A few days ago, Katherine Jenkins - author of a beautiful blog called Lessons from the Monk I Married - invited me to write a guest post for her blog. Katherine writes a new lesson each day on her blog. Each lesson is compassionate, pertinent, and a pointer in the direction of living life to its fullest. I wrote about an important lesson that I had learned in my life - and called it "a lesson in love." I'd like to share it here too:
When I was about fourteen, I experienced a moment of ‘self realization,’ if I may call it that. Mom and I were on our way home. As she drove through the pretty countryside that separated Delhi and Gurgaon in those days, I looked out the car window and watched the trees whiz past. It suddenly occurred to me that everything in my life is so temporary. My relationships, my concept of myself, my belongings, my life as I know it.
I know. Fourteen is very young to be thinking about the impermanence of my belongings. But it all came to me in a flash. I knew deep down inside that there was something far more permanent, a “constant” if you will, that was changeless. Call it God, Universe, Nature, Love. That “changeless” quality was the driving force in my life. It all made sense to me. Well, at least in that moment. Until I was shaken out of my reverie when I reached home and had to plan for school the next day.
I looked at Mom and felt the need to discuss this with her. I told her that it just occurred to me that one day she would not be here anymore. One day, I would not be here anymore. It was so important, then, to enjoy our time together as best as we could. She looked at me and smiled. It was a look of pride that told me I had just figured something out that most kids my age would probably not until they were much older. She hugged me tight. Only the Universe knew then that there was a good reason for why the insight had come to me so early on.
Five years later, tears flowed down my cheeks as I sat by her bedside, holding her hand, telling her that I loved her so very much. I was by her side as she took her last breath and passed away. As I continued to hold her hand moments after she was gone, I howled and cried and my world began to crumble around me. Somewhere in those moments of extreme grief that followed her passing on, I remembered our short conversation from all those years ago.
Today as I look back, I am grateful for each moment I spent with her in our short time that we were destined to be together as Mother and Son in this life. I would have given anything, though, to have gotten more time with her. It just wasn’t enough.
Why do we fight with our loved ones? Why do we bang doors and walk away? Why do we not talk to each other for days on end? Do we realize that time is running out? That one day, all of this will be a memory and then we’d wish we had been nicer to one another? And that ‘one day’ may be closer than we think?
It is but natural to have arguments, disagreements, and little fights over petty things. That’s what makes relationships ‘real’. But when we’re done with the fight, it’s so important to calm down, to give each other a hug, and say ‘I love you.’ My Dad and I do that these days – if we have an argument about something, within about ten minutes of the argument having ended, one of us initiates a ‘patch up’ hug. The words ‘I love you’ can melt the angriest of hearts.
If the other person doesn’t reciprocate our endeavors to reach out and patch up, what we can at least do is send them love in our hearts. Let go of any resentment and anger that we may have for them. Love them and hope that one day they will open their hearts and receive that love.
In the end, what matters… what stays… is love. Everything else whizzes past, like the trees in the countryside on a drive home.