The Way that Sorrow Moves
My sorrow has not moved in any direction that I can follow. I’ve read about all the emotions that I could expect. I’ve found it disconcerting that these feelings come and go and that they don’t move in the order I read them in.
It’s like emotional whack-a-mole. I recognize one, whack it down and four more pop up. Piss on that!
There’s been nothing at all predictable about it in that way, no matter what the books say, and it hasn’t been pretty. I’ve not been graceful. I’ve not been serene with my eyes on heaven and silent stilled lips.
Nope. I’ve come dragging through screeching like a scalded cat, banging against every hard edge, sometimes dragging myself back by claw and bonking myself against the same edge again, as if to make sure I really felt that just right. If I’m not moving through it, it is moving through me.
Complete respite has been hard to find. Even the very pretty things snag up and pull out tears and remembrances. Around every corner is an opportunity to be buffeted unaware with surprise memories. They come at me in stupid songs and pretty flowers. They are un-expected and full of force; they take my breath away. It’s like splinters and fragments and being spoon-fed sips of beauty and joy before being dashed back, for now, to sorrow.
Sorrow moves in me. It rolls and it tears, and it sweeps through everything like tumbleweed scratching down a suddenly deserted road. A road I knew with people I’ve lost. My stupid heart longs to return there and find them there again.
Of course, I don’t find them there, just the pieces of them. So recently there has been nothing to do, but to surrender. A grass roots return to put one foot back in front of the other in the direction of things that work. I’ve kept myself committed to my spiritual path. I’ve laced up my shoes for countless hours of fitness eked out on those empty fields dotted with wildflowers and back roads that I’ve circled and returned to again and again. I’ve connected to my beautiful little family and my roles there. My home is my grounding place.
I’ve also become much more solitary. I am wrapping myself in quiet, and I am allowing myself to feel uncomfortable. I’m learning the difference between aloneness and loneliness; I am seeking the voice of God and a connection to my own inner self and center. I find myself seeking silence. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually heard silence. I would dearly like to.
As far as how I relate with other people, I have detested silence! A character defect of mine is a need to rush in and fill it. I’m resisting that, these days, and composing myself into a forced familiarity with quiet. I’m waiting more patiently for God.
I’m beginning an internal movement in which it is perfectly okay for me to have nothing profound to say. I am leaning into a way of compassion that resists grasping into the ether for platitudes, or theoretical, or spiritual, or scholarly articles for the “perfect” thing to say.
I hope I have finally banished any sentence that starts with what I think God does or doesn’t do in the face of someone’s struggles or sorrow. Because the truth is, I don’t know what God’s intentions are or what He does or doesn’t do. Bringing God up with such easy assurance and familiarity un-invited can remove me from you, and both of us from parts of our own humanity, I think.
I’ve mistaken brilliant perfectly correct words that have somehow slipped past my heart for empathy for years. I’ve felt it done to me many times. It hurts. I doubt that it is a terribly unique trait. I have a desire to see it stopped within me.
Sometimes the best of what I have not said is found instead, in what I have done. There have been times that I’ve simply sat by a person’s side without offering words and been willing to turn myself full face into the fury of the storm. I’ve plunked myself down and just been there. I sincerely hope it speaks better than I ever could in words about my compassion and love.
As I make ready to return to the river to see my grandfather placed to rest and to go through my mother’s cedar chest and the rest of her things with my siblings, I am enjoying this small moment of stillness and the freshness of this quiet peace. I am returning to my family there quieter, and I think, more centered.
I know that a higher power is at work in me, and I am open to moving myself out of the way to see where I might find myself. That is a corner I’ve turned, and it certainly makes this as good a place as any to pause and reflect on the ways that sorrow moves.