Wednesday, November 07, 2007

rules of engagement

Ok, after my last post I had about eight emails and phone calls from sweet friends ready to talk me down from the ledge. Which said to me that clearly I am not communicating very well. Here are a few things you need to know so that you won't fear for my sanity:

* I am both an internal and external processor. Things have to chug through my mind for a while before I can articulate my thoughts, but I cannot put something down completely until I've talked about it. So - the fact that I'm talking now actually means that I am better than I was. It means I've done what I can do internally. Don't worry about cryptic posts; be worried when I'm not posting at all.

* I'm not expecting answers from anyone; there is nothing good to say. Like I said, I'm writing mostly because I need to say it, not because I need you to do anything about it. Consider yourself off the hook.

Having said that, the big chunk of information that I inadvertently left out of the last post is how angry I have been lately. It's taken me a few weeks to figure it out, but I am mostly angry that life doesn't slow down. I still have obligations and meetings and dinners and laundry and work to do. And then I realized that I was angry two years ago (to the day), too. As we were leaving Birmingham, I was angry to be leaving empty-handed. So maybe I'm not angry at any one person or any specific obligation as much as it is just my time to be angry.

Realizing that makes it easier not to resent people, but it also makes it easier to resent the process. And isn't it shocking (I know I said this yesterday, but I still mean it) that grief can be summarized and bullet-pointed? That it can be so predictable? That even though we have no idea what will happen in our lives, once things happen, someone else can tell you how you're going to respond? And they would be right?

It boggles my mind that the human experience is so universal it can be empirically proven. That no matter what the experience, none of us is alone in it. I've heard the word "solidarity" a lot lately. I'm not sure I understand what other people mean when they use it, but what I see is how we're all in this together. If you haven't been where I am yet, one day you will be. Our experiences will be different, but our emotions are the same.

Adrienne asked why God keeps doing this - she had her fourth miscarriage a few weeks ago, and wonders if it is helping her to be more empathetic toward birth mothers who give their children for adoption in hopes of a better life. I don't know about any of that. I can't speak to God's role in this, except to say I do believe God is the giver and sustainer of life, and that our souls are present at conception. But I do know the experience has helped me to be more aware of others' pain. My elderly neighbor says her only baby died, and I blink away tears. Because I can imagine - I don't know, but I can imagine - losing your only baby, and living now as an old woman with no grandchildren to tend. I could not have imagined that before; more than likely, it would have been a detail of our conversation I would have forgotten. She would have been just another old woman in my mind. Now we are bonded by the experience of loss, and I am more able to love my neighbor as I love myself. I wouldn't say it's worth it, but at least it's something.

4 comments:

M'elle said...

I don't understand why so many things happen... I don't know if we are suppose to, not that knowing that helps.
I am glad you are at least "ok". You are loved and are being prayed for. You make a difference in other people's lives. If you don't believe me, go read my post in response to Emily's first question.

Madame Rubies said...

-----and I am more able to love my neighbor as I love myself. I wouldn't say it's worth it, but at least it's something.-----

I love that!!!

Angela said...

I am so able to empathize with the fact that the world doesn't stop when you need it to. It is a terrible thing that no matter how devastating an experience has been...we can't stop to care for ourselves in these grown up lives we lead. I hope you find some time to do this...and some energy too. Be good to you.

Emily said...

I think about that all the time. ALL THE TIME. Losing a child and growing old with that in your heart.

Anger is a part of processing emotions. Don't run from it, instead process it and allow yourself to work through it. You'll get rid of it much faster.

You just call out my name, and you know, wherever I am...