How do you feel about me now?
I was talking to an old friend the other day, and when I asked how he was, he said, “I’m getting by.” “Getting by? Not tearing it up, not taking ‘em down, and taking names?” I joked. “No,” he replied too dryly, “not at my age.”
“Well, how old are you now?” I inquired playfully. “Eighty-three,” he said. “Oh,” I paused. “And, I tell you, Nat,” he continued, “I don’t know about these last twenty years. I just don’t know what happened to me. Never imagined my life would turn out like this…” he spoke, trailing off.
His talk prompted me to wonder about the girl I once was, the woman I used to be, the mother I had imagined in myself at the outset, the scholar I prepared, the indefatigable friend I was to my peers as a teenager, the filial duty I felt in my youth, the honor I ascribed to my vocation as an educator, the family I tried to create. I have changed too, I realized. These last twenty years have been markedly transformational for me as well. As I considered, I saw in all of the things I tried to do how my spirit and my faith walked alongside my life unfolding as companion and guide and interlocutor.
At each step along the way, my faith both informed and framed the meaning of my choices and my disposition toward the outcomes of my efforts. For a long time, there was a harmony and an alignment between my meaning, my disposition, and my experience of living purposefully. But then, sure as rain, the wheel turned, and I began to lose clarity on that alignment. The idealism I had brought to each of my roles and endeavors was tested and tried as a matter of course. But, in some instances, the trial was egregious.
I concluded that some disappointments run so deep they change who we are. Some wounds are structural enough that they scar the tissue permanently and alter the curvature of our spines. Some blows are so devastating that our speech transforms and our thinking must be rewired to survive. Whether they are inflicted by the self or by others, whether by accident or intent or illness, injury has a common thread – it calls the Spirit to awaken and challenges it with the question: “How do you feel about me now?” Continue reading “How do you feel about me now? by Natalie Weaver”