Everything is Relative
Frustration overwhelms me. I know that the quote I wanted to start this column off with is out there, but I am so geared to find it that it is beyond my reach.
I am sure that I read it in the beginning of “The Qur’an” or “The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk.” Neither of which I was able to read beyond the first chapters.
It wasn’t because the content wasn’t there; it was because my comprehension was not.
Regardless, I do remember adamantly that there was a quote that said something to the extent of, “Everything is Relative.”
I remember because I was so excited to see those words in print, I felt validated.
Since I can remember, I have had the belief that everything is relative. That my pain, sorrows or suffering were on the same level (regardless of the situation) of everyone else in the world. I believed (and still do) that everyone has different challenges but that they are all relative to who we are individually and to the tools that we have been given in our own unique tool bags for this life.
In all honesty, I do also realize that this approach has been a very significant coping mechanism for me. How else could anyone possibly explain such grand inequality within the human race? A large part of my heart has always needed a way to rationalize why so much suffering exists from newborns to the elderly; across the globe.
This theory, this approach to life, is why on this week I am breaking away from the story of our trip to Virginia and expressing what is bursting at my heart strings and fingertips to share with others.
I actually wrote this column on Memorial Day. Earlier that day I was driven to make this Facebook post:
“I was just thinking about how very different it must have been - between the safety and beauty of our lives in Vermont and the fear and devastation on the soils of war. Memorial Day is a fantastic day to pay tribute!
But... kinda along the lines of ‘don’t only tell your mom you love her on mother’s day; tell her as often as you can’: I believe that (despite whether or not we agree with war and all related issues) we need to recognize those who fought for what they believed in. And we need to recognize those who went to fight because they had no other - or limited other options.
Every single time I see someone with a hat/button/tattoo or any other indication that they served; I make a point to go out of my way to say, “Thank You.”
I’ve heard it said, you can’t understand something that you haven’t experienced.
I can’t begin to understand it...but I have witnessed a lot of the aftermath and pain and suffering of those who fought, their families and friends. Thank You to all the Veterans. My biggest wish for you is Peace.”
But my reflecting didn’t end there. That same night I was scared and anxious as all get out because of what was scheduled for the next morning. Last Tuesday, at 8 a.m., Channel 5 would be arriving at the house to gather footage for a feature on the Vermont Pinup Girl Calendar 2020. It may come as a surprise to many that despite my lack of inhibition or shyness; I am extremely uncomfortable with public speaking or being atop a “soapbox” of any sort.
But as I was freaking out Monday night, something in my gut brought me back to read what I had written just hours earlier on Facebook. Rereading my own words, but in a different state of mind; I was humbly reminded that I was stressing over problems that were really miniscule in the greater scheme of things.
How is it that I was in such a panicked state about an opportunity to help others? How selfish was I being in letting my own insecurities overwhelm me to the point that it might affect the final outcome of something so important?
I took a deep breath and tried to put my fear into perspective.
What about the fear of the Veterans that I just wrote about?
Or that of my friend after recently losing the love of her life at such a young age?
Or my brother’s fear of letting the world know that he is gay?
How about my own younger brothers who are Marines?
Or my Mother’s fear in persisting through a marriage to an alcoholic (who has been clean 30 years now).
It was in taking a step back and admiring the strength and courage that others have displayed… That I embarrassingly realized that my current situation wasn’t so horrific. And, I also realized that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t dig a little deeper in my own personal toolbox.
It took some time digging around to find the tools that I was looking for. But I ended up finding them right next to my saddle. “Saddle” you might ask? Yup, see I feel that we add tools to the bag as we journey through life. I added a saddle when my son gave me this plaque for a gift about a year ago. It’s one of my favorites lately, and honestly, I know it will be a favorite forever.
Julie Gagnon Prior
Julie Gagnon Prior resides in Grand Isle with her partner Carl and their 5 dogs. Prior has been battling Lyme Disease for several years, which she