Lessons Learned And Lessons Yet To Learn

I've learned my lesson well
Hope I live to tell
The secret I have learned, 'til then
It will burn inside of me

            --Live To Tell by Madonna

I couldn't blame anyone who reads any of my posts if they didn't believe me when I say that I haven't always been as philosophical about life & the world as I am right now.

For a good, long stretch of my life, I was quite philosophy-free. I happen to believe that your point of view on a great many things is shaped, in large part, by the circumstances of your own life, and by being cognizant of the lessons--great & small--that are provided to you by the universe as you live that life.  For me--in the middle of my own years-long Secret Storm--I thought it was just enough knowing that I had survived yet another painful day.  Back then, I didn't believe I would ever have the luxury of having a REAL life, never quite realizing that, though I was hugely unsatisfied with my circumstances, those stormy, lonely days were my life.

I had no idea that it was precisely BECAUSE I was able to survive a life that had all but killed me, that I had been given the gift of a "wealth" of lessons.  It was years later, only once I became intent on finding some sort of practical purpose in those dark days, that I began to understand that I didn't have to wait for my REAL life to start; I had been living it all along.  I had heard the saying a million times, but it is just one of those unescapable truths that, in that great card game called Life, we are stuck playing the cards that are dealt us.  It is only once our lives are done that we can fold.

In slowly opening my eyes to the reality that there is a good share of my life over which I would just never have control, I learned one of my first--and most important-- life lessons: that I do have the ability to control how I act and react to the circumstances of my life at any given time.  Understanding that simple yet sublime fact has helped me to discern the difference between what is indispensible in my life, and what is disposable.  It doesn't mean that  I always get it right (what an understatement!), but it helps me to understand that I wouldn't know how important humility is in my life, if I didn't miss the mark every now & again;  it is also a reminder to me that the learning never stops...not while there is still a breath in my body, and not while I have at least a couple of brain cells to rub together.  ;-)

I was watching Shatner's Raw Nerve on the Biography channel the other day, and he was interviewing Fran Drescher (formerly of the sitcom, The Nanny)What amazed me at first is how well she's held up...not just physically, but emotionally.  She told William Shatner about her having uterine cancer, getting a radical hysterectomy, coming to terms with never being able to give birth, the devastation of being raped, going through a divorce, and even having to endure the death of her dog (as she was suffering with cancer).  For a woman who is known for earning a living by making others laugh, she, herself, it would seem, had very few things to laugh about.  I was a big fan of The Nanny back in the day, and I never once associated her with anything as horrible as the things she described to William Shatner.  I guess I just saw Ms. Drescher only as her fictional character with that nasal-y Queens (as in the borough in New York, not the monarch) accent, and not the human being whose real life extended well beyond the closing credits.

Toward the end of the interview, as Shatner was wrapping it all up, this funny lady spoke the words that could just as easily come out of my own mouth.  She said, ...no one leaves this world unscathed.  Turning pain into purpose is extremely healing and somehow makes sense out of the senselessThe nanny hit the nail on the head.

Though some of her final words in that interview certainly didn't mirror my own life, the sentiment most certainly did, and those are the words I want to end this post with:

I got famous.  I got cancer.  And I lived to talk about it, and that is my destiny.
MisterC MisterC
46-50, M
Jul 18, 2010