“It was important for a person to act carefully, for every action had consequences on the soul’s future.” (Snow Falling on Cedars)
I have recently been trying to read novels that my daughter must read for her English program. The process of reading and being able to enjoy literature is somewhat of a luxury that I have not been afforded. Before getting sick, life was far too busy to read. I would only seem to have time when I went to bed. Going to bed, however, I was exhausted and reading made me fall asleep before I could get through the first paragraph. After chemo, my concentration was so poor that I found myself re-reading lines many times over – enough that the story was lost. I just could not remember from one line to the next to keep the continuity. And so – here I am now, actually enjoying the book and finding time to think about the words.
The line that has caused me to pause for longer consideration is the one I’ve quoted. I find it so profound. I think that the older I get, the more careful I am to slow down and consider consequences. That only comes with age. And consideration. Sometimes the actions of others are not intended to be hurtful – yet – can pain another person deeply.
What is the solution?
Study. It is important to do your homework. Learn. Watch. Observe. Act carefully and purposefully.
I remember, when I was teaching, that one of the most important lessons I had discovered – just before I left on LTD – was to be “conscious”. In that instance, though, I was thinking about the importance of being a conscious consumer. Learn where things were made – their cost to the environment. I had no idea that later in life I would apply this same “consciousness” to relationships.
What is a conscious relationship? It seems to me to be one where a person is present. There. Aware. In other words, conscious. And I would guess that both people in a relationship must be conscious.
My parents always taught me, what I’ve later to discovered to be a bit of a Puritan work ethic, work first and play later. Applied to relationships, the work would be the action of being conscious. Be present. Hold onto the dreams of the other person. In that way, time is not lost. Details are not lost. Details are important.
Kevin and I do not really celebrate Valentine’s Day. We enjoy a nice dinner together with our family – whoever is available. I wonder, though, if this is enough? Is Valentine’s a day to celebrate the time spend “studying”? Is it a time to enjoy the happy “consequences” that follow time spent studying the details of what makes the other person happy?
Which brings me to question how I need to always continue to work on my relationship with my own children – to spend time studying them and getting to know them as they grow. How will my actions as a mother towards them consequence my soul’s future, or theirs for that matter?
In any case, my Valentine’s gift to my family today will be to act carefully. I will try to be conscious of the impact my actions have on them. Work first, play later.
Today is a gift in itself. It is a new day – a day to celebrate the relationship that we already enjoy and nourish the bonds we already have.