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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life's Illusions: Only just a dream.



A number of years ago, an idea popped into my head.   What happens if the life we think we are leading is all part of someone's complex dream?  In other word's, to myself, I feel I am real and self-aware, but what happens if my reality is really just part of someone's dream?  The Matrix sort of dealt with this idea.

I'm sure I wasn't the first one to ponder this thought and I am sure I won't be the last.   But, I digress.

Years later, after a series of setbacks that started with my mom nearly dying, the life as I knew it unraveled: job loss, marriage breakup, death of my closest brother, house on the way to being lost, loss of full-time parenthood, etc.   By this time, my now ex had moved out and cleaned out much/most of the items of value in the house.  A dear friend of mine walked through the house for the first time with me and noted that the house lost it's soul.  I guess in a way, the house was still standing, but the 'home' had died.  As I walked out back and noticed the patio, grill and backyard and started to walk out into the driveway, a strange feeling came over me.  I had the sense that my marriage had been an illusion.  The life I had known it was an illusion.  It wasn't the most healthy marriage from the beginning in hindsight, but sometimes you don't know these things until much later.

No one is perfect, save one.  In that vein, you bring your strengths and weaknesses or flaws and good points into a relationship.  In hindsight, our flaws clashed heavily.  We went in with a fairy tale of how we'd 'survived' dysfunctional in the past and were past that.  What we didn't realize is how mistaken that was.

--

The last year was pretty dramatic in the space of about a year, I had a friend, my mom and my dad die--two being unexpected.  In a certain way, this has seemed surreal to me.  It's like a few years ago I had my full nuclear family, now it is almost cut in half.   I'm still getting used to that.

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I remember an episode of Married with Children called "Teacher's Pet".  In the episode, poor Bud finally seems to have luck with dating.  He has a date with his substitute teacher and a classmate.  In typical Bundy fashion, this situation crashes.   First he confides in his dad about the dilemma, letting his father know the teacher is 40.   Next day at school he finds out that the substitute teacher ran off with a football player.  The classmate then dumps him as he is no longer desirable after being dumped by the teacher.   As if it isn't bad enough at that point, his dad alerted the authorities to the inappropriate relationship.  However, the teacher had been replaced by an old woman.   His dad, mistaking the new teacher for the original one, tells her to stay away from his son and rips her telling her the only 40 associated with her was 1840--that being the year she would have been born.   The old woman is then hauled off by the police.  Bud, being humiliated decides in his mind that this is all a bad dream and that if he drops his pants in front of class it will shock him into waking up.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way and bud finds out it isn't a dream much to his further humilation.

Bud: I know! I'll prove it's a dream. I'll take down my pants and it'll be so embarrassing, I'll wake up.
[Bud lowers his pants to the shock of entire class]
Bud: I'm even dreaming that I ran out of underwear.

Teacher's pet

The Married with Children episode was funny, but it did underscore a larger point.  When faced with a painful reality, we can either face it head on, pretend it isn't so and/or compound it.  Bud, seemed to pretend it wasn't so and compounded it at the same time, not a small feat.

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Life sometimes hums along merrily for a long time and then boom, it changes.  One day we have the car, job, our health and that of loved one and then in what seems like a short time, a major shift occurs.  It seems surreal.   Immediacy and permanence of the change can make us question was what was before real?  I think the answer is yes and no.   Yes it was, but our perception of it being permanent or unchangeable was an illusion.

Sometimes, we just have to take a deep breath and understand that nothing in this life is forever.  We enjoy the good things when we can, endure the bad thing as they come, mourn the losses when necessary and we hold onto that which never fails.

Psalm 73:25-26New International Version (NIV)

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

In the meantime, we I realized a long time ago that for most this life is full of struggles and if we don't have a Higher Power, a greater calling, a Hope, then it can all seem hard to swallow.  This is why sometimes people seek the unhealthy 'highs'.

I guess if I would give advice to my daughter it would be this:
  • Live your life with the Hope in Jesus.
  • Live a purpose driven life.
  • Enjoy the good times, realizing they that they don't always last.
  • Be brave and face what life throws you knowing you don't have to face it alone. 
  • Be true to yourself. 


Cheers.