I read a post a late last week, and the writer made a comment about how she lives between the dust of Ash Wednesday and the Waters of her baptism, and it is a constant tension in her life.
The words have stayed with me. Perhaps less the context, but the deeper meaning – I live between good times and bad, I live between hard and easy, between stressful and simple, between joy and grief.
Twice today people I know well have said that I looked unhappy – one said “stressed” and one said “defeated and subdued”. Now, some of it my just be my neutral face, but some is, well . . .
This is hard time for me. The days leading up to the anniversary of my son’s death. Today I will speak in a webinar for 250 people, about process modelling. Friday I have an all day workshop. Saturday I have a hair cut and a Christmas party.
On Sunday I fly to Tofino. I will spend the anniversary of my son’s death watching the pacific storms. I will stand at long beach, next stop Japan, and I will stare.
For five years I have lived in this cycle. The time when my son, so often in orbit so far away, comes back to me. The time when the space between him and I, what is and what could have been grows thin.
These times are hard. They hurt, they are confusing, painful. I feel a bit raw. The grief – so often mostly weighless, becomes heavy again. I feel my arms go weary in the holding of it.
Perhaps because I try to focus on the water times – to find the joy and the humour and the happiness in most situations. I think my face reflects it, and maybe when I am more quiet, my shoulders hunched, perhaps it is noticeable.
There are the times of dust. When I am pressed in, dry mouth, eyes closed, teeth gritted against a hot, dry wind.
The solstice is a time of dust and water. The days are at their shortest, the winds blow and the snow comes. The world is just on the cusp of turning. The days will lengthen. The magic of Christmas is upon us, and those who are able use their joy to make the world a bit brighter.
Some of us stare at candles sitting in windows, looking in from a dark winter night. We are not always able to light the candles, perhaps just that day, that week, maybe the entire season.
We, for a time, stare at the light and we wish we could be there. The solstice, that turning has not quite happened for us. Our turning is different. Our cusp of time happens slightly out of pace with the rest of the world.
Between the dust and the water. Right now, more dust than water.
Maybe I’m still hurting
I can’t turn the other cheek
But you know that I still love you
It’s just that I can’t speak
I looked for you in everyone
And they called me on that too
I lived alone but I was only
Coming back to you
Leonard Cohen, Coming Back To You