Not long ago I read a phrase that deeply resonated with how I have been feeling, as of late. I can’t remember the exact source and I did not make note of it, so I must paraphrase. It was on the topic of writing. How it is easier to write about and convey thoughts, emotions and events that live in darkness and despair, than to express their opposites. The light and joy. Since the day of Gregory’s diagnosis, I have lived in the depths of these opposite emotions. Experiencing every iteration between the highs of joy and the lows of despair. Most of the time I dwell in the realm of attempting to balance the duality. Joy and despair reside side-by-side in my daily life.
Having one foot in darkness and one foot in light is a humbling place to live. Yet, I find it easier to express the darkness than the light. Yes, there is plenty of light in my life. Moments that are blinding in their brilliance. Yet, they are the simple aspects of life. You see, my joy is not exultant. It is not filled with the highs that accompany a deed done well or a much desired achievement reached. This joy is shadowed by yesterday’s scars and tomorrow’s wounds. This joy is wrapped in the gauzy fabric of surrender. Surrender to the chaos of the circumstances that have been put before our feet.
This surrender has been the greatest act of courage I could do for myself. It has allowed me to remove the anger. It has allowed me to not question why. It has allowed me to navigate these years without completely loosing my head and heart. It is not a submissive surrender. It is an acknowledgment that I have no control over the random events of life. Coming from this reluctant-to-admit control freak, it truly is an accomplishment. Once upon a time, I had a love affair with manifestation. A concept that any control freak would cling to. The power is mine! Right? Boy howdy, did I learn the hard way that my power is limited and out of my control. To a certain extent. I do have power to choose how I allow my heart to hold what unfolds with each new day. Except we don’t get to start each day with a new heart. Muscle memory also applies to emotions of the heart.
David Gray has a track titled, “Forever is Tomorrow is Today”. Forever is our tomorrow, that will become our today, that will be our yesterday. As much as I endeavor to live in the present, every moment continues to color this moment. The scars, the wounds, the promise of life and the shadow of death. Often I do find myself camouflaging my heart. Shutting the doors and locking it all out of sight. I selfishly keep my joy to myself and hide the despair. Only because my joy in the mundane is so brilliant and I don’t think you will understand.
Every day that the five of us wake up breathing is a reason for celebration. My time with The OffSpring glows with the light of love, laughter and grace. Not just Gregory. All three of them. Had Gregory not survived, our entire family would live a life devastated. I get the opportunity to witness the three of them meeting milestones, reaching rights of passage and creating their own space in time. It is breathtaking in it’s normality. There is not a moment that passes without gratitude.
Who wants to hear about it, though? Who wants to hear how Curtis is flourishing in his first few days in high school? Who wants to hear about AnnMarie’s antics as someone who creates her own music to walk by? Who wants to hear that Gregory’s dancing is the bomb?
I do. I want them to know I do. I want them to know that I am paying attention. It’s not the huge achievements I am most proud of. It is simply their existence that I revel in.
Which means I find myself with the question; “What right do I have to — grieve, complain, despair?”
Forever is tomorrow is today.
I cannot write about the joys and convey them with the emotions that accompany them. To an outsider, they will appear mundane and tedious. What we have experienced yesterday, colors this tedium with a light so brilliant it radiates through my spirit. Reminding me that we really are OK. That tomorrow just might not be so bad. Whispering to me that I ought to write it all down. Joy is worthy of words, too.
Sending you quiet joy,