“To what shall we compare our fragile life?
“Life is like a speck of dust that alights upon a surface. It remains there, unmoved, until a draft threatens it. When a breeze comes it holds on till the last. Finally, a gust of wind comes and it is blown asunder. That is how fragile life is, like a speck of dust blown to nothingness.” ~Paul Worthington, Life: As Fragile As Dust
Dust in a box. My father’s remains sit on my lap as I take a final picture of us “together” – me wearing his red flannel shirt.
Tears are brimming as I stare at my husband telling me what he bought at the store. I think he said something about chicken. I’m not sure. He’d walked in with two bags, but I can’t remember what he said. I nodded a lot and wondered about how connected I need to be and yet how disconnected I feel from everything.
My mind is holding on to “lasts” again – something it does to help me with transitions. Every time my dad’s song comes on the radio everyone gets quiet because they know I’m gone…into the memories of that night. Someday the song won’t be played as often, so I listen intently when it’s on. And I look over at the blue box again because tomorrow it won’t be sitting here anymore. It’ll be on its way to my brother’s house in Seattle.
My family is talking to me about things like James’ bike chain that keeps falling off and Connor’s need for a ride to his friend’s house for a weekend trip to Maine, and spilled jam in the fridge, all of which need me to do a hop, skip, and a jump over, around and through emotions that also want my attention. But they, my tears, aren’t asking permission any more. They intrude in the middle of a sentence as I’m being asked when Kyle needs to be picked up. Was it 5:30? No, 8:30.
I’m living in the Twighlight Zone sometimes. And that often makes me laugh and nobody knows why. Perhaps you do now.
The blue box waits for me to be done so that I can wrap him up in brown paper, label it “Human Remains,” and pass him to the man at the post office in the morning, after my Polar Plunge.
It’ll be the fifth dip in the ocean this year- one per month. I’ve managed to be consistent with something since January. I hate the Plunges with a passion reserved for silly things like cheese, and crave them with an intensity akin to deep love. One nearly kills me and the other brings me back to Life and the Living.
So much crying, so much beauty, so much joy sprinkled with sadness.
Kenney asks, “What’s wrong?” and understands when I say, “I’m thinking about my dad. “Oh, Grandpa Mike,” as he leaves to go back outside with James who has given up on his bike for a minute.
I’m fragile. Fragile as a speck of dust. And so is my life.
And I am strong. Strong enough to feel settled even as the wind picks me up and carries me away to places like Oz. Wherever I land, there I am, as they say. My feet hit the pavement running. Every time.
I’m so grateful for my best friend, Lisa. She took me on a walk this morning. We talked about what’s going on in our lives as she pointed out the sun-bleached, leafless trees that spotted the fields along the walking paths. “I just love them,” she said with a smile. Of all people she could have wallowed in her suffering. But she doesn’t. She’s fragile, too. But her strength comes from the same place as those trees that she stares at when we stop for her to rest.
Some people are like that. They have no strength to live their lives and yet they go about edifying others- saving them from the whirwinds without even knowing it. I have friends like that. Many of them are suffering beyond belief. And they continuously reach out and strengthen me.
Here’s to friends…
…contemplating a Light greater than mine that heals, lifts, encourages,
rights my wrongs when I’ve nothing left,
and believes in me.
Today I’m grateful to have eyes to see it,
and a heart to feel and embrace it.