Let’s revisit those first times again . . .
Our lives are full of ‘firsts’, from our primal yell until our last sigh. Which will actually be a both a mighty ‘first-and-last’. But don’t get me mixed up. You know what I mean, and so I go on. There’s the first tooth, first step, first day of school, and all that stuff, But some of our ‘firsts’ go deep.
How about the first time you traveled alone? Planned the trip, bought the tickets, and then, in a strange city, with no help from anyone, you made your train or plane connections. Even called a cab and arrived at your hotel . . . all by yourself.
Remember the first time you applied for a job? Ho, ho, ho, that was a big first, and then, for heaven’s sake, don’t forget about the first time you were fired. And if it never happened to you, well, I hope it never does, but I remember once being flatly told I was hired to work not to goof off, and so I began to work. Some of our firsts are also great teachers.
Branching out, I’ll always remember my first time in a really nice restaurant. I was stunned, though I tried desperately to look unimpressed. It seemed like the room shone. Lovely chandeliers made the silver and crystal glitter on the white linen, and there were tall plants around the room, large pictures on the walls, draperies at the windows, and a waiter with a napkin over his arm. Just to help me. And I felt as if I should not speak above a whisper. Almost like in church. Oh, my I remember.
We don’t soon forget the first time death, that ole hypocrite, came into our life, either, and when we stood at the edge of that deep earthen hole, and knew that any remains of our loved one, who was talking and laughing just days ago, has now been hidden deep in God’s earth. And knew that death does not happen just to others, but to you, too. And the second or third times come no easier.
And as I spoke of the ‘end’ of life, I now take us to the beginning, the first time we made love. Yes, we women remember, and whether it was a time of wonder and bliss, or sadly, if far from all romantic words we’ve read, we still remember. I don’t know about men and how their memories work, but for the rest of our lives, women never forget.
And in this day and age, it’s perfectly correct to ask, if you remember your first marriage? And if there’s been only one, you are either outstandingly lucky or are maybe living in a marriage you really ought to change. And, once more, I write of the other side of the coin, how about your first divorce? Oh, me, oh me, oh me. What I don’t think of, but that seems to be such an ordinary part of today’s life, and not to be ignored.
Then, do you remember that lovely first moment when you held a newborn child in your arms and knew that between you and God, you had made this bundle of life. Oh yes, some man had a momentary part in the wonder of wonders, but you, within your own body, carried that child for nine long months and then gave it birth. And this is one of the times when the emotion that fills you is really ‘Love beyond words’.
And there was the day you moved into your first home. Might have been no more than a rental of only one or two rooms , but it was yours. All yours, and the thrill of later ones, no doubt far more sumptuous, would never be recalled like that first one.
And ultimately we all have startling firsts, like when, for the first time, we realized we were moving up in the generations. First you were the youngest, and then, to your dismay, you saw younger children born and then for a long, long time you were in that comfortable middle zone.
But relentlessly you saw yourself not only taking care of a younger generation, but at the same time realizing your parents might one day also need help. Happens to us all.
Yes, ultimately, your parents die, and that is a first you never forget for with it comes the realization that you are now the oldest generation. By chance it happened to me when I was fairly young, but, do I remember. It was a shock for it seemed such a short time since I had been the youngest of the family, and then, there I was of the oldest.
Oh, and then the glory of the first time you dropped into really deep meditation, into another time and space, and you knew that the stories told by those ancient seers and sages are true and you were blessed to find them and their Teachings. And forever afterwards, the phrase of Thank You, God, became a constant part of your thoughts.
Do you remember your first emergency? Perhaps when one of your own children was hurt or in an accident and there was no one else to take charge? Remember how you chose not to panic, straightened your shoulders, did what needed to be done, and if you fainted it was not until the child had been cared for, and all was well again.
Firsts, firsts, firsts. Our entire life is made of them. You have yours. I have mine and I hope most of yours were wonderful, just as most of mine have been, too.