Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time for the Ones I Love

It’s a crazy and confusing thing, time. It can fly past you without you even knowing it happened, or make each second feel like a minute or hour. In the midst of joy, it celebrates with you quickly and expediently, going by so quickly you are sometimes not sure it was there to begin with. Or in the midst of pain and sorrow, it drags by, weeping with you, intensifying each and every moment, each and every breath.

This week, every day has seemed to drag by. The days move in slow motion as I reflect on where my life has led me. As I dwell on decisions I am about to make over the next several months. As I recall memories of the Ride:Well team that bring me joy, while simultaneously feeling great pain and sorrow as a result of our separation from one another. The days are long, the breaths heavy, and the tears sometimes far many more than are welcome.

Yet this week has flown by. It seems like I should still have more than a single day left to see the rest of my family, to spend time with my dear friend Laura and her beautiful family. I should not be worried about scheduling in time for things like playing that over-due tennis match with my baby sister, having breakfast with my brothers, or having lunch with a long-lost colleague who I now share a passion for biking with. I shouldn’t be pressed for time when it seems like every day this week has gone so slowly I think the growing grass could have beat me at a race for the finish.

In my attempt to get some “summer reading” in this week, I’ve been working through Anne Lamott’s “Traveling Mercies.” Something she said that has stuck with me is the importance of grief. When we allow ourselves to grieve, she says, the grief moves us away from the numb feelings that come with avoidance, and allow us to become who we truly are. Then, instead of feeling numb all the time, we move into places where we are able to have occasional moments of utter joy, “of feeling aware of each moment shining for its own momentous sake” (you should read this whole book… but this particular piece can be found on page 71).

I do not believe that my grief of the team is as severe as that which she is describing in this piece, but I do think there is validity in what she is saying. It also goes to say that we must allow ourselves to grieve – no matter how big or small – but that we must also be willing to find pockets of joy in the midst of that.

I for one am thankful for the pockets of sunshine in my life, for they have brought me great joy this week. It has been a treat to spend time with my biological family (which, for the record, has been a record-setting problem free this week!). I have also been blessed to find myself in the presence of many of the people I love most in the world outside of my family. My best friend Eliot was here on Friday afternoon, and my dear, dear, old roommate, friend, and companion Ruby just spent all day with me. Count in that I got to see my sister and Rosie both last week in DC, and I would say this has perhaps been one of the most blessed (two) weeks I have seen in quite some time! For Eliot, Ruby, Rosie and Alicia are four of the people dearest to my heart… and I have never in my life been able to see all of them in such a short span of time. Let me not forget that I technically saw the Ride:Well team in that same time AND will see my Garrett family when I arrive in Evanston on Thursday, and I am left speechless with the blessing of community – no matter how near or far – I have developed over time.

I guess that just goes to show – life is all about perspective. Today, I’m choosing to focus on the perspective that life is what you make it – and while I will continue to grieve the loss of the community of the Ride:Well Team, I am also seeking these moments of celebration as we begin to move away from it. As we continue to grow together in our new experiences as we begin to unravel what our experiences together can mean in our “real” lives now that we have made attempts at returning to them. I never have intentions of forgetting or letting go of the Tour. I can’t imagine that being possible. But I don’t want to hold on to it as something that grieves me as it already has… I want to hold onto it as something that brings me joy of great memories, the beginning of amazing friendships, and as a source of strength as I recall all that has already been endured and overcome for a greater purpose.

Coming full term with such goals will undoubtedly take time, but it sure feels good to have set a goal, to have begun to make sense of it all. To have taken the first steps toward making it a reality. The first step, of course, being to recognize and record that which I hope to gain. And second? To take action by moving from sending sappy “I miss you” Facebook notes or emails, into picking up the phone and seeing how they’re doing instead. It was good – and healing – to hear familiar voices over the lines tonight… and it made me wonder why we have ever allowed ourselves to become so lazy that technology was able to take that gift from us.

1 comment:

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

you are also loved and treasured from the southern tip of Africa. And we grieve that distance separates us - but technology helps me keep in touch with you. And you inspire me.