that first. You've gained some wonderful lessons from this. I can relate to many and I'm sure I'll find out later a few other things I've learned.

My thoughts are with you. ((HUGS))

flintysooner said...

I only cry when watching old movies by myself. I mostly cry I think because of the intensity of the love that people have for one another. Like In Wonderful Life I always cry when everyone is so willing to help George. Or in Our Town I cry when Emily is revisiting her day. But it is the love people have for one another that touches me.

It is strange that I seldom cry when people are really mean to each other.

It's like Cornbread's comment about the Colorado shooting. It is really not that surprising that someone shoots a couple of innocent young people. Hate and anger and violence really are quite common. It is sad but it doesn't make me weep.

But then I read the part about the forgiveness of the victims towards the attacker and that makes me well up.

Some music makes me cry, too, or makes me want to anyway. The Christian story is so beautiful about a God who stoops (not original phrasing to me) and who so loves his creation that He is willing to sacrifice His own Son.

I read about the movie last night and it was a commercial failure. So strange now that so many years later it is so beloved.

SKYGIRL said...

Really? I was compelled to look it up last night too! I thought for sure it must have won an Academy Award? Ad Jimmy Stewart? WOW!

Maybe they didn't even have them that long ago?

Thank You for answering my question, and you are right, it is when people are kind, that gets to me too!

Lori1955 said...

You got me thinking about the past preparing you for your present. I've had a very rocky past but when I think of it now, I know that had none of the bad things happened in my life, I would never had ended up knowing Helen and have had the priveledge of bing her caregiver.

SKYGIRL said...

"No Accounting For Taste!"

I 'googled' "It's A Wonderful Life" today, and you were right, it was considered a Box-Office flop! They were nominated for 4-5 Academy Awards, but didn't win any. "Miracle on 34th Street" came out the same Year, and 'swept' up all the awards. I saw that one again, this week also. Natalie Woods was so cute in it!

Stranger yet, the FBI had their undies-in-bundle saying it was a propaganda film, supporting Communisum??? Like I said, no acounting for taste, and Thank God, our Tax Dollars were being put to such good use, even back in the 40's!


cornbread hell said...

thanks for sharing your lessons learned and your insights. it's good to be reminded of the ones i've learned and even more valuable to hear of lessons still to come. you are a wise man. i am fortunate to be reading you.

(the reflective comment was very funny to me.)