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Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Have Nots

Bucolic splendor in the country enjoyed by
the Haves and the Not Lacking.

In a world where things can seem brutally unfair, the notion that there is a group known as the “Have Nots” and a sister organization called “the Lack Of’s” does not seem unreasonable. Members of the Have Nots and the Lack Of’s have, regrettably, come to such billing as a result of loss, sorrow and simple misfortune.  These are those souls whose lives did not play out according to the script they had once imagined.  They have lost their fathers, mothers, or children due to disease, divorce or death.  The Lack Ofs may have retained a hold on the physical realm of their loved ones, but they are getting no more than a ghost of a whisper from their once-sanguine relationships.  
As a newly divorced woman, it can be painful to see a husband and wife in the throes of early passion, showcasing their affection publicly and without discrimination.  As a recent widower, it can be difficult to watch a couple walk just within hands-reach of one another along the tidewater mark of his wife’s favorite beach.  As a young adult, it can feel like salt in a wound to see a girl and her father walk the dog; the question begs, would she and her father be walking their dog together had he survived?  As a father and son, can a man stop himself from wondering what kind of brother he would have been had his brother and he been closer?  I, myself, spent three years avoiding pregnant women in grocery stores - actually, charging down adjacent aisles so as not to confront their bellies - after having four miscarriages of my own.  
It is nearly impossible not to feel the immeasurable weight of loss when we recognize ourselves in others.  Moreover, we experience our losses all over again when we perceive that other people have the relationships we most seek or treasure. Possibly our sense of not having, of lacking, speaks more to our state of mind than any reality.
After all, aren’t we all suffering from a loss, a sorrow, some grief?  Each of us needs time and perspective to regain our footing after a tragedy or a grave loss.  However, at some point, the imperative to live a happy life -- rather than to merely go through the motions of a life colored only by failure and loss -- wins out.  Rather than dwelling on that which we have lost, how much more fitting it is to remember our “haves” and to celebrate them.  

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