Sunday, July 29, 2012

Step One

I'd been holding on so tight
I didn't feel it at first
when I started to let go.

The release was -
at first -
nothing more than
being outstretched
feeling nothing at all.

I expected so many things:
a rush of pain
a smattering of tingles
a symphony of needles
an overwhelming deluge of -

what was I waiting for?

(inhale - exhale - repeat as necessary)

It was nothing that I expected.

Only the first sign of life returning
where there had been none
for far too long.

Hold please.
There is more to come.

As a side note - or in this case - a note along the bottom. This is not necessarily part of the Desert Road series, but it is certainly not unrelated. So that makes it, what, a parallel road? A tangential journey that's part of the other journey? Don't know, but I would not be taking This Step without being on The Road. So there.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Road - Part 2 (She Comes Alongside)

The road in the desert is nothing if not relentless. This vast, aching emptiness where I see nothing; hear nothing; feel nothing - but the pain from my wandering.

Then out of the nothingness: she comes alongside.
A breath of air - without which I could not go on.
A sparkling shimmer of water - without which I could not go on.
A prayer when I cannot utter a sound -  without which I could not go on.
A glimmer of hope for the future - without which I could not go on.

I am not one given to many friendships. I do not give myself easily or willingly. Befriending me is sometimes like putting a bow on a porcupine. Or conversing with a mad hatter. Or asking a cat to come and sit with you. Right now. I am careful. I am tentative. Don't let the fact that I can speak easily about things make you think that I'm telling you lots about myself. I'm probably not. Not even like this - in my writing - where I'm likely to slip and let something through. All I'm saying here, is I'm not easy. And that's on a good day.

But it's not been a good day has it?
You might have picked up on that.
It's not been a good day - not in that sense of the word - for a really long time.

And I'm trying to find a way - and there really just isn't any good way (but I'm trying)
to pay tribute
to these amazing women in my life
(oh you have no idea how incredibly amazing)
who are, with God, carrying me through this desert time in my life.

They call.
They write.
They email.
They like my silly Facebook posts.
They ask how I'm doing.
They make me beautiful handcrafted things.
They pick out wonderful cards that say just the right thing at just the right time.
They let me cry in restaurants.
They send me salty seeds.
They love me even if I can't cry.
They send me crazy Axl Rose videos.
They set themselves aside for me.
They set their pain aside for me - and some of it is some really big-ass, gut-wrenching pain.
They move on with me.
They rekindle friendships with me.
They grow with me.
They swear with me.
They feed my body.
They feed my heart.
They feed my soul.
They pray with me.
They pray for me - that's a huge one - HUGE.
They cry with me.
They laugh with me.
They never seem to laugh AT me - which I just don't understand.
And they love me.
Which I really, really, really don't understand.

This road is relentless - yes it is.
And it's teaching me a lot.
Some of its good.
Some of it - I don't get.
Some of it I may never get until I get to ask God face to face.
Some of this relentlessness is just killing me.
And maybe there are parts of me that need to die.
So they're dying here on this long desert road.

But then there's the part that's moving on.

And the part that keeps going on down this hard, relentless, unfounded, undiscovered desert road
is going
because of
the ones who came alongside.

And I'm not going to try and list you
because I know I would forget one of you.
And then I would feel like a weed on top of everything else.

But if you have.
You know you have.

And I will
that you did.

The Road : Part One

This road is a long one
Longer than I had foreseen.
It's a lonely road;
a desert road
where the silence echoes -
rebounding along the shadowing cliffs
that hunch like imprecise omens
clustered together; brewing malice.

In other places, the silence streaks across the endless expanse
of nothing less
than nothing else:

empty land;
empty sky;
empty road;
empty hand;
empty heart.

It may be a large circle
or for all I know a meandering path -
a crooked trail of dust and tears -
but I've long lost sight of the beginning
and I fear I'm losing hope
of finding the end.

I should have - long ago -
dropped to my knees
refused to go on.
lain down and surrendered
to dirt and dust and time.

Because it's not direction I'm losing.
It's hope.
The clear, clean, beautiful thing
that is hope
shimmers in the distance
and vanishes into nothingness.

And once again,
the silence echoes.

The Desert Time

I realized that it's been a long time since I wrote anything here. And at once felt guilty. And then felt completely annoyed at myself for feeling guilty. Things have been a little rough and it's not as though I've been traipsing around doing nothing - or doing lots of things other than writing. But I haven't been writing enough.

Then the other day, I started - what I hope will become some sort of series - of writings that are parts of what I'm just calling, "The Road." Because that's what this whole journey through being at a job that finally became untenable (to the point that it was affecting my physical health), to leaving that job, to being unemployed, to being on unemployment, to suddenly for the first time in my life not being able to get another job again (this has never really been a problem in the past). And now sitting here looking at our situation - that from any perspective looks pretty dire - and wondering, "how did we get here?" With our resumes, our education, our experience, our work ethic? How did we get here? How did we become the people about the fall off the edge of the cliff; the people falling through the cracks in the system that's supposed to help; the people that we never imagined that we'd be.

But The Road has been about far more than that. It has become the biggest spiritual journey of my life - and significant in the fact that it's the biggest spiritual journey that my husband and I have been on together. And the changes that are happening in our individual lives and our collective lives are the things that are so important. We've been through, what I would call some pretty significant struggles and challenges so far in our eighteen years together. We've had parent issues. Money issues. Custody issues. Health issues that became near death issues. But somehow, this one is different. And I don't want it to be "just another thing" I go through, or we go through. It's too important to be just something we survive.

So all of this is an out-of-the-blue preface to me deciding to add the pieces of The Road here. And maybe deciding to flesh it all out at some point and make a coherent story out of it.