“If we shield the canyons from the wind, the beauty of a new creation may never be gained.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
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Grief never goes away. To be repetitively honest, I hate writing about it. Pull the covers back waking to a day supposedly new but eerily much of the same. Grief wears deep ruts into life and moments lived. Sunken parts of life pushed in by the weightiness of loss and maybe more so, what is scattered and disjointed remaining hold water stagnating and aged. Like a rut on a path pushed lower than leveled earth and dirt leading through day and life. An old friend’s words, dust soft on window blinds, the quiet of night, the hustle of day. Grief, the most consistently sensed thing in life. Present though I rudely ignore. It doesn’t matter. It didn’t ask for permission. It doesn’t knock when entering my house. Grief dwells. And in day and in night, I repeat. Words, explanations, descriptions. I whine and complain and struggle to be free, to be like I used to be. It’s hard not being who you used to be or reaching for it. Vacillating between you then and you now. Memories and familiarity and tomorrow and foreign swing me back and forth.
Then and now. I am both. I am neither. I am lost and I am found at the same time.
Grief will not go. It demands attention and forces emotion provoking ugly and inviting the gross, inexpressible parts of me. In places raw and undefined we must walk revisiting ground not yet completely grown together loose like a dirt filled hole. Some days are strewn together like a string of lights hanging freely in the air glowing carefree and hopeful. I look over my shoulder and think, “Wow, I really am standing a long way away from that darkest day! I have indeed somehow moved quite far!” With courage taller and stouter and braver then, even the night lights up lively. I see it, full and changing but better and inviting. Puzzle pieces troubling and unfit, joining rough edges together. Miraculous. Grace. Happiness. A bulb goes out in random order. It’s untelling and unanticipating. The air lit excited dims and cools. And I remember the wound still agape. The memories burn seeping out. Life is more vacant leaving space for thoughts to roam. It is here I realize grief never leaves. Watching us move through each day spying for the moment, waiting for its turn to interact. And I wonder if grief will ever leave or has it fused into our DNA so closely knit into the fabric of who we are, I am, indistinguishable from happiness and joyfulness forever filtering life? I don’t know. It is here now and looks to be fairly stationary and set.
I am neither convinced this is good or bad. Maybe indifferent, in reality-ful and meaningful ways ...good ways that feel bad like a vaccine conditioning your body to adapting infections.
It leaves me weaker but strengthens me. I feel like a babbling fool unable to shut up about losing, the loser complaining about the conditions keeping him from the win. But in my babbling, I learn new words that are not my own. They’re hopeful and deeper than any disturbance rustling around inside. So this is who I am unshielded from the wind drying death, carving deep lines into my heart. A new beauty growing. Creation of something, someone very much like me but a life and death difference of a person.
The new must come. It will no matter. We are forced in life to be newly growing and stretching into the unknown, the untrodden or newly withering drooping closer to the dirt that will one day cover us. Life and death are always roads traveled. One can be alive, while not fully, but dying in memories and regrets and mistakes. And so it is as simple as this: push forward into the unknown or die slowly in the dirt familiar.
Life belongs to the beholder, the traveler, the one who does not let go of mercy’s long reach.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most Hight will abide in shadow of the Almighty. (Amen) Psalm 91:1