Monday, November 17, 2008

Day three hundred and twenty ... A loss for words.

I can feel it but I can't share it.

I can share it but I can't let it go.

I can believe it will make me stronger, but it takes all my strength.

These are the ways I have felt often in the last few years. My world, and many of my friend's worlds, have been upended by catastrophic losses. 

It hasn't seemed to let up by much. But I feel strongly that it is in the awareness of it that we can gain perspective and take comfort because we are still here. It is with our remorse that we pay an installment on the price for our existence.

That is to say, if you can cry it means you are alive. If you are alive it means you have to live. If you must live amongst others you will learn loss. And when you are gone there is no more loss in your life. It becomes a responsibility; a hazard; a risk for the living.

It is so unbelievably simple to me, yet it frightens me with its lack of moving parts.

These days, I try to learn from almost everything and anything. All that I do, see, hear, say, create, destroy, rebuild, dismiss, accept, forget, remember, exaggerate, understate, indulge in, abstain from, and pass through--it all counts.

Because if a person only feels one way for a long enough time they forget that there are other states of being.

One has to work the averages.

If you spend your days angry at the world, with its myriad inequities and seemingly rampant catastrophes, then its hard to let a little thing like an unexpected lavender flower appearing from a cactus make you smile.

If you tend to laugh or make a joke about everything you see or hear, whether it is something that really is funny, or whether you hold a belief that everything is funny after it passes through your brain regardless of content, it's hard to give your undivided attention to someone who has something serious to talk to you about. It seems frustrating to you because you want to laugh. And to the speaker, it is simply maddening. They might as well have just written it down on a piece of paper and thrown it in the trash.

If one is constantly on guard for criticism, then it is hard to laugh at oneself with full uncluttered humility. And sometimes the awareness of this alone is enough to heighten one's defenses, bringing the cycle to an end and a beginning in tandem. It is not an enjoyable experience to try to sift your words so as not to rankle a friend's feelings who thinks they know you well enough that you can say anything to each other.

If one is pious and devout without the benefit of the experience of sin and indulgence there is not much wisdom to impart, nor clout to derail someone on the edge of destruction. I don't want to grab a rope thrown to me by someone who doesn't know what it feels like to hang on to it so tightly that it leaves marks deeper than fingerprints. I may let them call me a cab, but they aren't going to tell me where to go. Not even the driver can do that. 

And if one focuses solely on their losses--on the action of not having something that one once possessed, however briefly, or seemingly eternally--then it's hard to take proper inventory. It's easy to ignore, as we go about our day, that our pockets have filled with enough metal currency to match what paper lies in our wallet. Instead of counting our coins, we pull out the last bill dramatically out of our billfold and wonder aloud where it all goes.

But the good thing about the change that we collect: it has a good chance of being passed along. 

It gains momentum in volume--both in mass and decibels--as it stays with us. It travels at our side as we put on our clothes for the day to go to the job that we may feel is beneath us. It joins us as we sit through a class that we may find redundant and boring. It tags along, unabashed, at the moment when we feel the sign has been given to lean in and kiss the lips of a person who we had reflexively felt a million copacetic and conflicting thoughts about in the matter of a few hours. And whether we are walking home alone and dejected, or effusive and bulletproof, it makes a sound at our side that we often cannot hear. 

And we just let it ride on. 

We bring it with us.

We use it when we need to.

We use it sometimes when we know we should save it.

We pick it up off the ground in the strangest of places as if it were collectively ours and wonder aloud: "Where were you an hour ago?"

And then we let it go, whether we want to or not.

And somebody else will pick it up.

That is, if they are willing to believe there's a chance it might be there to find in the first place.


I can feel it but I can't share it.

I can share it but I can't let it go.

I can believe it will make me stronger, but it takes all my strength.

And it comes back again.

It does.


Thanks for reading.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for brightening the drudgery of my day...There are many days when I can't help but check your blog with an anxious excitement to see what words you have strung together. Thanks again.

F. Alex Johnson said...

Thanks Jamie,

Glad I could help.


guess said...

Lovely as always..