“I don’t know what I think until I write it.” ~ Joan Didion I am grieving.
I turn 50 today. That’s not why I’m grieving. For the honor of my half-century Earth-day, I feel grateful and vibrant. A gnarling beneath is begging to be acknowledged. There is a grief that squeezes my heart, empties my stomach, and has salty water on my cheeks several times each day. The result of a reality I’m turning face-front toward. I am mourning. I am sad to the core of my being. What I will share here is not any one person or population’s “fault.” Blaming and finger pointing have never felt valuable or productive for me. Culpability lies within each human heart, and how we individually choose to confront the monsters of the day, the era, the culture we co-create. These are dire times…and real. No matter your political affiliation, religious beliefs or theories about why the human race has landed at this particular pain point, here we are.
This is a “what is.”
Calamity is a daily onslaught. Hundreds of thousands of acres of the earth are burning. We’re heating up. A spiky microscopic virus is wreaking havoc on bodies and business. Another, more potent, wave is upon us. The lifestyle choices and habits of our western communities are sending our loved ones into sickness, dis-ease and unnecessary dying. The dark side of capitalism continues to rape our countries of diminishing resources. Fighting on the streets escalates, and bullets fly more and more frequently from angry and injured hands and hearts.
What a mess. I can put on my rose-colored glasses, find the joy, turn toward solutions and cultivate hope. Yes, I am a pro at that. I was taught to “suck it up” and focus. That has served me well.
I don't want to. Where I sit now, currently in this very instant, is in a home of illness and sorrow. I am sad. Choosing it, being it, permeated by it.
I weep for the children with empty bellies. I weep for the charred remains of burned up homes. I weep for exhausted medical professionals. I weep for the suffering of indescribable disease. I weep for what may come, and what may have already come. I weep for lost opportunities for peace. I weep for loss and birth and death and because I can.
The top of my shared 30th birthday cake said, “Here’s to having it all!” Twenty years later, it hits the core of my heart that having it all doesn’t mean just the good stuff.
If I choose to suck it up now, I may miss out on my broken heart, and I desperately want to feel to the bottom of the crack.
I want grief to move me, to temper me, to guide me, teach me, shape me into the next, most wondrous, gentle, compassionate, feeling, vulnerable, powerful woman I am becoming in my second 50 years, or however long I have to dance on this glorious planet.
If any fraction of the happenings of our day helps me to love more, to forgive readily, to understand more fully, or to appreciate the precious moments and breaths we have together here on Earth, so be it.
I accept sadness as alchemy for awareness and a deeper way of living.
Life goes on and on and on….and in these a-typical, and possibly escalating, times, grief is permissible, necessary and healing.
“I don’t know what I think until I write it…” Yes. Thank you for reading as I sort through the jumble of heart and mind.
May you feel the weight of the world and be in it anyway.