We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient memories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
in the flush of love’s light.
We dare be brave
and suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
~~ Maya Angelou ~~
“2016 has been exactly 32 days long and it has been filled with a lot of loss. The world lost artists. My friends lost parents. My friends lost children. My friends lost friends. Sometimes I doubt the earth’s ability to withstand the weight of all this grief.
Being a human is really hard. And it doesn’t get easier. Better, maybe. Deeper. Fuller. But not easier.
This morning I sat in a crowded, silent room and cried with other people. And it was difficult. And it was beautiful. And I wish the world had more of that. Not grief itself – which is inevitable and plentiful – but the slowness, the softness, the fullness of sitting in a quiet room and feeling what you’re feeling. Sometimes we are so busy rushing around trying to find happiness that we forget to feel the rest of it. And the rest of it is important. It means something. It matters.
I was very sad today. And I cried for a lot of reasons and for a lot of people, myself included. I cried in the way that you do when there is nothing but crying. And that made me feel guilty and selfish, as grief often does. And I called my mom who told me what I already knew – that it isn’t selfish to cry when it’s not your personal loss. That we’re all in this. That loss belongs to all of us.
We are all losers in this world. Losers of people and things and ideas and certain versions of ourselves and specific hopes. And while there is possibly nothing lonelier than grief, it is also one of the few things that truly connects us to one another. It is a dark gift, but not a useless one. It is an essential human experience. And that means something. That matters.
And I guess what I’m trying to say is simply, “me too.” That I will sit by your side in any room, in every room, and slowly, silently, fully feel the weight of everything we have lost. And that will be its own kind of miracle. Because we won’t be alone in it. Because the earth will continue to hold us.” ~ Frankie Zelnick