October 1, 2014

And So, You Get Up

Sometimes, life's heavy.

You don't notice it at 1st. It's like collecting stones. You start slowly, gently. At 1st, you can't feel the weight. Then it becomes harder to notice what's in front of you. You can't see the scope, the slope of the landscape, because you're focused on carrying the foundation. It's easier to shoulder it all and numb yourself to the weight.

But there's that place. That point where you read your threshold, your valley. Maybe you've walked for so long that you're bone weary and ringed with grief. Or perhaps you ran, the entire way, and your breath's knocked out of you. And you realize you don't know where you are, how you arrived. You look back and see that you've missed the markers, missed the milestones, missed the moments. Too busy holding onto the heaviness of the journey. It's been like that for so long that you're afraid you won't know who you are without it.

You have to let it go. To not go apathetic. To not go numb. To not go quiet. Don't let sorrow swallow your song. You need to be awake to the world, to life, to yourself. It feels like running for the 1st time, like stretching your shuddering muscles, like walking in the cold dew of morning. It stings. You start in the dark, with only the promise of sun. There's no light to outline the path. It doesn't matter. You've forgotten the road anyways. You've walked so long without one that trails are unfamiliar and foreign.

There's no hiding from brokenness. There's no running from grief. Some manage to evade it for longer, others find it knocking on their door daily. It has a face you cannot forget, leaves its calling card everywhere it goes. We're each stitched with ribbons of our every heartache, except, some of us are frayed. Even the best of us have tears.

Sometimes it feels easier, better, to go cold. To give into the pain and become numb, and once again, pick up the skeleton of who you were before grief marked your face. To let your heart harden. Lock it away and melt the key and live in the motions, never the moment. At the very point of pain, it seems less exhausting. But passivity's a silent slow killer, a lie that laps away at the texture of life like water on the stone.

And so, you get up. You keep moving though your bones ache. You walk until you run. You hum until you can sing. You catalogue small things until you can once again take in the scope. You choose to be awake. It's surprisingly painful. It's sobering to look around and realize you have forgotten what it means to be alive, for so long. It's October and you're barefoot and the ground has still not thawed.

Breathe. Again and again. Dive into the core and pressure point of your pain, the heart of your ache. It's red hot and white and bitter black. It shakes like starlight. You swallow it like stones. But you emerge and understand, it hasn't added a layer to your heart, but a ring. It's not a mark, but a message.

The thing about being awake is you notice things; good, bad, beautiful, painful, sorrow, sweet, bitter, broken, dizzying between everything. You cry more. You laugh deeper. You understand broken things and encourage flowers to just be. You find your soul sprouting little green things, that the roots of the marrow of being haven't left after all. And it's painful, the fire of wakening running like blood. You've been asleep for so long feeling's foreign.

But you begin to appreciate what's small. You begin to breathe gratitude. You stumble on meaning, find grace woven alongside ache. It's not easy, it's not quick. It's gradual, a journey. This time, instead of collecting stones, you're collecting colors of the sky. You jot down thanks and let them go wild in the plum breath of the evening. The smear of jam on toast, black coffee in the morning, a walk in the evening that lingers.

Look at the trees, how they burn. Look at the fields, how they deepen. Look at the world, how it cries. It's a choice to go deep and live through your pain, to feel it all, to choose to be awake to what comes. Bravely, when the time beckons, to let it go. Knowing that the struggle and searching builds strength, story, a song. Only, you'are alive and present and find the words to sing inside you, and they were, all along.

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