To have loved
and to have suffered. To have waited
for nothing, and for nothing to have come.
A teen girl is shot in the street.
A young man dies on a college campus.
A mother throws her son off a bridge.
Within days, inevitably, a vigil. Candles on cue, to a refrain that has played too many times: This community comes together in support.
But what good is it now, our hand-wringing and alarm, this cooing disguised as comfort?
We are urgent with a terrorized sort of sadness. We come together. But every day we are divided, by politics and opinions, by wounds and hurts. It seems only tragedy binds us.
It’s easy to feel stricken. Difficult to put love into action day after day.
A friend cried through the Super Bowl commercials. Were the ads that touching, she asks, or is that I've been sick all week and my resistance is low?
Some days a slice of light against the wood floor can break me open.
But isn’t that what we all need now, to feel more?
Let us lower our resistance.
And yet. The hand-wringing. The calls for change. It’s exhausting.
Because our pleas ring hollow, small. We feel so much but do so little.
But what action, really, would be substantial, meaningful, enough?
So long I was surrounded by vitality. Now, neighbors, friends, and family are dying. This is not new. But the sting is fresh.
A friend offers what seems simple but sage advice: “Just love them now and for the rest of your days and know that they love you.”
Loving, then, is that easy? And that hard.
I get a massage, but what I really want is a spiritual experience. Strong hands to dig through flesh to find gristle and bone, to excise the deep cavities where sadness takes hold. I want to be remade, cleansed, and spare.
The night is briny and thick. Somewhere, someone, is sinking. Someone is always dying.
Death is sorrowful but not tragic. Let us not turn this into a project.
And yet, let us not turn away.