Sunday, February 27, 2011

thoughts from rubber and the road

Northbound this morning I thought of you, brother. You driving southbound, in the Comet, noting to yourself that speed kills. You went south to support a friend in need; I went north, the one in need.
My first trip in the new truck, the dog you never met curled in his crate, tail over his nose, I imagined. Five short days from yet another birthday you aren’t here for, I feel the same thing I always feel when your absence rears its head. Alone. There is just no end to that, it seems. It wasn’t a speedy death I worried about this morning or really any death at all. It was everything else.
The road didn’t take me past your house, and I was glad, even though my heart still wishes I could hear you give directions one more time to “E M, like Auntie EM “ Street. I wondered if I ever would understand you and Grace, if you ever got over the hurt, and how on earth you did. I wondered what advice you would give me now, and cursed the circumstances that lead me to wish your counsel was available today. No one else has the words - that was always your job.
Sometimes, there’s peace in miles rolling under wheels, sometimes in the music I hear, or in something only found alone in a car with your thoughts, popcorn crumbs and static interrupting songs you haven’t heard in years, but like enough slow down and hope the song ends before the signal fades. I am trying to hold onto the moments of peace I found in those moments today. Recently I’ve been told my talent is in words, and my failing is in human contact. It seems my desire to write for a living falls right in line with my personal failings. I think this is a good thing to find out, but it cuts deeply.
I don’t know what I expected, ever. I only know when I don’t have it. It’s like that job interview question, “where do you want to be in five years” although I never say it, the only answer that ever rings in my head is “happy”. It’s maybe why I’m not such a great employee.
Changing everything doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. I did that once, 6 years ago, thought it made things better, today I’m not sure, and I’m not sure it will help things if I do it again but I’m going to. Last time I left the people that cared most for me behind, this time, I’m going to them. The people and places that I may never tell anything to, but their presence and their concern may just be enough. Enough to keep me from feeling like someone left a door to a cold winter open in my chest. Wind raging and stinging so cold it brings tears to my eyes. Drafts so cold as to leave me feeling like a solitary tree on an open plain, bent from its force, and unprotected.
I don’t choose to fight this one alone, unprotected is not where I want to be. Maybe I should have made friends with pain when I had the chance, when it was what kept me company night after night, day after day, but I didn’t and I won’t this time either.
On the road, I remember roll call in your class, the comment that made everyone giggle when a student wasn’t there, “absence really the strangest sort of presence”.
It’s the truest thing I know today.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A crisis of faith

During a conversation, this phrase ran through my head. Unfortunately it ran through my head because the words that were being said about me made me think that the speaker, through no fault of their own had been having a crisis of faith, in me.

The idea that I had so deeply let someone this important down, and for so long, was nothing short of devastating. Feeling gut shot, I stumbled through the next 5 days a husk of nauseated, shaky, sobbing grief. How I had let this happen, a slow progression of all the things I hate about the complacency that comes over time in close relationships. I spoke and they heard things I could never mean, think or do; and they spoke and I just didn’t hear, again and again.

A traditional crisis of faith is defined by me in non secular terms as a crisis demanding an uncompromising decision – one that sufficiently reconciles the cause of doubt with the belief or the discarding of the belief altogether. Although faith is generally used in reference to a higher power; and I am *not* comparing myself to a deity, I do believe faith is something we all feel, in the people and often, world around us, religious or not. In some ways, faith is beyond definition, those of any religious persuasion have faith their chosen God exists, cares for them and is all powerful. Intellectual disparities matter not at all.

So what do you do when you find yourself as the source of so much pain in a loved one there seems no way back to forgiveness and love? When all that has gone before, has seemingly been discarded, or at least written over in black magic marker, by the harm you inflicted? I am feeling sorry enough for myself, and don’t want sympathy. I have never ‘hung in there’ before, when the hurt comes, I leave. How does a classically faithless girl find redemption in the heart of a loved one? Where do you even start?