I have always loved October. I can guarantee you my naive affection for it was rooted in it being my birthday month. But wow.. It’s everything. It’s the Harvest Moons that frequent the sky. The unbearably sweet smell of the cold on skin. Necessary light jackets and scarves but the warmth of sunshine. Homecoming football games. Halloween.
I love them all.
And then there’s the Holiness of October. The month of the Holy Rosary. Breast Cancer Awareness. Feast Days of monumental saints like Therese, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Pope John Paul II. Underneath the exterior of the aforementioned worldly pleasures October, there is so much prayer. Souls on fire for our God, our Saints, our loved ones.
I am so happy I live in a world where there are Octobers.
Expectation is the root of all heartache.
Do we even know who, if anyone, said that? Most attribute it to William Shakespeare, which obviously makes it automatically profound, but it was probably Marilyn Monroe. Or Bob Marley. Any one of those insightful sonofaguns. Either way, I think it’s in the top 10 most cliche pieces of advice I’ve ever received. And while it resonates in a really doom way, I don’t think that expectation is what leads us to disappointment. Rather, I don’t think disappointment is a direct product of expecting. Because that’s not what we’re doing when we get our hopes up; Expecting is an anxiety driven need to predict. Hoping for something is not expecting.
I think that often times, hope and wishing is the romantic in us that says “It should be like this. This is how it’s supposed to be.” But something I’ve learned (without question the hard way) is that supposed to be isn’t real. There is no such thing. The only consistency that we found ‘supposed to be’ on is what we’ve assumed to be the most ideal. What works for us in the moment. But nothing is ever certain, and life rarely plays out the way we thought it would. Half of the time, we’ve never even experienced the supposed to be’s that our hearts desire. So how do we know? We can’t. And that’s where disappointment burns hot.
In all of this “revelation”, my solution is not to bury the flames with realism and neglect of our romantic human nature. Instead, I put my faith in God’s will. It is no less romantic to trust that an incredible fate is constantly being determined by something so much greater. His will is the only supposed to be. And in that leap of faith, disappointment is far more likely smothered.
The nights that the moon sets the sky on fire are the nights my soul are on fire, too. I would swear to you, I can breathe its energy.
Periodically, I set up a meeting with a priest from my parish. Our visits can go either direction. Sometimes it’s in the realm of spiritual guidance, other times it’s just discussion. Frankly, he’s not that great at the former. He’s not certified in spiritual guidance (although I don’t even know the actual requirements for this, I’ve just been told that) but it’s pretty self explanatory when I leave our meetings either immensely discouraged or feeling on top of the world.
Today is a discouraged day. That’s the funny thing about priests. While they are wise men, they are not always right and they are not always nice.
Today, Father left me with a claim that I can’t seem to get behind. He told me “Good friends are a dime a dozen. You won’t remember anyone in your life today 20 years from now. Then none of this will actually matter.” And when I expressed sadness at the thought of that, he gave me a peculiar look and asked “Why?”
Why, Father? Because I’ve lived my life surrounded by imperfect people, but I still love them. Sometimes an excruciating amount. And while that can be attributed to my immense capability to love and forgive, I believe that the few and loveliest I’ve managed to keep in my life are worth loving through the impossible times. They are good and bring my joy. And I can not manage my life without them. I can not imagine not knowing them in 20 years. The idea of losing them so completely is devastating. Yes, some of them may drift and not come back, but is that any reason not to foster and keep them right now?
This led me to thinking about my weekend. One of my oldest friends is having a baby girl (literally today!) and a group of us got together to celebrate with her family. Here we are:
This group of young ladies have been together for years. We sat at the table and individually accounted how long we had known one another, and each of us varied, but all connected somewhere in the middle eventually. The shortest time was 7 years. And each time we get together, there is so much joy and laughter and healthy nostalgia. “Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened” completely exemplified.
Don’t tell me that relationships like that are a dime a dozen. That any of our lives are not made better because we love each other and come together when it matters most despite coming from dozens of different phases in our lives. As mothers, sisters, classmates, it does not matter. Real friendship endures. And while it has had its imperfections, it is worth a hell of a lot.