September 4: Oeillade

I chastise myself for dwelling on the
inevitable, for loneliness plays upon my
wounds before they heal. The bandages

wear thin with the constant flow of
images, past and new experiences, most
real, some imagined but all embellished

with roses. Futilely, I cling to what
I know is already gone, or mostly gone,
and will be forgotten when the last

sand falls. The grains are already
counted and echo with their rapid
descent, until I can only hear the

tic toc tic of my heart. Will you
think of me afterwards as the weight
around your legs that caused you to

stumble in time? Or will you view me
in some dark, private cubicle, inserting
a quarter for a glimpse of the past, and

see me dancing in slow rhythms before you?

I wonder some days about the people in my life and how long of a time frame we have together. I’ve lived long enough to see many people come and go. Maybe by moving away. Or growing apart. Or dying. I’m reminded this week of the ebb and flow of life and how, no matter what we desire, some things don’t happen the way we anticipate. And that can be frustrating or maddening or disappointing or heartbreaking. It’s not easy giving up on expectations, but I’ve come to the conclusion, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, that often it’s necessary. Especially when it comes to other people. Instead, I’m thankful to be reminded that what I need to focus on is what their impact may be in my life and what mine may be to theirs. And try to be someone whose presence made a positive difference; someone worth remembering.

Day 28

Usually I write these posts at the end of the day. It seems to make sense to me to wait until my day is over to realize what has really struck me. Sometimes I’m not even sure until I sit down at the computer. I just let the words come out honestly and take shape in front of me. Today I’m writing early because I’m headed out of town and I’m not sure what my internet connection status will be later. I figured, better safe than sorry. But I also know one thing I’m grateful for already today: taking chances.

It is so easy to play life safe. To sit on the sidelines and watch from the slight comfort of our fold up chair. How many parents do this with their children? Urge their kids to try out for sports or cheerleading or play the musical instrument they were too afraid to pick up when they were a kids themselves. Most of us–because it’s easier to live vicariously through someone else. I think that’s why Americans are obsessed with celebrities. They don’t seem to have the limits the rest of us do. With money and power and a staff of helpers, we would probably all become a bit more risk-takers. I imagine the fallout doesn’t seem as bad when you’re insulated. But how many things do we miss by not getting involved ourselves? Not getting into the nitty gritty dirty thing called life. Some of my friends have been surprised recently to learn about how much I’ve been doing on my own. Not just house stuff, but social things. If I don’t have a willing friend, I decided I’d just go out by myself. That’s what I’m doing today. Heading into Chicago for a concert.

I believe life isn’t about staying inside our own bubble wrap. It’s no fun in there. Sure, getting hurt sucks, physically and emotionally. And it’s usually the emotional hurts that scare us the most. Breaking bones can heal quicker than a broken heart or spirit. It takes immense trust and courage to hand over your heart to someone and ask them to take care of it. Especially when the last person stuck it in their pocket and forgot about it. Or shoved pins into it. Stepped on it. You get the idea. I’ve got quite a few bandages still wrapped around mine. But I’m willing to take a chance again because I personally think we are made for connections. Sometimes family is enough or a circle of friends is enough. Yet sometimes it isn’t and it’s time to cross our fingers and take off the insulation and jump into the messiness of life. Sure, it could end up badly. It could hurt again. But it also could turn out to be wonderful. After all, I’d rather take a risk and fall than spend my life standing on the edge, wondering what it feels like to fly.