Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

Between January 2 and 3, there was a space of about 22 hours when I didn't know. I was blissfully unaware of the fact. But, being unaware, was I really in a state of bliss? If you'd asked me---in my pre-knowing state---"Are you blissful?" I would have snorted. "What? Are you trying to accuse me of ignorance?" You would have chuckled.


I would have served you coffee. We would have chatted, and I would have told you my grand plans for the coming New Year. Some of my hopes would have included him.


"I'm going to uncork my courage and talk to him about his drinking," I would have told you. "I want to prod him out of his apathy and get him drawing again." I would sip my coffee, thinking. "I want to have a deeper and more meaningful friendship with my brother."


"When will you do all this?" you would ask, adding two lumps and a splash of cream.


My heart would flutter; my palms would sweat. "Maybe this week."


Then we would drink our coffees, dreaming of our big plans in those last 45 seconds before my 22 hours were up. But the phone would ring. The news would be delivered: "Your brother died about this time yesterday."

Hindsight is 20/20: Ignorance was bliss.

All my future chances--my "next weeks"--to talk to my brother are gone. Forever.

But there are other beating hearts I love, other encouragement I can offer, and maybe even a lovingly applied kick-in-the-pants or two.

I should act now and be afraid later.

18 comments:

Linnette R Mullin said...

What to do, Heather? One day last week I could have and thought I had lost my oldest son. In some ways, I have lost him. He's growing up and doesn't think he needs momma right now. I'm living in a state of limbo, standing on a two foot circular platform that drops off into an abyss on every side. I can turn in circles for hours, days, weeks and I have no where to go without falling. Sometimes, you can't reach people no matter how much you love them, no matter how hard you try. Yes, we should make the most of today, but somedays all I can do is be.

Heather Trent Beers said...

I know what you mean, Linnette. Sometimes, all we CAN do is just be. But when there is more we can do, we have to learn to do it afraid. As for your son, you must be raising him right if he is starting to cut the strings. It hurts, I know, but necessary for his growth into adulthood. Deep breaths!

Yvonne Stiles said...

Heather, thanks so much for your honesty.
You've been on my mind and in my prayers (and I mean that...not just the cliche) for a while...
Your words make me think of my younger brothers, 2 of them, in New York. One is 18 the other 19. Both not following the Lord...and so desperately need Him.
Lord, would Your words to them be my words? Give me the courage and passion to live fully in each moment You give me to hear their voices on the other end of the phone...

Sue's Stories said...

This is moving. What a wonderful way to use your gift to help others through your pain. Uncle Dave and I pray for you daily.

Heather Trent Beers said...

Yvonne, thank you for your comments. I know how you feel about your brothers. Courage looks so bright and shiny on paper, doesn't it? But when we try to grasp it in our hands, it's suddenly sharp-y and stick-y and not so much fun to hold anymore. Someone give me some gloves!

Heather Trent Beers said...

Thank you, Aunt Sue. I know you do, and it means so much to me.

Kim S. said...

Thanks for being so honest Heather. This is a beautiful and thought provoking piece.

cynthia said...

Heather - your writing is as beautiful as it ever was - you have such an incredible gift. Your words are powerful and it breaks my heart to read them. God bless you for your insight and wisdom - what a treasure it is to know you. Take care and know that you are always in my prayers.

Sally said...

Heather,
So very true! We'll only see what God did when your brother was so heavy on your heart, when we get to heaven. Our tears are prayers, too. (Psalm 126:5,6)

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

There are some broken communications I'm in the process of trying to mend lately. Thanks for this. And once again, so very sorry.

Heather Trent Beers said...

Thank you, Jordan. Wishing you every grace and strength and piece of courage as you mend those broken things. You will find treasure.

Heather Trent Beers said...

Thank you, Kim. Hope your thoughts lead you to brave action. I'm cheering you on!

Kansas Bob said...

These events are so powerful Heather. A good friend of 30+ years died last November and I had not seen him in a while.. I was a bit offended. His death woke me up. I immediately contacted another friend who had offended me and we reconciled. These things have shown me that life is too short to be offended.. or afraid.

Love and blessings, Bob

Heather Trent Beers said...

You are right, Bob. Life is too short to spend it offended or afraid all the time. My hope is that after the shock and grief wear away a little that I will not forget my desire to act first and be afraid later. (Good for you and your friend for doing the scary work of reconciliation!)

George said...

Peace to you Heather. I live with forever-lost opportunities, too. My regrets are painful lessons, but I know my God is in control.

You are a blessed lady, for sure. Thank you for sharing your joy as well as your pain.

Heather Trent Beers said...

George, thank you for stopping by. My hope is that we learn better every day--with God's grace--how to live braver lives and make the most of every opportunity.

Wendy said...

My dear friend, I want to tell you that your lovingly applied kicks-in-the-pants have been appreciated more than you could know during the course of our friendship. Have courage to face whatever comes next, knowing that you are an inspiration to me and many others every day. I love your writing and the way you use your story to inspire others. Thank you for sharing this experience to help us work through our own grief and those regrets that come cropping up time and again in our lives. I believe we cannot live our life full of regrets, we can only learn from them and move forward if we want to maintain a reasonable amount of sanity. You are precious to all who know you. Thank you for sharing.

Heather Trent Beers said...

Wendy, you're so sweet. Thank you for taking the time to read and post. I appreciate you so much. :)