I have been a Van Morrison fan for a while now. I know it isn’t his best song; as pointed out to me by a long gone lying, cheating, assjerk of a boyfriend. I will have you know, I am laughing about this. But, it’s true. There will be days when you are flummoxed as to how to shift your coordinates, when Grammarly points out that you can’t spell, you feel like you don’t have anyone to go to, and you choose to wear the weary gray of sorrow like flailing wings. Up, up, up you say. Breathe in, breathe out, working to lift yourself beyond the mist to where you know there is sunlight. But, instead, you nibble your nails that have finally grown, wander to nowhere, and feel waited down by nothing, really. There will be days like this. Buddha says to be with it. This is where the mind and body are. Even he knew, sometimes you wake to light and sometimes you wake to shadows. There will be days like this and this to shall pass.
And then, you get a call from an old friend. Someone who caused you pain, who hurt you more than you’d ever been hurt, but who due to that one constant connection you could never walk away from, and over the years you’ve forgiven him. And now your dreary day, it’s a gift. It’s a chance to slow down, to watch the angle of the sun cast light upon buildings in ‘just that way’ that makes you catch your breath. You stop and feel the miracle that is your body, you savor smells and taste the richness of happily, homemade food. And you stop wishing there was something more to your life or that things were different; because you know they could be worse. You stop withering in your own self-doubt and the incandescent refuge of self-pity. Yes, the mind woke to this, no, there didn’t feel like there was anything for it, yes, you would’ve held to it rather than find out someone is fading, and someone is leaving.
There will be days like this. I want a story that will remind you that life isn’t predictable. You think this is the road you’re on, but there isn’t a guarantee. We act like there is. We act like everything will always go on just as it has been. Children will grow up, move on, and become more fully themselves. We will create new lives or re-develop old passions. We’ll carry out the trash, wash our clothes, and not think about someone forgetting who they are, or that one day in the future there will be the last pulse of a fighting organism. The body wants to live. Did you know that? It isn’t just the mind that wants to go on; the body wants to live too.
Watch someone’s body struggle to stay here. The mind, spirit, soul, I think it knows better. I think it leaves long before the body gives up. All of those cells, all of those memories threaded through like movement and music and leaves moving in the breeze, they hold on. The body can’t forget. The mind, it understands. It rises above, let’s go, shifts, and whispers goodbye, at least I hope mine will. But for now, I hope it kisses the beauty that is life, squeezes each moment for its flavor, blinks of grandeur, flat out tragedy, love, and light. I hope it pulls on that delicate, oft lightly worn, sense of peace and lays down beneath a tree, smiling, irrevocably content to just be here. I wish peace were more tightly woven. Burlapish. Thick and hardy. Is it possible? Is that what sitting for hours, watching my breath, being in the moment is all about?
Maybe, maybe that is really what meditating is for. Maybe sitting each night quieting the mind, knowing that you can find a breath to hold on to…and then another, is what will hold us through days like this. Maybe it will keep the lock from turning and releasing the thundering hooves of all that drowns us. I don’t want to drown out reality. That isn’t the answer. I want to be able to stand, to be a temple for someone, to touch the light and carry it long enough to pass it on. We can run this together, holding the weight when the other person needs to rest, keeping the torch lit for all who are being pulled into the shadows…holding the darkness at bay. It doesn’t take much, a touch, listening, even just a smile. You’d be surprised how easy it is to just stand still and notice, nod your head, speak your truth, but don’t walk away. Just be present.
Life, this is ours, but only for now. There are fundamentals of life that will potentially crush us all. As friends, spouses, lovers, parents, siblings, and partners isn’t our duty to try to be present for our others, and maybe, if we can, those throughout the world who are less able to carry the light than we are? Isn’t it? There isn’t any bargaining, buying out, ways in which to evade reality. It will find you whenever and wherever you are. How you deal with the realities of your life, there is your open option board. There won’t always be good days, and, I suppose, if you are having an off day as long as you aren’t making others suffer, it is what it is. There will be days like this.
I write not because I wasn’t ready, not because I forgot how harsh reality can be, but because I was ready. I was able to be present, to hold still and to cradle the suffering of another. I was ready, but I didn’t know I would be. So, know that you may be called upon, on your most terrible, horrible, worst, off, ridiculously wrong side of the bed days, to turn outward and be there for someone else. It may be for good or bad, or both. It may open the door to things you prefer not to look at, things that have shrunk you, or closed you off in the past. Know you have the option to say~ can we talk about this later, always. And that’s ok. But when we can, if we can, I hope, we can stand still, be not just a little light in the darkness but a beacon, and also a wall others can rest their backs upon. I hope we can offer a moment of verbal silence; where everything is said and nothing is spoken.
Because there will be days like this…always.
There will be days like this.