These past few weeks I have been hiding from myself by reading way too many mystery novels. I've enjoyed not having to face the realities of my new life through the mindless escape they offer. Tonight as I slipped into bed I picked up my latest mystery novel from the library and my flashlight, expecting to read until I fell asleep. While I was doing so, my lit flashlight illuminated a book beside my bed that I haven't read for some weeks now, the Book of Hope. I started to read it instead of my mystery novel, and as I was doing so, cracked open some kind of inner window to my heart that has been intentionally closed.
As I was reading, a thought came to me that one of my fears may be that I am, in fact, fully capable of surviving this tragedy and thriving. Perhaps, like the mythical story of Michelangelo and the hunk of marble he’s carving, there is a lion in me waiting to be uncovered.
After Vincent died I expected my whole life to be shattered and for me to never walk again, let alone run along life’s road. Perhaps the truth is that in fact, I am able to run again more quickly than I thought. I am afraid that perhaps I can do this, and do it well. Why is this so hard to believe? Because I want to be bed-ridden. I want to act as devastated as I feel. I want my life to never be the same again, like the woman who went to bed after her daughter was killed in a hit & run accident, and who died years later in the same bed, leaving a huge indentation behind in the mattress. I want to leave a dent that shows I have been wounded. I want to leave a huge indentation that is a testament to the extent of my grieving.
I’ve been expecting that this said dent would be in my mattress, and I’ve given myself many opportunities to do nothing. In fact, that’s what I’ve been doing. Nothing. I have no job, I have no expectations of myself other than mothering my almost 4 year old who is eager to please and can entertain himself for hours on easy-to-set up craft projects, plus my ipad. All I’ve been doing is reading book after book and eating crackers and cheese for dinner. Is it possible that I can do more? Perhaps. And this thought terrifies me.
Dan has been running miles every day in preparation for the Aloha Run, which he ran yesterday. His knee started complaining a couple weeks ago, and froze up one day during his run so badly he could barely walk. But he did walk home. And then he walked to the store, because he was afraid that if he didn’t move he wouldn’t be able to walk for a while. So he kept moving, and it helped his knee to normalize.
I have been grievously injured. And I’ve been expecting to not be able to move. And yet perhaps that’s exactly what I need.