While he was alive, by my side, I didn't need to care so much about satisfaction. He had enough for both of us and everyone around him. I was "content" to be the one who always wondered if I was meeting my potential, doing enough, accomplishing enough. I was often filled with doubt about my purpose. I flustered easily, got excited about what was happening around me. Sometimes the excitement was positive and vibrant, sometimes it was just nervous, scattered, wasted energy. I was always scanning the horizon for the next event, opportunity, crisis. I was alert, ready, prepared, on the lookout for potential trouble. My to-do list bossed me around. I was on time. Not late. Punctual. On deadline. I was seeking the next moment instead of enjoying the one that was before me. Trying to be perfect, and failing perfectly at that.
Ken's stillness, his calm was always present for me. All he had to do was put his hand on mine and I'd get that transfer of warm, steady, calm energy. No matter what he was doing, the task was right. On the phone for an hour with Apple Computer? Why not. Has to be done. Balancing the Quicken account? Deeply satisfying. After all, it's a life task that needs doing. Children fussy for hours on end? Why not? That's what children do sometimes and that's why parents are there, to absorb and deflect. He was like a worry stone for me...make a connection with him and my blood pressure would plummet, heart rate decrease, perspective widen.
Ken lived in his own time zone, a mysterious, calm, cool, rock of assuredness and understanding. In Ken's world, all was as it should be. Things were meant to be understood, not judged. He could get an angry note from his boss ALL IN CAPS and shrug his shoulders. He could run late without sweating. At his memorial service, a friend told a story of sailing on Lake Michigan with Ken in a sudden squall. One of the passengers fell off the boat and as the distance grew between them, Ken surveying the surroundings said, "Wow, it's really windy out here," while turning the boat to retrieve her.
Today I'm the one in the water. Ken is gone, years now. Fortunately, at the moment, I'm not in cold, windy Lake Michigan. I'm alone in a warm Caribbean sea, all by myself, floating way out from the beach. No one knows I'm here but me. The water is clear and body temperature. I want to share this peace the way Ken shared his with me. But it's quiet out here and I'm all by myself. I can't see anyone. I splash every now and again enjoying how it feels and sounds. I'm sending out ripples.