Transfusion of the Heart
I’m certainly no stranger to life’s unpredictable heartbreak and loss. Lately, like most of my peers in the Youngish Elder category, I notice my brain and body are a little more fatigued from the surprises of each year as it passes. It seems as if the pace has been increasing lately, and there’s good evidence for this claim. But nobody wants to be re-traumatized by visiting that list of surprises.
While there’s certainly increased cultural and environmental grief, the predictable vicissitudes of aging can’t be ignored. With all my replaced and updated parts, right now my biggest problem is a brain that seems way too eager to drop names (or nouns in general) if it deems them unnecessary. A couple of my very dearest friends, slammed with sobering diagnoses, haven’t been so lucky. I’ve taken just about everything having to do with my health and life force for granted.
In my life there are many blessings I try not to ignore. In my role as life coach for a small list of clients I nearly always find renewed energy and inspiration. My family is healthy and mostly thriving. There have been no major wildfires near us for the last couple of years. For these things and more I am truly grateful.
When I haven’t been so lucky in big ways and small, resilience has found me and showed me the way. It hasn’t let me down. But this year it’s a gradual anemia of heart that seems to want my attention, especially as I peek into the next year and realize the seriousness of the challenges we face as a people. Just imagining possible futures is enough to fatigue a person who’s been doing a pretty good job of treading water.
I know in my depths that resilience alone won’t do the trick long-term. I think I need a reboot, while I’m still walking in these boots. I recently felt inspired by these lines from Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem How to Disappear:
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
Such is life in my seventies. A concoction of gratitude and fatigue. A mixture of hope and acceptance, tempered by the lessons of reality. Learning to pause to let life show me the way.
I can’t see the future clearly, but I’m encouraged by a humbled understanding of the value of the basic components of life.
As gifted songwriter Laura Nyro advised, “Nothing cures like time and love.” These are the healing cures for almost anything. But it’s especially true for Anemia of the Heart.
Time. Love. This feels just about right. May the next year bring you ample quantities of these two essential ingredients. And may this transfusion renew your heart and increase your peace as you move forth.
The Promise of a New Year
Winter moon smudges
Halo of hope a smeared rainbow
in dark charcoal sky
Erasing the world
Of my daily re-creation,
leaving only a hint
of life before now.
and a vague moon print
of future revelation
— SgB 2024
photo by George Beekman