Monday, April 30, 2012

The Thing About Numbing

Last week was a roller coaster week - the kind of roller coaster where your insides somehow get pinned to the roof of your mouth and your heart ends up where your tongue should be. One of my bestest friends in the world was here for a brief, fly-by visit. Over the course of about 36 hours, we laughed and wept and biked 20 miles and ate and drank and had the time of our lives...and then she was gone. There are no words to describe how amazing this time with my friend was. Two days later, I put my 13 year old dog to sleep after watching her slowly succumb to the dark haze of doggie dementia. That was by far one of the shittiest things I've had to do in a long time. It was a week of extremes - a wonderfully, engulfing sense of friendship and love, followed by terrible loss and emptiness.

One viable option when feeling the pain of loss this week was to drink myself into oblivion and sleep for 3 days (which I sheepishly admit that I sometimes do). But when I do this, I miss the depths of love, wonder, and awe that are just as palpable as the pain. When I do this, I sleep through the friendship and the biking through the park in the brilliant sun and the long conversations over rich glasses of wine. The thing about numbing is this - although we try, we can't selectively numb. We can't numb pain and suffering without numbing hope, joy, and fulfillment. Perhaps this isn't very zen of me, but I choose to feel it all. Passionately. Every. Day. I choose to slurp up every last drop of joy and pain and bliss and suffering equally in gratitude and in hope that I will not just live life, but that I will live life abundantly.

Friday, April 6, 2012

When Words Fail

I love language and communication. I love to talk in and around and through things, wrap words around experiences, and process, process, process.  But how in the world do I answer the question: "so, how was your trip?"  I can't seem to figure it out.
  • I can and often say: "uhhhh, good." - this is woefully insufficient, but often, it's exactly what people want to hear.  I get obligatory pats on the back and bewildered smiles.
  • I've toyed around with: "completely life changing in every way and everything about my world is different now." - this tends to catch people off guard and completely overwhelm them, leaving us staring at each other in awkward silence...not a great approach.
  • I've tried: "what trip?" while feigning malaria-induced delirium.
  • To forfeit, I say: "great, I'll have to show you pictures sometime." - of course, this never happens, but it does let people off the hook and allows them to feel good about themselves for asking.
  • For those friends who really, really, really want to know and care deeply, I say: "It was heart breaking, completely joyous, beautiful in every way, intimidating, filling, emptying, and then filling again..."  and then we sit for long hours and laugh and cry and honor the inevitable silence that comes when words aren't enough.  
All this to say, words fail.  They are mere shadows of a gigantic, looming experience that will inform who I am, in ways that I cannot even comprehend, for the rest of my days.  I ask for patience as I figure out how to process this experience, use it, and live into it.