Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Stuck in the Mud

           Sometimes I look at small insects and wonder if they have any idea of the vast world around them.  Are they fluttering or crawling about with tunnel vision? Or do they see all that we see?  I often feel like there's a lot that I don't see, because it's masked by the darkness that I feel.  Both physically, because I don't want to get up and go see it, and emotionally because I am incapable of really seeing the true beauty that I know is all around me. 
          I've realized what keeps me going is moments of greatness.  When I see a great act of kindness, or what seems to be a miracle, or when someone beats the odds.  I can feel something when greatness happens, other than emptiness. They're like stepping stones in an endless river that I'm trying not to drown in. I'll stand on one until another comes along. I'm sure we are all that way, just trying to find things to carry us.  
          Sometimes moving from one stepping stone to another is flawless, sometimes the next one doesn't come for a while and we get stuck.  Sometimes we reach too far, and fall in the water, getting stuck in the mud. It's thick, and heavy, so we lose our energy and our hope ceases for a time. We don't see anyone out there to yell for. Even the existence of God comes into question.  We start to only see the darkness, and emptiness takes over. We say we "can't take it anymore", but "it" isn't the mud, or the water, or the lack of stepping stones. "It" is the feeling that we know will still be there whether we are in the mud or standing proudly on the next stone. We know we can get out if we try hard enough. But, do we want to? If we get up, then we'll have to smile. Faking that smile is what seems too hard to bear.  We're in it, we're done, we can give up and those fake smiles don't have to exist anymore. We don't have to clean the mud off our clothes, and stand on the next stepping stone proudly pretending we feel a sense of accomplishment or pride.  We will be expected to be proud of ourselves, and we want to be...but the emptiness lingers.  Sometimes we are na├»ve enough to expect the happiness and pride, so we are caught off guard that the emptiness is still there.  We don't want to let whoever is out there down, so we smile...dying a little more inside knowing we can't feel anything but despair, and we can't let anyone know.  
          We are human, and we fall.  Sometimes we fall hard.  This year, for me, has had tragic loss, followed by greatness I'll never forget. Two great men lost their lives, one by a tragic accident, another by his own hand.  Both made me realize that no matter how much I want to,  I'm not able to take away someone's heartache and despair.  I know that because no matter how hard I've tried to let them, no one has been able to take away mine.  All I can do is try to find the greatness that follows.  One loss brought an entire community together in a way that I know none of them will ever forget.  The love and support for one man's family went beyond anything I would have ever been able to imagine.  I am grateful I was able to feel the stepping stones under my feet during that time.  The other, he doesn't have to fake smiles or hide the mud anymore.  That may not seem "great" to a lot of people, but to me, I understand.  I hope he isn't feeling now the way he was on Earth, it is great to me that that's a possibility.  They were both beloved husbands, fathers, brothers, cousins, uncles, friends, and they will be missed forever.  I know they've left a few in their wake feeling stuck in the mud.  To you all...just know you are not alone.  We are here.  We want to see your fake smiles, take the mud from your clothes to ours from all the hugs we want to give, and try our best to give you a reason to get up onto the next stone.