Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So heaven can breathe

It would have been a beautiful day to have been born. Sunlight flickered shadows across the road even though the morning began with weeping. After noon, when the crying finally ceased, God peeled away the thick coating of clouds so that heaven could breathe again. And the shine lit the day like gleaming Mount Parnassos.

I remember roaming the stony streets of Delphi, with its treasuries and tholos tomb in ruins after so many years of physical and cultural weathering, and feasting on a purview of golden mountain as the dying sun cast a final gaze upon it. The landscape was familiar, yet foreign, too. Like the Moon's feel to the Earth, perhaps. Or the glisten of a fetal sac born too soon.

August 25th. Neil Armstrong died that day, too. His famous first steps resound around the world; a feat my lost child will never make. Today, I should have been touching tiny toes and kissing a newborn's head. Today, the shrill cry of new life should have burst from my womb. Today, tears of joy should be pouring down my cheeks. But, instead, I smile despite the shadows that spread thick inside; I hold my boys close, despite the empty void a new baby would have filled; I continue the Tuesday routine despite my body's vertigo as if it felt an appendage that wasn't there.

March 12th - what joy it should have held! Do you have days that hold close grief, friend? Perhaps you've lost a child or a parent or your best friend? Perhaps you've felt the wrenching of a sibling's hatred toward you or lack of love from a parent? Perhaps you were raped or beaten or unfairly incarcerated? Perhaps you've felt the true pangs of starvation or witnessed the slow death of such a one? Perhaps you've held the hand of a teenager whose tried to cut her life away or laughed over wine with someone that survived the Holocaust?

No one can answer the whys of life. No one can stifle the pain and anger and grief that strikes us again and again. But, unless we know the agony, how could we possibly understand the joy? Could we have compassion or hope if we did not know their opposites? Friend, I pray most ardently that you don't become desensitized. May hope and compassion always triumph over the parade of Rated R we throw into our societal and cultural Coliseum. May the long shadows of your life be balanced by the light that defines them.

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