Sunday, December 2, 2012

Never Knowing

Life’s curveballs defy our comfort and our beliefs. The trick is in where we end up afterwards. Unwelcome at the time, those traumas can be beneficial in the long run.
I haven’t written to my blog because I haven’t known what to say. My beliefs have been vigorously challenged in the last few months like the ground underneath many shore homes during the storm. I haven’t known enough to say anything. I don’t believe what’s happened. All I have is my heart and I am not sure that I know it anymore either.
I am in disbelief. So much is gone, including many fundamental principles.
• That life is fair. That’s at least a wish, if not false conviction.
• That life won’t change drastically in one moment.
• I still think that God is [or ought to be] just. But drawing conclusions about fairness invites a too-bold supposition that I could understand the ways of God. I am reminded, yet again, that I don’t remotely.
I’ve been in emotional and intellectual disarray for months now. (Post-storm, we all are.) I am angry that, not angry with – which makes for an awkward nebulous ire. I carry a hollow resentment that I don’t know where to direct.
And yet, that anger is just a tiny bit of who I am these days. I’ve had so very many emotions swimming about. I am overwhelmingly thankful for every fantastic day God’s grace has given me.
Papa was an incredible blessing in our lives. I miss him terribly every day. He is with God. For taking Papa, moj Papa, I am pissed. It’s a bit high stakes to be incensed with God. On the other hand, who better to express my anger at? God can take it.

I think that we’ve all been scattered since the storm, physically and emotionally. Loss will do that.
Still, I’ve seen many beautiful things borne of the storm. There have been countless amazing acts of kindness in response. Just as those individual acts add up to an astounding force for healing and recovery, our distinct stories create a shared experience that binds us in compassion. For all except those affected in the very worst way, the losses were relative. No matter what you have been through, you probably know someone who was impacted worse. You could, in the destructive aftermath of the storm - where low tides, electricity and heat were blessings - find much to be thankful for. Our collective losses, have granted us a shared relative outlook.
Perspective often accompanies bad news -an accident, the loss of a loved one, a dire diagnosis. Sandy brought us all that perspective simultaneously. For a time – whether it’ll be weeks or months (we’ll see) – we can consider ourselves fortunate without understanding the why of what was taken away. What a wonderful turn to consider oneself blessed for each godsend, celebrating positives. In the midst of loss, we are reminded that it’s all a bonus and blessing.

As I was finally finishing up this blog entry, I read this wonderful poem by Wendell Berry called “the Slip”. It captures much of what I tried to express above much better than I did. It makes me wonder why I bother. Enjoy. It goes well leading into Advent too.

The river takes the land, and leaves nothing.
Where the great slip gave way in the bank
and an acre disappeared, all human plans
dissolve. An awful clarification occurs
where a place was. Its memory breaks
from what is known now, begins to drift.
Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness
widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain.
As before the beginning, nothing is there.
Human wrong is in the cause, human
ruin in the effect–but no matter;
all will be lost, no matter the reason.
Nothing, having arrived, will stay.
The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon
passeth it away. And yet this nothing
is the seed of all–the clear eye
of Heaven, where all the worlds appear.
Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect
begins its struggle to return. The good gift
begins again its descent. The maker moves
in the unmade, stirring the water until
it clouds, dark beneath the surface,
stirring and darkening the soul until pain
perceives new possibility. There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal.