Thursday, March 27, 2008

The First Noble Truth or Hug Someone You Love Day

Warning: I have no idea where I am going with this post and I may get into some religious stuff (as the title implies) which I tend to shy away from on this blog. I am musing and not proselytizing and I am have no intention of offending anyone, but read at your own risk.

I am trying very hard, which may be why I am not succeeding, to be more "centered" as of late. The noise of life gets very loud and it is easy to be distracted. Sometimes we can get so distracted from what is important that we lose hours, days, years, life-times to things which are inconsequential. Life is so incredibly short. A childhood friend of my brother's was buried and an amazing WWII veteran and local peace activist died this week. Both deaths have me thinking and mourning and wondering why there has to be so much suffering in this life. It also makes me think, as I often do, that our lives are so fleeting and it makes me want to love as much as I can in the time I have left.

This is tough. It really shouldn't be, but things get in the way. Chores need to be done, things need to be tended to, blogs need to be updated. Even in this week when I am remembering Bob "Grandpa" Wahlfeldt, someone who was an wonderful example of living in the moment, loving, and learning all the time. He seemed to find a connection with everyone and find beauty and peace in every day. I met him through AWARE, a local anti-war, anti-racism activist group. He would always have a smile and more often than not a vegan recipe he had found somewhere. He wasn't vegan, but he thought of me when he saw a recipe I could eat and took the time to share it with me. He always had a story to tell and love to give to the children. Rob went to visit him for lunch at the nursing home he was living at and he was not surprised to see Bob knew everyone there and remembered their families and things about their lives. He connected with Rob as a Navy guy and they would swap "sea" stories. Bob was possibly the most thoughtful person I think I've ever had the pleasure to meet. The world is not as bright a place with Bob gone and everyone who knew him will miss his presence. He lived his life as one who knows how precious life is and used every minute. He told me a story once about how he had been healed years ago when the doctors all thought he would die. It was one of those awesome stories that leaves you believing in amazing things, but also make you wonder if an "old man" could be making some of this up or embellishing things just a bit. It always left me with a feeling that Bob felt the time he was living was "bonus time". I admired that very much, but in reality every second is bonus time.

Still, knowing this, I don't hug enough, love enough, and seize the day enough. Days come and days go and I let them go by without really living. Why is that so difficult? I know life is beautiful, but I also see so much suffering, even in my safe part of the world. I've never seen a war, never seen a shooting, never really feared for my life, never wanted for food, never worried about shelter, but still I see loved ones suffer with cancer or other hideous diseases, I've been depressed and angry, worried, confused, and I've felt despair. I guess this is part of the reason I've chosen to live a vegan cut down on the amount of suffering I personally cause. It is something very small in the grand scheme of things, but it feels better to me. I just wish I could be more compassionate in other aspects of my life. Living compassion while working for peace is what I believe Bob did. I will miss him, but I am lucky to have witnessed this small glimpse of his life. That is what makes life worth living, for me...touching others and being touched by them in this brief time we have.


Stef said...

I wish we could live in ignorance of the awful acts of human nature, they make it so hard to just see the beauty, and it can be so hard to just focus on the good things, but I think Parker & Dema do an amazing job. They are and are going to be such amazing people in the world.

Anonymous said...

Take heart, you are making an impact. Your post that talked about where vegans get their protein really woke me up. I realized how little I know about nutrition and where my food comes from. I'm looking at the world from a different perspective. I've started trying to make a go of things without meat though it is a massive adjustment and for the good of my marriage I may not make it to 100% meat free, but I'm trying. A blog may seem unimportant but any time we express ourselves in a way that can touch others it is a priceless contribution. Okay, getting sappy. Anyhow, I love your blog and thank you for fresh/gentle/intelligent perspective.

VeganLinda said...

Stef and Katherine,

You gals really know how to lift a person up! Thanks!! Hugs to you both.


Wow, that is great about reducing your meat intake. You are too kind!

Meat-free Mike said...

Hey Linda:

Hope things are going better. I really think that you are going about living the right way - involved with things you realize are important like veganism, WEFT, the community, etc. and also by understanding the value of special people. For what it's worth - that crazy old country guy known as "The Old Timer" was a person like "Bob" to me. He affected me in positive ways he'd never have imagined. Then he was gone. Soak it all in while you can! Let it help you make your place in the world unique - volunteer with your family members to help out around town; take more walks in nature and consider the environment; pass good things on to your kids. I must say that our part of the country is a good place to be - culturally, environmentally, and socially. C-U has a lot of the positive aspects of a big city yet is contrified enough to kick back in and enjoy.

And that's where the vegan cooking comes in - I really like to eat but for me it's theraputic. Cooking helps me to unwind and to focus.

Veganism and environmental stewardship makes me realize I give to the plants in our environment (prairie, food crops) and they keep me alive in return!

Get out and enjoy the spring weather! :)