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When you find yourself weighing the imponderable questions in life—“what does it all mean,” “who is actually as important as they appear,” “will the meek even WANT their inheritance,” etc., you may find yourself wondering why we are here.

There are worse responses than the one posited by the band Devo: “We are here to go.” And, really, what is life if not a series of lesser and greater goings?

This perspective on living made a particularly big impression on me as I watched my wife prepare with equanimity to die. Once it was clear that her death was imminent she was gracefully all about the going.

As she had very little unfinished business in this world and focused on the next steps for her family and her friends, and for herself. That “next steps” business was her way of Going, which she did completely and beautifully.

Her departure left me to ponder the process of living. Like the rock band, I’m realizing that the simple English word “go” is just loaded with metaphoric potential. It can be used as a verb, a noun, or as an adjective and—best of all—the word can be used ambiguously. If you wish, the grammatically ambiguous term “go” can open a metaphorical path between the simple processes of living and something as profound as the purpose of life. So it seems anyway, but exploring that possibility is not the purpose of this little essay.

I mean only to reveal that I recognize myself in the state of “going” a lot lately.

Initially this realization gave me pause because I’ve fancied myself as willing to stand and face circumstances, uncomfortable or not. And so I considered that this continual “going” might in some way be me avoiding the reality of my loss in Denise’s dying, rather than going as a simple and inevitable consequence of being. I considered, and ultimately discounted avoidance as the primary purpose of my now more appreciated going. And so, going I am.

In some ways the phrase “Here to go” approaches in the spatial realm the elegance of my favorite temporal oxymoron, “Now, then.” But I digress.

To recap: I’ve been back and forth to Las Galeras and the United States. In this moment I have returned to Wisconsin where both the weather and my mother’s health have improved since last December. Before returning to the Dominican I intend to go to Nova Scotia and take a look at the Bay of Fundy, perhaps eat a lobster.

Before you Google “Bay of Fundy,” pull down your dictionary and take a look at “go.” I think you’ll be impressed.

“We are here to go.” Devo was onto something here.

1 Comment on We Are Here to Go

  1. AnnMarie says:

    Bill — stop contemplating already! Just GO!

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