Wednesday, March 27, 2013

full of air and made of paper.

photo taken at the utah state fair 2 years ago.

certainty is a funny thing.

it's interesting to see how it is found to be both a comfort
and a disturbance.

here are some sample statements:
i am certain i will graduate high school.
i am certain i will not get cancer.
i am certain i will have children.
i am certain i will make it on time.

so on and so forth.

we speak with certainty all the time.
"when we have children, we are going to raise them to be christian."
"when you grow up and get married, you are going to see what it's like."
"when i'm in college, i'm going to party like it's 1999."
"god hates sinners."
"i will never have a cavity."
"i will always love you."

the assumptions we utter are so exciting.
the prospect of things makes us feel over the moon.

and then life happens
and we find ourselves in a struggle.

a struggle against cancer,
against infertility.
a struggle to find our soul mate.
a struggle to find out the truth, though we find ourselves in an uncompromisable state.
a struggle to help our austistic child through the public education system.
a struggle to support a spouse who has 6 months to live.
a struggle with an opposing opinion
or hardheadedness.
a struggle to live.

being on the internet last night,
social media specifically,
was a stirring experience.

it was a friend's child's 21st birthday. the one she had out of wedlock when she was a teenager.
a neighbor announced her young husband is going to die of cancer.
a friend announced an engagement.
people were spouting off their political opinions.
a friend's younger brother passed away.
a former student got into her dream school in new york city.
a friend was damning another for their civil rights involvement.

and all at once it was all floating in front of me:
the human experience,
the inescapability of death,
the uncertainty of,

all at once
i felt as though my bones were hollow glass
that were surrounded by my tissue paper body,
which was about to cave in.

why, yes!
the certainty of which i live my life is comforting.
it makes me feel as though i know what's around each corner.

what a starry-eyed way of living, eh?

how very disturbing certainty can be.
it suggests an immovable path our lives are to take,
an immovable path to our salvation.

oh, the fragility of life!

how fragile my loved ones are!
how fragile my financial situation!
how fragile my safety!
how fragile my bones!

i seek certainty to compensate for this fragility.
we all do.
feelings of certainty combat the grey area we find ourselves lost in.
or faith that things will work out.

seeing the brittleness of life on others,
made me feel an overwhelming guilt.
i could not sleep soundly while my fellow people are breaking to bits.

i couldn't rest knowing that at any moment
life can flip a switch
and change.

life doesn't cycle around and around like an amusement park ride.
sometimes it only circles once.
sometimes it breaks and a fireman asks you to climb down a really long ladder.
sometimes you feel like it might never end.
sometimes it doesn't even start.

all the more reason to eat cotton candy
and wear cowboy boots to the fair.

that frailty that life carries
it is humbling.

i guess what i'm saying is:

you have to know that your entire life could break at a moment's notice
and you might lose it all.

you must know that.

and all the while
sleep soundly.

live life the way you know best.

it's okay to talk about death in one breath
and cheezbrgr cats in the next.
it's okay to fret about lipstick
or about exams
even when there are worse things.

you just gotta kiss the love of your life on the forehead more often.
you gotta help people.
you gotta be okay with grey area.
you gotta know that when you get a dog it's gonna to die.
you gotta know that you could get very, very sick
or that your child might have something terribly wrong with them.

and you gotta put on red lipstick
and take selfies
and make people uncomfortable with your PDA
and make plans even though they might never come to fruition.
you gotta party like it's 1999
and you gotta keep your chin up.

you simply must hold things close to you while you can
and it's okay to say you have a shred of certainty
even when you don't

because you don't.
no one does.

the only thing we know
is there is love
and it's here
and it's real
very real
and it's here to save us
and change our lives.

it's here even when our hearts break
and our legs fail.
it's there when we lose it all.

i might lose my sweet dog tonight
or my precious family
or the love of my life.

i don't know.
but DAMN it
i'm gonna love hard.

and i'm gonna watch cat videos on the internet with them
and i'm probably going to laugh until one of us can't breathe
and then we might cry for our neighbors
or we might quarrel or disagree over political things.
we might sit silently
and not even whisper that we love each other
even though we know we could lose it all in a fire or something.

and it's okay
because love is strong
and i am holding on to them
with all the strength i have
even when life is so frail.



tell me what you're thinking