I remember growing up my older sister used to call me “Father George” referring to a priest or a monk that loved simplicity or just a mature older figure that was not going to get into a situation that included conflict, be it morally or physically.
The title of “Father George” I guess in retrospect really was an accurate one. In fact I loved being mature and responsible. Hanging out with the dog, sitting in the back yard with a cold drink on a mild summer day with the breeze blowing through the trees, or just hanging out with my parents or Grandparents and I was more than happy. I really am a salt of the earth guy, a real simple man. One of those peaceful Sunday afternoons, falling asleep to Sunday golf on television, or just sitting on the porch watching the universe go by was living well to me. Probably very boring to most and not the behavior of the average high school kid but it worked fine for me and it was safe. Yes safe and it was a chosen behavior. That is what was important to me. No conflict, no tension, no fighting, no pressure, but calmness and the comfort of being safe.
For me my behavior is innate. It’s just the way it is. I don’t try to act a certain way or not act a certain way, it just happens. It’s like the weather. I realize one may have more control over ones behavior than the weather and maybe that isn’t the best analogy but my behavior was my behavior period and it just happened. Each day I battle this disease, that element of safety seems further and further away. It’s more like constant conflict and discomfort, insecurity, anxiety and in many instances just plain torture.
The twins celebrated their first communion this past weekend,(I am the only Orthodox in the house) and once I was dressed and ready I sat patiently as the rest of the family got dressed and ready for this Holy day. There were blow dryers going, little feet running back and forth, the dog was barking, requests for toast with honey were bellowing over the hallways, and all the while I sat, and sat, and sat, remembering one day it was living well and now more like living hell. Torture. Sure I can be helpful to some degree if a job is placed in my lap, like tightening the kids’ belts or combing hair, but listening, sitting, and watching life as it revolves with all its sounds and commotion while looking in from what seems to be the outside is not what I would have chosen and has taken on an entire new dimension from the way it used to be.
Considering I could not finagle myself and the wheelchair with the rest of my family sitting in the reserved and appointed church pew about three rows away, as I sat opposite from them it occurred to me just how distorted my views on life really were. I believe most people would be more inclined to tell you that today’s world is a wee bit more cynical as we are constantly faced with conflict, tension, commotion and pressure, and where it’s easy to go to safer calmer ground; it’s unrealistic and ill prepares us for the truisms of life’s events. “Father George” at the time had no idea he should have been practicing war tactics preparing for a world war battle, nor did he need to. Surely and most importantly don't ever expect battle or bring on it's energy, but rather be as present and aware in the moment as you possibly can. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life’s simple pleasures, in fact everyone should, but it’s not until they are taken away do you realize just how much you took them for granted, and one can never be too prepared because challenges of many kinds inevitably come in various forms and fronts.