I started this blog 5 years, 1 month and 1 day ago. I often do a post about the numbers for my anniversary: so many posts, so many comments. The numbers are interesting, but like all metrics, they tell an incomplete story.
Perhaps, dare I say it, sometimes metrics don’t tell any story at all. Metrics are nothing more than indicators, numbers. Stories are words, thoughts and feelings, digital ink spilled on a page. Hot and salty tears, belly laughs. Quiet musing.
On the 7th of March, 2008 I posted something I called Grief Walking.
One way to look at our lives is to look at the stories, our lives may be nothing more than stories. Short, long, novel, novella, or in some cases a comedy in 3 acts. . . .
The single biggest part of my creating a blog was to tell my stories. Some people are diarists. I read of them, of a life time of entries. I think of the richness of Madeline L’engle’s books, and a life time of her stories; but I am not that person. I am a performer. I tell my life in stories.
I have, for the last five years told you my life – the good, the bad, the sad, the joy, the ugly, in stories. I have talked about friendship and love and marriage and a good bra and the moral imperative of properly cooked bacon. I have talked my way through confusion to coherence, through anguish and anger to acceptance.
I have sat on multiple computers across North America, and I have told you the stories of my life. Things big like new jobs and making a sort of peace with the death of Gabriel, things small, like forgetting names and stories of not being able to find the garbage bin.
They invariably ask me “How do you do it? I’d lose my mind”. I find myself thinking of times when I have told people about 40km snowshoe races. I can hardly believe that I did that either. But the answers are strangely the same. You get up, you get dressed, you put one foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out. Keep walking. At the end there is a hot shower, a meal, some comfort. But you have to keep moving forward to get there.
For five years, one month and one day I have come to a computer most nights and I have written an entry for the next day. For all this time, I have engaged in putting one foot in front of the other and I have kept walking. In the deepest period of my grief, when I could do little more than whimper “it hurts, it hurts, it hurts”, huddled in on my self, unable to see how the pain could ever be lessened, you listened. You on that side of your screen read the words I wrote on this side, and you listened. You reached out. You told me that you heard me. You told me that I would find my way.
I remember your words, that we build character through challenge and adventure, and I remind myself that this is what I am doing. I am different now, in ways that I am only beginning to understand. I remind myself to be thankful, that character takes courage sometimes. Mostly when we think of courage, we think of large and bold acts. Really though, I think courage is made up of small choices, made on a daily basis. The choice to put one foot in front of the other. To acknowledge the subtle changes, the adjustment to what was supposed to be, and what actually is.
This blog is the what actually is. This blog is the touchstone, the liminal place between what was going to be and what happened. This blog is the place that cheered me on while I put one foot in front of the other. Found my way to what is from what was going to be.
I am different now. You are a part of that difference. I thank you.