Personal Writings

Verb: To Reconcile

By November 10, 2014 4 Comments

Reconciliation.

The word is a struggle to pronounce. It squeezes together so many sounds, similar, but not the same, tripping the tongue and confusing the mind.

And that makes sense. The act of reconciliation is the integration of differing elements. It itself is difficult. It is a struggle. If it were not, one would simply decide, match or agree. Simple words, straightforward actions. But to reconcile is more challenging. It takes effort. It takes time.

I feel as though there is a decision, looming over my head. It looks like an hourglass, with sand trickling through, dwindling away far too quickly. And yet I’m not sure what will happen when it ends, unsure of the actual decision I feel looming, never mind my choice.

I suppose it’s natural, especially at my age. Right now, my peers are all facing decisions. As they finish up degrees, many are faced with the terrifying prospect of having to create their own days. To chose how to fill them.

It actually sounds so silly when put like that. As children, didn’t we all dream of the day when we would be able to do whatever we wanted with our time?

“When I grow up, I’m going to _______”

Have dessert every night. Wear whatever I want. Speak 5 languages. Travel to Japan. Be a firefighter.

It sounded like such a dream. Being an adult was going to be so wonderful.

And yet, when the time finally comes, it doesn’t feel simple. It doesn’t feel exciting.

It feels terrifying.

What on earth are we going to do?

Of course, there are reasons for the fear. Along with this newfound freedom comes a great deal of responsibility. We are responsible for feeding ourselves, housing ourselves, clothing ourselves, transporting ourselves, and entertaining ourselves. We need money to do that. We need money to do almost everything.

So instead of feeling elated at the presence of wide open days, we feel panic. Because there are things we need to be doing. And if we aren’t, that’s really bad. If we aren’t, our future is looking pretty bleak.

And adjusting to that panic seems to be a cornerstone of the early-mid 20s experience.

I too feel the weight of that stress, nudging me as I lie in bed at night, prompting me, pushing me, pressuring me.

And sometimes, I acknowledge it. Sometimes, I research careers and schooling. Sometimes, I think about what kind of life I want to lead. Sometimes, I try to plan a map for getting there.

Because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right?

But there’s a slight problem. Since last August, my medical situation has been steadily getting worse. The progression has been so slight, it took me months to really notice. But lately, I have been having to make choices like whether to go to the gym or cook myself dinner. Whether to clean, or go out with my family. My upcoming month is filled with appointments, and everything hinges on how they go. What are my next steps? Will I be starting a new medication? If so, how long will it take to kick in? More importantly, how will I react to it?

I’ve been feeling a bit stuck. I feel this immense pressure to take strides towards organizing, essentially, my life. I hate the fact that I am not financially independent. I hate the fact that I don’t know when I will be. I hate the fact that I am not even in school, taking strides towards employability. I want to change all of that. I want to make decisions. I want to make commitments. I want to feel like an adult, or at least feel capable of performing a fleeting impression of one.

And yet I feel as though my body is preventing me from making any decisions. From making commitments. From being an independent adult.

I do not know what I will be physically capable of in a month, never mind a year. I do know that right this minute, I am not capable of going to school. Today, I could not have travelled to work. I tutored from home for two hours, and then I slept for five. And when I woke up, I ate leftovers for dinner.

Currently, I am taking things a day at a time. And some days are great. I cannot express how accomplished I felt earlier this week, after sorting through all of my laundry, washing my sheets and towels, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, and cooking an exciting meal. And I did that all in one day.

But taking things a day at a time does not seem to satisfy the hourglass hanging over my head. It pushes for longterm answers. It calls for the future. It shouts.

As a result, I have sat for hours, trying to decide. Trying to make plans.

And in these plans I have built a window. A window of time to deal with this latest flare, before I start whatever it is I choose to pursue.

But really, that’s ridiculous. This isn’t going away. It might get better, I certainly expect it to, but it might also get worse. It is a constant in my life. It will need to be considered in every decision I make.

I should know that by now. I do know that by now. But it is so much easier to have 2 separate options.

Because really, that’s how I’ve been looking at things.

The first option is that I get better. Not cured, but better. I get better and then I can do wonderful, exciting things. I can go to school, I can get a job, I can volunteer, I can even learn to waltz if I so choose. And I have chosen, I have sketched out exactly what I want to do, how I want to live.

The other option is not an option. It is so not an option that I haven’t even considered it. But it involves me not getting any better. It involves me not being able to do those things.

Decisions can be scary. They can be hard. But it’s so much easier to make a choice, than attempt to blend two different options.

But I don’t think I have a choice to make.

My first option is a fantasy. I hope that it will come true, and it very well might, but it is not true right now.

My second option is less than reality. It is insubstantial. It is just as unrealistic as the first at this point and time.

Choosing is not an option.

But maybe, the hourglass over my head isn’t waiting to me to choose. Maybe, the pressure I feel is not guiding me towards a decision.

Maybe it’s a little more complicated.

Maybe it’s about taking my goals and dreams, taking my financial concerns, and merging them with my physical reality.

Maybe it’s about reconciliation.

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  • rebarie says:

    Your speculation(s) are fascinating, oh daughter of my friend.

    “Reconciliation” has many Hebrew implications: a compelling one is le’hashlim, based on “Sh-L-M” (completion), and the same root as “shalom”. Reconciliation is about “peace”, and in Hebrew this is about the completion of relationships, not the absence of warfare.

    You also mention time in its many guises.

    Hebrew has many words to describe time, but I’ll choose only one: shana, which is based on the root le’shanut “to transform”. Transformative time is G!d’s Time, it’s the type of time you don’t notice until you see a picture of yourself and realise how much you’ve changed.

    It’s the type of time a mother and father learn a lot about when they watch their children grow — and also when they watch themselves grow.

    Chronic is an English word to describe time that interferes with transformative time. Chronic pain, chronic fatigue, transforms how we transform. It roots us in the moment, and that’s all we can perceive. Transformative time is rooted in the day, not in the moment, and it’s harder to appreciate when all we can feel is fixed in time.

    Keep writing. Let your thoughts soar. And sing if if you hate your voice. Better yet… play the recorder or the tin whistle. You’ll be shocked at how much better your voice sounds over time.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment so thoughtfully. That’s so interesting about the roots of the words in Hebrew and their various connections – I find words and their origins and connotations to be extremely fascinating, and I’m so glad that you shared them with me. Especially those particular words which I grapple with so frequently- it’s wonderful to see them through another language. Thank you also for your encouragement, I very much appreciate it! All the best.

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