ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching

In a New York Times article, Pico Iyer writes of the value of suffering. “Wise men in every tradition tell us that suffering brings clarity, illumination.”

Suffering can bring clarity and illumination, if we examine the cause of it and how to prevent it in the future.

The extreme pain I felt after Ernie died forced me to examine my life. The lesson I have learned is this: If I truly know and love another person, then the pain of missing that person is just that, and that is enough to feel.

My pain went deeper. It included guilt, shame, and much regret because I didn’t truly know and love Ernie.

Examining my life is bringing me a knowledge of Ernie and a love of him. Examining my life is also giving me a knowledge of me, helping me to know who I was and why I was the way I was, and to begin to love myself as I am.

That’s the hard part — loving myself — yet unless I do, I cannot love another. To discount myself is to discount all others, is to show all others a lack of trust, a lack of kindness, a lack of respect. That’s just the way it goes.

I cannot give to others what I don’t give to myself. Of course, there’s also discernment. Not everyone is trustworthy. For most of my life, I haven’t been. I need to know the ones who are and the ones who aren’t.

Ernie and I made mistakes, didn’t know we were making them, and made the same mistakes over and over again. We didn’t see the pattern of our life. We didn’t learn. We didn’t grow.

So, what now?

See clearly, think soundly, speak wisely, love well, and savor life. Life is a succulent peach. Feel its skin. See its reds flow over its yellows. Bite into its glow. Taste its sweetness.

Know what it is and savor it because its season soon will be over.

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Ernestina

Ernestina

My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.