Life… So far to go in a strange neighborhood

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Here I sit, teacup in hand, much of the way through a life that was totally unlike my perfectly sensible expectations, hoping to write about what I’ve learned that might be valuable.

I think I should tell you right off the bat that I’ve had an incident-prone life.  Events find me, sometimes ravage me, eventually, if I’m lucky, they alter me in some mysterious way that nudges me up the next mountain.  These incidents are always a surprise, my life never anything like my plans.  Man plans God laughs, a friend once told me.  God must love me for the number of chuckles I’ve inadvertently provided.

Most of the time, I’m a rational, hard-working woman, who’s been married and raised three daughters.  The youngest is 20, the two older ones I lost to death after years of terrible illness.

I’ve run businesses, created brands that are household names, and written a few bestsellers, one of which, Bless the Child, became a Paramount movie.  I tell you all this only to establish some credentials in the ordinary world, because most of what I’ve learned is anything but ordinary and could easily be dismissed as implausible.

A Novel Life

Being a novelist lets you poke around the outer edges of other people’s paradigms.  You also don’t work nine to five.  Because of this, I’ve had the chance to explore places most people never get to go.  Blessed with a writer’s curiosity, the Irish penchant for peeking beyond the veil, and the dubious gift of having been born in interesting times, life has provided me with astounding opportunities.  I’ve done sacred ceremony with Native Americans (who call themselves Indians, by the way), studied hands-on healing with great mystics, earned a Black Belt in Karate, and had a chance to learn a lot about living.  Because of the death of my daughters, my parents, and my dearest childhood friend, I know something about dying, too, and about learning to live with the holes in your world that nothing can ever fill.

Despite being saddled with insatiable curiosity, to my surprise, I find that much of what I’ve learned in life, I really didn’t want to know.  Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then, as the song says. I was far happier with the illusion that love is forever, that good always triumphs, that hard work and decency win the day, that the good don’t die young, and that integrity is the way of the world.  Weren’t you?

Now for the Good News…

Yet, when all is said and done, life is also, quite paradoxically, so unaccountably good and wondrous that we’ll fight for it with our last ounce of ardour.  So filled with high adventure and astounding opportunities for glad grace… a stunning compendium that makes the head spin and the heart leap.  There are families, love, rapture, and nobility of spirit to keep it interesting, to say nothing of the occasional miracle, and the remarkable opportunity to prove that down to the Gates of Death we may be loyal and love one another.  And that’s pretty damned good, all things considered.

But it isn’t all roses, so don’t expect one of those insipid and twaddley blogs that abound these days, in which middle-aged women tell you they love the freedom of not having a waist, and men recount the easy road to power and pelf.  I’m planning to try for the truth here.  For better or worse, because life is both.

See what you think.

© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2010

Posted on December 4th 2010 in Life

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