Monday, March 31, 2014

The Stars Are Not All Falling Down

I sleep best when the rain is falling. The world is reduced to a small center—the rain, the sound of my son’s oxygen supply making it to his lungs & heart, the purr of whatever wet cat has decided to curl up against my back, the snuffles & settling of the aging, valiant pitbull..these keep me lulled at the heart of a seemingly safe center.

For me, because I am one of the lucky ones, the rain is outside. And it is a warm rain. I close down that part of my mind that worries about the people who are sleeping under the freeway bridge or in their car, in the makeshift camps, or huddled in doorways. I sigh & turn back to my dreams, in which I wander strange cities and look for my children.

Gabriel, whose oxygen makes a reassuring white noise against the night—Gabe in particular gets lost in my dreams. Or he teeters in some precarious place, at the windowsill of a building in a surreal city full of statues and trees. I call to him to be careful. To stay safe.

Sometimes I wake with my own heart pounding, desperate to catch a falling child, to block a dangerous passage, to light a dark corridor.

These dreams are obvious, and my anxieties reasonable enough. If your child has a heart condition—well, yeah, this permeates your sleep, even if the rain gentles things, even if you have learned to go day by day through a busy & distracted life. Even if your answers to “how are you?” is always the expected, placid, “fine, and how are you?”

Because—really, how can you say “I live each day balancing a fine line between terror and love”? Or “let me tell you the truth; sometimes I want to fall to my knees and howl”?
You can’t.

And when the world crowds in—when you watch, in live time, the bullets in Kiev and the brave souls standing in the snow; when you hear from friends in all corners of the world and the news is heartbreaking and complicated, when the smiling woman right in front of you tells you she hasn’t eaten in three days and in one week you meet family after family who is hungry, right here in the seemingly prosperous little town you live in, and a little girl whose dancing eyes don’t let on that she is without shelter, because, after all, she has the shelter of her mom’s arms. But you see her oldest brother, and..he knows. And you wish so much that you could make everything better, everything okay, and you know you cannot…well, how do you go on, in those waking hours when the rain doesn’t enclose you? And what do you do?

When I was a little child, I learned that my reality is not necessarily that of other people, so I don’t promise you that what gets me through the day and night will help you in the least.

But here goes:
Don’t get distracted, except when it feeds your soul. Know what is key to you, be that your desire to finish a novel (writing or reading) or your need to save All The Polar Bears.
Do what you can. No, don’t put that off…is there a letter to write, something to learn, a garden to plant, a person to feed, a language to learn? Time is short, do it.
Get very distracted. When everything seems to be weighing you down, just let go of that. Remember what you enjoyed when you were four? Random movies? Climbing trees? Being bratty? Running with your dog? Do that a while.
Hold your space. Dreams take a while to grow..the good ones, not those nightmares you chase. Honor your need to have a little space for them.
Only connect. Yeah, you are human, open your heart a bit and listen.
Breathe. Oh, do remember to breathe.
Be grateful.
Plant some seeds.
And yeah, go ahead and cry. Your eyes might be clearer for that.
We’re only here a moment, don’t worry, all the stars are not falling down, and if they are…well, you are part of that too.


Blogger Sabine said...

Oh thank you, I needed to read that today.

2:09 AM, April 01, 2014  
Blogger am said...

Was just thinking about you in the past few days. As always, thank you for writing in the language of the heart.

10:32 AM, April 01, 2014  
Blogger Lucy said...

Good words as always, you help so many of us so much.

1:18 AM, April 09, 2014  
Blogger ocean lady said...

You say so much in such few - and always honest - words. And always give to others even as you share your pain and life lessons with them. I want to see this blog in a book some day.

1:56 AM, July 20, 2014  

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