Thursday, August 25, 2016

On This Day

Sometimes, when i hear the date and details of someone going through a major event, usually traumatic in some way, I try to think back to what I was doing  at the time and then I line up those two lives being lived, side by side, and compare.  Mostly it's just a thought like, "Huh. When I was spending my day cleaning my dumb house or eating ice cream on the porch, this person was going through THAT."  Or, "This person was having a baby amidst horrible depression and mental illness. i was just starting college, eighteen, laughing with friends and learning how to be adultish."  And I imagine us going through life in a split-screen, me here and them there. I don't know why I do it. But I do it. I guess it gives me some perspective on my own life, and is perhaps an attempt to remember the small joys and moments of my day, to be filled with a little more gratitude, and not take what i have for granted. To do better to recognize hardship in others' lives and let it benefit my own. Also to just increase my awareness, especially when my life is simple, perhaps mundane and unremarkable, life is very much happening for others. And to remain on watch for that.

For example, I just read about a woman who was hiking in New Zealand about a month ago when her hiking partner slipped and fell and died. She, also injured, survived for 3 days out in the open and then found an old cabin and lived there for A MONTH.   And I'm like, one month. What was I doing in July? Oh, living in my house with no AC. Eating popsicles and sweating around the clock.  *zoom out and go across the world to a remote cabin in NZ to a woman, injured, having to leave dead friend, middle of winter, feet and feet of snow outside. Buh.*

Hopefully when you read that I had no AC you zoomed out to your own life in July and imagined what you were doing with AC, and feel better and more grateful.  I'm kidding, obviously it was fine and perhaps more on that later. What I really came to do today was come in here and jot down the day to give myself a bit of perspective and to just, I guess, remember.

Here's one thing.  Remember the Dry Farm?  And that little white house that we stayed in and loved, where we felt transported to a different time and dimension? Yeah it burned down.  All of it. Surrounding buildings, the relics therein: gone.  They think it was a human-started fire though I know very little. What I do know is that I can hardly believe it happened. We were just there two weeks ago, and this place that holds so much of the heart of my mother and her sisters, of me and my own child, is gone.  We could have taken home the treasures-- old heirlooms, paintings and photos. Blankets made by my grandmother. But we didn't, and now they're gone, and all we have left are our joint memories and love and mourning.  We told Julian and he sobbed and sobbed. Serious heartbreak. He's also really good at weeping and wailing, crying to the heavens, "Why would you let this happen??" *shaking fists* Futilely asking me, asking no one, "What better place is there in all the world??"  And while I do laugh, mostly my heart breaks for his, and I cannot answer, because I feel the same.

This morning I got on the ol' Facebook and discovered a friend, who'd been hospital-ridden for months and months, birthed her twin boy and girl and subsequently lost the boy who'd been sick in utero.  And she wrote this update with pictures of her beautiful babies, having not allowed time for herself to sleep or gather her thoughts at all, but just got it out, put it out there for everyone to see, all of her feelings, untouched by the passing of time.  So raw, so wrenching, and I cried, and I thought, this is what is going on for her and her family, where they are, on this day, right now.

And then I went for a hike. The mountain was cool, the sky cloudy and just utterly glorious with its morning sun ripping through and around all the clouds. I hiked up and up and shuddered in the cold gust of the mountain wind and felt that kind of closeness to nature and therefore everything else that one does in moments like this.  And I listened to an interview with Elie Wiesel, a concentration camp and holocaust survivor who died this summer.  And he spoke, his voice soft and hypnotic, as he shared his journey and lifelong mission to be a voice for broken people, a teacher to those who were not there, though he said he could never succeed. He could never be successful in describing what it was actually like. To, as he said, "communicate the incommunicable."  But to keep trying anyway. And as he shared his views of faith and struggle, in life and circumstance, he quoted a well known Hasid whose name I couldn't quite catch, who he paraphrased, saying, 

"No heart is as whole as a wounded heart.  No faith is as whole as a wounded faith."    

And I cried again, and descended the mountain, a part of me changed forever. 


Cheryl and Dave said...

This is so beautiful Jen. ❤️

)en said...

thanks, buddy. 😊 Good to see ya