I’m sitting in my home office, working on probate cases (don’t worry; I stopped the clock to write this), listening to Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba singing a song that unduly moves me to tears. It magically conjurs up memories of my children in a world where they are deceased and missed. Such a world, of course, is not reality right now; my children are alive and well. But then again they aren’t. Every day is a death.
My baby’s blue eyes fade to a stormy grey the older he gets. His infant cheeks disappear and mold into a child’s jawline. My firstborn’s clumsy twirling has left and been replaced by a nearly-tween saunter. Her squeaky voice has caved to a low-pitched drawl. The child from that moment — that one moment when I held them so closely that I knew they couldn’t slip away — has slipped away nonetheless. A new child born, of course, but the old one gone forever. Life is a kind of death, and you are not crazy to mourn it.
I think of my body, aching from the chair I sit in, my arms raw from the way in which they rest on my less-than-ergonomic desk and keyboard. I realize that time, to my consciousness, goes only forward and that, entropic by its very nature, it degenerates my body by the minute. I am plunged, by all worldly accounts, toward my impending illness and eventual death. Life is suffering, and you are not crazy to fear it.
And yet type I must. I pluck away for hours working on things for which I earn the money that pays to keep my impending death and discomfort just a little more at bay. I am lucky that I even find this work interesting. Many do not. It is not uncommon to be imprisoned by the necessity of earning one’s keep. Life is prison, and you are not crazy for feeling trapped.
I listened recently to Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. I was struck by a certain part:
There are so many ways that things can fall apart, or fail to work altogether, and it is always wounded people who are holding it together. They deserve some genuine and heartfelt admiration for that. It’s an ongoing miracle of fortitude and perseverance.
We are all broken, bored, belabored with tasks inherent and necessary to a life that is never quite as satisfying as our goals nor as vivid as our memories. Indeed, hope is often more exciting than achievement; nostalgia more meaningful than reality. And yet…
And yet…here we are. We persevere. We even break through and see daylight sometimes. We stand tall. We create. We love. We share. We comfort. We laugh. We move forward with eyes open. Isn’t it miraculous?
Truly, the crazy thing isn’t that we hurt. The crazy thing is that sometimes, even sometimes, we don’t.
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