.Cold as Hell
It is extremely cold here at the moment. -20 degrees Fahrenheit is the wind chill factor. It is a drastic departure from the 33 degrees we had only a week ago. But that is the way January is around here.
This weekend, by and large, was decent. There were some ups and downs. Friday, I did go visit my elderly father-in-law and it was another wonderful, peaceful, relaxing time. We both had ample mixed drinks and pipes and talked and relaxed and laughed away the afternoon. It was a grand way to transition into the weekend.
I stopped at a somewhat seedy second-hand store during my trip home. This store is in the rougher part of town, but it is operated by a nice fellow whom I like to talk with. I purchased several Jules Verne paperback books that I no longer have, having read them far too long ago. I would like to reread these wonderful classics.
On Saturday, I went to mass at my home parish and the whole family was about as well. It was nice and pleasant. A part of me, though, wondered about what was happening at the inner-city parish where Fr. Thomas resides. Part of me would like to go back and speak with him again. Perhaps I shall try to do so.
Saturday evening was also relaxing. My wife went to sleep earlier than I did, and unfortunately, I got myself into some trouble at that point. I turned on Turner Classic Movies and began to watch the film "Goodbye Mr. Chips." This classic film from 1939 was one of my Mother's favorites. I had seen bits and pieces of the film over the years but had never seen it in its entirety. This may sound awful... but I wish I had not watched this film. It brought back significant sadness and hurt and feelings of loss about my Mother. The basic story was about a man who became a teacher at a school in the late 1800s. The movie spanned his entire life from the start of his teaching to his death. Keep in mind, this film is a beautiful, classic, time honored piece of work. Yet, the film's portrayal of the passage of time elicited in me only despair and gloom. This fellow's life, or any life for that matter, seems only pointless. The feelings of horror and sadness washed over me as I again kept thinking about life as simply a progression of steps... where we spend the first half of our life growing to learn how to love and be loved, and the last half of our lives watching those we love die, one-by-one until we too, eventually die.
Although this type of thinking does me no good, it is hard to shake once it resurfaces. What if there *is* nothing beyond this life? What point is there to any thing that we do? What if life is simply a grand illusion of a few hundred thousands of small steps to our own demise and end?
Of course, I had fitful dreams and restless sleep. On Sunday I awoke and began to help my wife with the house cleaning as is our routine. But, I was feeling horrifically sad and hopeless. By noon, we took a break and laid upon the bed and talked. I cried to her about my feelings of loss and my fears. I cried about how pointless all of life seems and begged her to help me figure some way to again find meaning and purpose in life. She stayed with me for an hour and soothed me and helped me to calm myself inside.
The feelings of pointless have not left, but I have quelled them and feel adequate now. My wife and I went walking at the University before dinner, and then she made me a wonderful dinner of Parmesan encrusted salmon, fettuccine vegetables and linguine, roasted yam disks, and salad. We watched television and talked until she went to bed a while ago.
I feel "ok" at the moment. My wife helped me enormously today. I had thought the last several days that I was over my grief. I am not sure where I really stand today. Perhaps my grief is lessening. But, perhaps I am also having some sort of mid-life crisis, where I have become more wholly awakened to the inevitability of our death? It is not as if I was Pollyanaish previously. I KNEW and have KNOWN about our impending deaths. Yet, previously I felt a faith, a conviction of there being some real purpose, some greater scheme to life. I used to feel deep inside that there was a purpose to life and that it did not end at our deaths. But I am so very unsure now. Or, perhaps I am simply allowing myself to feel that uncertainty I have always had? Either way, it contributes to me feeling aimless and without focus.
Why do much of anything if there is no point? I do not know.
Yet, I am also all set to get up early in the morning. I shall awaken, get my exercise gear on and head to work. I shall go and do the cardiovascular exercises and also the weight training... just like I did last week. I shall go to class and teach them as well as I am able... just like last week. Not that I think there is a real "purpose". Instead, I do it to have a routine. The lack of routine would only add to my fears. I miss my prior belief that there was a purpose to life. I hope to someday be able to discover that there *IS* purpose.