THIS mild, sunny morning charmed me into happiness and I realized my cheer was partly because I was alone.  I thought for an awful moment that perhaps I was essentially unloving, perhaps had never loved.  But years of joy made me think that yes, I have loved.  However, the question is that was it enough?  Is there any answer as to where and how much you failed those you loved?  Disliking those who are mean is my great sin, because this old heart can not overcome.  It has taken my entire life not to withdraw.

I wonder if living alone makes one more alive, as no precious energy goes to disagreements or compromise.  There is no need to augment each other—there is just yourself.  Having gone through those long years when it was painful to be alone, now you’ve come out on the good side of severe discipline.

Being alone, you have your own way all day long to become natural.   Perhaps being natural and the spontaneity that goes with it extend the heights and depths, enriching our days.

Not every life is ever beautiful.  But the measure of a beautiful life is perhaps one that sees the blemishes, knowing that they can’t be forgiven and, to learn each day to look the other way.  Isn’t the art of wisdom is knowing what to overlook?

There are people in our lives who we will always cherish.  I dwell on their troubles, their qualities and other possibilities as though I could keep them safe by so doing —as though by understanding them,  I could simplify their lives for them.

Friends we know, when they totally love, support and trust each other and share with each other the secrets of their soul, and run—no questions asked.

Count your blessings.  There are those friends even if the years have gone by, gone separate ways and have very little in common now, but we’re still intimate parts of each others past.

That special friend, personal and intense…when, the morning after we lost our virginity, she was the first, the only friend we told.  The person who knew how we looked before our teeth were straightened, how we talked before our voice got un-Ilocanoed, who knew what we ate before I learned about artichokes, truffles and Brussels sprouts.  And the one who by her mere presence, puts us in touch with an earlier part of ourselves.

What this friend means to me and what I mean to her is like having a sister without sibling rivalry.  Through pregnancy, birth, scary years of motherhood, to the unspeakable pain of widowhood, she became the friend that forged powerful links and out of respect for those courageous years of drama and dreams we once shared.

Oh, and the family—what can be a greater gift?  I am grateful for what I see in them, for the loveliness they have been, for the good that I know in them.  I love their essence, the individual life in them, having spent much of my life watching it unfold, enchanted and anxious.  I have feared for it when it begun and I knew nothing.

I have felt respect, even reverence, for I’ve seen it meet tragedy and gain nobility.  I have watched it win its little prizes in life, even learned the hard truth a mother learns slowly that no matter how old a mother is, she watches middle aged children for signs of improvement.

She never outgrows the burden of love, and to the end, she carries the weight of hope for those she bore, that they will make the world better.

Now each extra day is a gift.  An extra day in which I may gain some new understanding, see a beauty, feel love, or know the richness of watching my fifteen month grandson, Ezekiel express his every like and dislike with force and sweetness.  But all these are the sentience by which I survive, this so mysterious a thing as living alone.

Life can be cruel and exquisitely kind, but life can be glorious if we let it be…


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