Its been a year.
My mind forgot but my body knew; I know this because I’ve been walking around the past two weeks, frustrated at the unexplained sadness I felt. Then two days ago I went to my bookcase, opened a random book, and felt an explosion of knowing. Knowing that it has been a year, and I had read this book the first week I had been home when I didn’t leave my house or even my bed. I put the book back on the shelf as fast as I could, treating it like a venomous serpent. Breathless, I finally knew.
It’s been a year since I had to leave what I loved because of my brokenness. Functioning didn’t work anymore. Brokenness was spilling out, even though I kept trying to shove her back in my pockets. Coming home, I expected a quick fix. Some medications, a few weeks of therapy, and then a one way ticket to somewhere cold and mountainous. Life laughed. God laughed. Anne Lamott always says, “If you want to make God laugh, show her your plans”. But it was a kind laugh, one that said, “Rach, you just wait. There are beautiful things to come.”
My moving date kept getting pushed back. Bike accidents and broken legs, medical bills galore, meltdowns and weeks of crippling anxiety; there was no way. Dragging myself along, this year was the longest year of my life. But also the shortest. Brokenness spilled out of my left pocket, but bravery spilled out of my right. The thought, “You were run over by a truck. Doing ________ can’t be as bad as that” would push me to do things I’d never considered doing. Being an artist. Having my own business. But at the end of the day, I felt like brokenness would ruin those things too.
I didn’t think that this year meant that I would have to turn my life and choices over to wise people; that I would have to be weighed backwards and throw away my scale and eat what I’m told. Apparently the scale controlled how I would feel that day. What am I supposed to feel now? I’m supposed to feel grief. The numbers covered grief over years wasted being sad. The numbers covered the feeling of shame over being home.
Grief looks like circles. Big swirling circles, Not linear steps but a whirlpool of feelings. I spun round and round the circle; and eventually I got off the merry-go-round; or I thought I did. But then I opened that damn book and I started swirling again. You don’t ever really get out of the circle, the death of a person or dream tattoos its mark on you. But the circles get smaller. One year turns into a month and eventually grief might last a day or even a moment.
Yesterday I decided to put a semicolon in my circle. My friend told me that Thursday was supposed to be the day she graduated university, but it had to be postponed because of brokenness. As we were sitting on a couch, swirling next to each other, we decided to put a semicolon in our grief and celebrate. Celebrate good things to come and healing and things not going to plan but still being beautiful. This week isn’t the anniversary of failure, but the anniversary of choosing wholeness. The anniversary of dedicating a year to take the brokenness out of our pockets. Of making friends who gather around brokenness and healing. Isn’t that what friendship is? Ours just had a name.
So tomorrow we are feasting. Feasting because we couldn’t before, and that’s a reason to celebrate. Celebrating the fact that this morning I actually ate food and didn’t let a number drive my emotions. Celebrating that I don’t have to just function anymore, but I can finally thrive. Celebrating that this year I made relationships that are treasures in my pockets; relationships replacing brokenness in my left pocket, and a greater dose of bravery in my right.
Man, it been quite a year.