Thursday, March 20, 2014

In the Wake

Have you seen the aftermath of a really bad natural disaster on television or in real life?  Clothes are strewn all over the earth.  Trees uprooted.  Toilets in the middle of the lawn.

In other words it's a mess.  When disaster strikes it can be horrific.  There are mini hiccups in life all the time and then there's the ones where you wonder if you can breathe for the next hour.  The death of a loved one, the slow passing away that feels terminal for you as well as her.  Watching your child or sibling fight a battle you want nothing more than to take from them.  The pain it becomes habit, you live with it and its presence is constant if not comforting at least it's familiar.  You wonder, will I ever live without it?

After those disasters how do you remember to breathe?  Sometimes you are breathing, you're walking around and you feel like a ghost like; you aren't even really there.  You forget if your feet are touching the ground.  You forget to eat.  You have to remind yourself to shower.  Oh yeah, shower, I need a shower. When did I last take a shower?  You get out of the shower and you're exhausted.  You think, thank God that is over I don't want to have to do that again.

Do you remember hurricane Katrina?  The tsunamis?  Haiti's earthquake?  Those disasters, how long did they take to clean up?  A month, a year, five years?  Some of those places are still in rubble years in the wake of the disaster.  Perhaps we should treat the disasters that wreck our souls less like a thunderstorm and more like the earthquake that rocked Haiti?  We respect storms like that.  We don't brush them off.  We know they're serious they mean business.  Best not f with them.  No one stands in front of a 100 foot wave and says I got this shit.  We run.  We know; if we don't move we die.

When those disasters happen we don't expect anyone to be in great shape next week.  When those disasters happen we fly in extra aid, we make meals, send food and clothes and doctors.  But with our souls we're not so gentle are we?  We want our insides to begin functioning again.  We want to stop the hemorrhaging, stop the pain and pick ourselves up and get on with life.  But how do you resume going to the grocery store and performing the normal functions of life when a hurricane has destroyed the grocery store if not in real life, your insides have forgotten how to drive there or what you would want to get if you even went there.

This isn't about wallowing, the destruction is real.  We want to think those of us who take longer to heal are weak, but in actuality those of us that push through the pain and get on with life we deepen our pain.  We bury it and allow it to fester.  It will eventually wreck disaster again because like a water pipe that was never fixed after a hurricane if you keep drinking from it; it will make you sick and worse it will infect those you love.

I've been that person my whole life.  I am so good at getting on with life that I could put it on a resume and someone would hire me to do that job.  Shannon, we'll take her, she can get on with life.  We need someone just like that.  And it's infected the water I've been drinking.  So this time, no.  I won't.  I'm not going to drink the water at that well.  I'm not going to say I'm sorry to God and get back in line.  I refuse.  This rubble will take a while to clear.  And I plan to take my time.  I'm not going to sit idly by and find a vice or distraction or intellectualize this.  I'm going to sit here in pain and let it run its course.

So if you're expecting me to be happy, cheerful or repentant, I hate to disappoint but that ain't happening here.  Any positive emotional energy I have left will go solely for my kiddos and the rest of you will just have to suck it up.  After all I'm only human.

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