I love being alive…
As a sufferer of depression, and no stranger to suicidal episodes, this is a statement that comes with all the deep joy of discovery and the exhilaration of touching something elusive - but it’s also profoundly and absolutely true. I love being alive! I love the connections I have and feel, with the Earth, the galaxies, with trees and water, with other animals, other human beings and the miraculous relationships I have with my children, my family and my friends.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, it’s when I feel this love of being alive most passionately, that I tend to feel most peaceful about Death.
I think about Death a lot – I always have. Sometimes, it’s scared me. Sometimes, it still does. (I don’t want to die; I love being alive!) Sometimes, it’s beckoned me. Sometimes, I’ve wanted to give up and hand everything over to it… But when I’m most peaceful in my soul, and most delighted with Living, I’ve come to feel that, for all the devastation it causes (and I don’t underestimate that; I really don’t) Death is a part of it all, and can be embraced, along with the other aspects of living.
I say more about this – or say similar things differently in my poem “The Dance”:
“…We dance with Death.
from dawn to dusk
and back again,
we look into her eyes
and see the twinkling
of eternal stars.
We dance with Death
- and this is Life…”
(Read the full poem here)
I’ve learned these lessons – or, more accurately, am learning them - at least in part, from meadow flowers and the four seasons, from the cycles of the moon and from the way a seed grows – and find that these themes are echoed in parables and metaphors.
John 12:24-25, in the Bible (Message version) says:
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”
That – at least in part – is what this poem’s about: Loving life – all life – so much that I don’t cling to it, frightened that I might lose it, but rather let it go and blossom and expand, knowing that my bodily death will contribute to the glorious, living tapestry of Everything.
As dawn sunbeams catch on my lashes,
making rainbows of my eyes,
they’ll illuminate grave buttercups
where my dust and ashes lie…
As morning dawns to warm my skin
and soak my soul in gold,
The brilliance of dandelions,
fire-bright and boldly bare,
though joyful there,
returns to seed,
to life-drenched death,
and gives itself
As dandelions I’ll be -
as dawn, to noon, to dusk, to night,
performing Summer alchemy
till Time withholds the light…
As all the flowers of the field
- and flowers on my grave:
born to blaze
and born to die
on a sigh.
Ruth Calder Murphy is a writer, artist, music teacher, wife and mother living in London, UK. Her life is wonderfully full of creativity and low-level chaos. She is the author of two published novels, “The Scream" and "The Everlasting Monday", several books of poetry and one or two as-yet unpublished novels. She is passionate about celebrating the uniqueness of people, questioning the unquestionable and discovering new perspectives on old wonders. She is learning to ride the waves that come along—peaks and troughs—and is waking up to just how wonderful life really is. You can visit Ruth and view more of her art on her website, or on her writer's page on Facebook. Her books are available on Amazon, here.