I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
-Civilla D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel
You know how I usually try to write about positive things? Loving yourself? Being happy? Sometimes that crap just goes straight out the window. Sometimes life hands you a bowl of cherries, and other times it just backhands you. Even when you know the figurative slap in the face is coming and you’ve steeled yourself for it, you see the hand reel back, you watch it move forward and gain momentum, but the moment of contact still stings . . . particularly when it is delivered by someone you love.
There are so many worldly concerns that grab our attention and become the focus of our worry and woe. Concerns about money and work and bills and cars and a myriad of other miserly miseries, but nothing can reach its icy hand down your throat and clench your heart like another person. Nothing can hold you hostage like love . . . or its lack. All types of love; agape, eros, philia, they are all gripping. And they can all feel confusing . . . it’s a thin line between love and hate. I think of Scarlett O’Hara screaming “I hate you Rhett Butler, I can’t think of enough bad things to say about you!” Of course she doesn’t hate him, she loves him . . . and she hates him, a little. She hates how he’s hurt her, she hates how she feels stupid, but mostly she feels scared and abandoned. You don’t hate a rude sales person, you don’t know and love that person, but you can sure as hell hate your dad or your friend or your sibling or your mate. They have the power to affect you. It’s beautiful, it’s horrible.
It’s always darkest before the dawn, we all know that, the problem is one doesn’t follow the other immediately. Guess what, Little Orphan Annie, the sun doesn’t always come out tomorrow so nyah nyah nyah. Sometimes dawn waits a while, leaving you in the dark, floundering and lost. During those times, those times in the deep blue, where all perception is lost, you have to really dig in and find your cajones to make it through until dawn, which can be a painfully long time. I dreamed once that I was suspended in space, but not space as in our solar system, no stars and planets, just utter blackness. I couldn’t tell if I was moving somewhere or just hanging there, I had no way of gauging anything. I was nowhere, surrounded by nothingness. It was frightening, I was so alone with nothing to grasp literally or figuratively. In my dream I called out to God but got no answer. As I became more terrified I screamed out in anger “I KNOW YOU’RE THERE AND I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME! THIS MUST BE SOME SORT OF DUMB TEST BUT I KNOW I’LL PASS IT BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WOULD NEVER REALLY DO THIS TO ME! YOU CAN PUSH ME AS HARD AS YOU WANT BUT I’M NOT GOING TO STOP BELIEVING THAT YOU’RE ALWAYS HERE FOR ME!” Lots of exclamation points, lots of capital letters, I was pissed . . . I was pissed because, like Scarlett, I felt scared and abandoned.
Sometimes in life when darkness descends on us we try to reason it out. Why is this happening? We like to think there is some sort of karma working, proverbially reaping what we have proverbially sown. If there is cause and effect then at least we can say “Well, maybe I deserve this” or “This is helping me to grow and be stronger”. Sometimes, though, the darkness is a head scratcher. Why did I lose that job? Why did that person leave my life? Why do I have an issue with food/money/alcohol? Why was this situation put into my life? Why have we intersected, why is it so painful, and why do I see no immediate lesson learned? Why am I suspended in the deep blue with no rhyme or reason? And this brings us back to cajones.
Many times there’s just no immediate answer, that's when you dig in and call on your deepest store of strength. It’s in there, you have it . . . you do, I don’t know if I do right now. Life can be so wearying at times, especially when you are mustering through dark times. Those are the times when it’s so tempting to fall back on old patterns and people that didn’t serve you well, and you know not to, you know it’s not good for you, but . . . but, at least it’s familiar. Even crappy situations can bring some manner of bastardized comfort because they’re familiar, you know how to work within the confines of this particular miniseries of misery. You know where to step because you know where the land mines are buried. But imagine stepping out of this comfort zone of discomfort, imagine showing fear the door and moving into the deepness of empty space because you know that you are supported, even though you can’t see it, hear it, or feel it. It’s always darkest before the dawn. The dawn will come, it will. THE DAWN WILL COME.
It’s the in between time that will scare the bejeezes out of you. It’s also the in between times that can make you act like a straight up moron. I’ve done some dumb things in my life because I was too impatient to wait out the dark and hang on for the dawn. I’ve fouled things up by trying to have total control in my life rather just letting life be life. I’ve messed up a couple of things in my life, a few things, several things, a metric shit ton of things. I’ve made a mess of infinity plus one things in my life, so it is with an infinity plus one amount of experience that I can say, life really does aim to please, sometimes the aim just seems so poor. Seems is the key word. The aim seems poor because on our path to situational nirvana we have Humpty Dumpty size falls. It feels like all the Kings horses and all the Kings men are a bunch of dumb asses who can’t put you back together again. That’s ok though, it’s not really their job . . . or maybe life is showing you to lose that particular set of Kings horses and men for the very fact that they are dumbasses. Seek out some different Kings horses and men. It’s those falls that are the gateways to life’s open doors, to situational nirvana, to finding the dawn on the other side of dark.
There will be days, no matter how happy you normally are and no matter how much you love yourself and no matter how much faith you have in your chosen deity, that the tears will be unstoppable. I am having that day. I cannot stop crying today. I am hurting today. I’m sharing it with you because it’s what I do and because I hope, as always, that my hurt can serve you all in some way. I’m not alone, and neither are you, it just feels like it sometimes. So, Little Orphan Annie, maybe not tomorrow – but at some point the sun will peer its happy head out from behind the clouds and wrap your heart in warmth.