Another Bitch

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

It has become common practice as of late to attempt a description of my current landscape. Metaphors such as dance partners and professors fall a bit short in portraying the fullness of this “new normal” (quotes added to denote the derision imposed by this phrase). Honestly, I’ve been struggling to garner the courage to paint a broader and encompassing picture. So, after some therapy sessions, I sat down last week and wrote a few paragraphs to viscerally illustrate what it feels like to be me in this moment. I quickly discovered why I had been avoiding this practice. The product was authentic but startling – graphic, and so bleak, depressing, and dark. The premise or metaphor employed was to wake up in a room, pitch dark, disoriented, and terrified. Upon realizing I had possibly written a scene for a “Saw” movie, I had to get up and walk away. (If you are not familiar with the “Saw” movie franchise, please do not research. Preserve your soul and trust me when I say they are yucky.)

The extreme images, though accurately depicting my current state of emotion, hung around me like the lingering smell when your toaster self-actualizes and burns the toast regardless of the low setting selected. I felt overwhelmed by the darkness, exhausted at fighting what I could not see. I had looked into the face of my reality and while I held a degree of gratitude (I tend to think you can’t fully deal with things you cannot name), the aftermath was vile, unwelcome, and debilitating. But keep reading, it gets better.

Karma showed up. And not in the bitchy way one might assume (which would make her the third bitch in this succession of blog posts). She has another side. My dad often used to tell us how the unseen world, or spiritual world, has been ordained under the same physical laws that govern the universe. “One reaps what one sows” is not just the first lesson in horticulture. It is a basic tenant of the universe. You plant a peach tree and expect to find peaches one day. Similarly, you sow seeds of greed and jealousy, and the hope of humanity is Karma will eventually repay such things in kind. But, using that same logic, one could be repaid for kindness and generosity of spirit. And such a repayment found its way to me in a very unexpected way. The following was forwarded to me recently.

“…it’s one thing to tell someone you’re sending positive thoughts or praying and it’s another entirely to let them hear or read exactly what that message is. So below is my prayer for you today…

Divine spark, Sustainer of all energy, and Giver of life…surround Anne with your presence. As she tries to breathe deeply to release stress, I pray the inhaling breaths are full of peace, like breathing in an intoxicating and calming fragrance. Infuse her breath with Peace while she waits for life to unfold and the path to be made clear. Right now, she is standing in a dark tunnel with only a couple doors. I pray that upcoming events burst through the tunnel, letting light in so she can see the other doors…”

As I read this, my daughter was sitting next to me and happened to be the one who sent it. As tears streamed down my face, she said, “You wrote this.” She reminded me how Anne, a few years ago, reached out and asked if I would send positive thoughts and pray for her. The above was my response to the request from Ann “with an e”. (For the record, I’ve changed her name – the friend, not my daughter.)

This was a message I needed. Kindness returned, ironically in my own words, and reminded me what hope looks like.

I hope you will go back and reread the prayer as needed, as I am doing and have done (I’ve reread it a lot). Bravely insert your name, hopefully finding a glimpse of light, a few seconds of relief, and give yourself a moment to acknowledge the beautiful incense of hope. Also, I am painfully aware the syntax and grammar are far from perfect, and am fighting the urge to edit the crap out of it. In its current state, it seems real and raw and perhaps more human. Hmm, maybe that’s the best representation of my current state after all – finitely human and infinitely hopeful. 

I’m about halfway through the sentence of this dark place. I’m diligently trying not to sit in resignation and/or hold my breath until it’s over; but instead, to somehow find the strength to keep looking for clues, or lessons, and ways to help me deal with the symptoms – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. To figure out how not to isolate entirely, but fight to be present with my family, with my friends, with myself, through these new and deepening shades of exhaustion and compromised immunity.

Finitely human and infinitely hopeful.

P.S. I truly feel all your prayers and positive thoughts. I relish the check ins, and I know you are with me in spirit – like a great cloud of witnesses, cheering me on.

What are your thoughts?

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