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I’ve been having lessons in acceptance throughout my life. Much of it, has been a struggle. Mostly because somewhere along the way I adopted a confused thought. (This is not uncommon. I have many confused thoughts).

  • Acceptance does not = Liking.

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Somewhere along the way, I confused acceptance with “liking” something.

There is war. There is poverty. Crime and harm done others. While I don’t like any of these, I accept that they are the reality. As sad as they make me. As cruel as they come across. Injustice perpetuated by others is not something any of use will ever like. And, by acceptance, I’m not resigned to inaction. I can become an advocate for any cause. No, acceptance merely equates to my acknowledgement that it exists. It’s true. Even if it’s horrible – or stupid.

It’s like I think that the my realization of the truth somehow equates to my condoning. This is a typical un-humble thought. I’m full of those. (This idea that somehow my endorsement of something is a requirement  before something becomes truth).

Simple = Good

I have been thinking on the topic of this late after the passing of my friend, self-proclaimed ding-a-ling and always-laughing Tom Delgado. Or, as I knew him.. simply.. Marissa-Endora-Carol-La Luna-Tome. (So named for the string of drag numbers and icons, no less memorable than Tom himself).

I don’t know if it was because we were the same age. Or, that I just saw him on my last trip to California – or that it happened so fast. One day he was with us. The next day he was not with us.

I’ve experienced death of those I love. You can’t have been on earth as long as I have and not have this as part of your experience. But, it never gets easier.

  • To the contrary – I suspect it will get much harder.

It’s an inverse equation. Although I’ve had a long enough time on earth to get used to the idea of death, it’s also because I’ve had these folks in my life for an extended period that it hurts that much harder.

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Of course, all this reminds me of the subject no one ever really wants to talk about. The idea that my own mortality is finite. That none of us really knows that if we go to bed this evening if we’ll wake to greet the morning. And for the last few evenings, those have been my thoughts as I drift off to sleep. What if this were the last time I moved the puppy Ganso because he’s hogging my pillow and snoring in my ear? What if this were the last time I’d reach over and grab Rob’s hand only to have him grunt, roll over and mention how hot the room is? Have I done all that I hoped to do by now? Are my affairs in order? What about that proverbial ‘bucket list’?

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No. Acceptance in this instance is that I will NEVER have my affairs in “order”. I will NEVER have completed all that I hoped to accomplish. I will never have an empty bucket list. These are as futile at this moment while I lay in bed typing as Ganso no longer keeping my pillow from me. Some things just are.

Tom showed me that rather striving to seek an enlightened approach, perhaps it was just as good to seek the simplest one – because often times they are one in the same. Many times in meditation and spiritual conversation we often wax on about big concepts, and complex notions. But the truth often is, simple is best.

It’s like a conversation I had with Ms. Delgado right after she was sprung from jail for hitting a pedestrian (to be fair, the pedestrian ‘refused’ to move, and Ms. Delgado warned her). It seemed to be the peak of Tom’s streak of rage. And, we talked openly how we hoped that this was the cherry on his anger cake and that he could find peace through God and letting go.

Tom devised his own approach to anger management. He decided that whenever he got angry, he would sing a song. Any song. (He knew lots, he was a music trivia and karaoke master!). But, he favored show tunes and anything Ethel Merman might sing. Because his simple thought was you cannot hang on to anger, AND sing a show tune at the same time. It just wasn’t possible. And prior to that conversation I hadn’t thought of that simple idea. Tom described it as ding-a-ling. I would say inspired.

So sing that song. Anger is anger. Injustice is injustice. Pain is pain. Accept it. Move on, or get into action to change it. But until it’s changed – it just ‘is’.

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