Feeling my age today, there is a chill deep down in the marrow of my bones, the temperature outside has plummeted, as I swallow back an acidity of fear pushing up from the core of my being.
Cracking the flesh that confines my misgivings as if a walnut, I take the gnarled meat into my aging hand, and consider how it resembles a brain.
The meat of fear is dense.
It does not matter if my basic fear is becoming invisible, invalid, irrelevant and yours is abandonment, loneliness, ostracism. Our disquiet connects us as if a magnet, my fear pulling on yours, yours pulling on mine until our toxicity becomes something new, a variant if you will, more virulent than its original form.
Love does much the same.
My fears are not baseless, ageism is real, but that does not make them valid, just fleeting thoughts that disrupt my inner sense of stability as if vertigo.
If you only knew the things I hold back, the frivolity I push down, the creativity I ignore, because I think my words might offend, irritate, or annoy the hell out of someone.
I fear judgment more than cultivating my inner truth.
The problem is my words become as irrelevant as the news.
It’s ridiculous that it takes an act of courage to wake up every morning and confront our current reality. No wonder I drink copious amounts of coffee.
It’s as if we’re drowning in a polarized cesspool of hatred that not only damages our quality of life, our ability to feel joy, it’s a poverty of spirit, and sadly this is a reflection of our world. If it’s not the wealth gap, climate change, or the pandemic, it’s a conflict of power, privilege, and politics, which leads to an array of suffering, abuse, and addictions.
We live in dark times.
Screw the rashes, what I need is red wine, piquant cheese, and dark chocolate, in that order, and unlimited quantities, please.
We’re all struggling, looking for a source of comfort and joy in the midst of a stark winter, staring out our window of reality hoping for a personal advent to break through those musty curtains of indifference.
Long lay the world in sin and error pinning, I don’t know about you, but I need my holy night, so my soul can feel its worth.
What a mess, my lack of faith is showing, or maybe our collective apathy is attacking our faith in each other, in our dignity as a creation. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness, and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns says, Anne Lamott.
Maybe I need is a change of scenery? While I’m thinking luau’s, bikinis, Mai Tai’s, and stellar sunsets, Larry’s focus is the weather.
So we hit the road as a mild storm chases us up the Interstate, arriving at the lake just before the skies open up, and we are deluged by much-needed rain.
The good news is our sealants held, there is no river of water trailing down the main window, dripping from the vent in our room, or flooding the lanai.
We quickly settle into our preferred spaces, me, swaddled in the double-wide, writing irrelevant words from my little corner of the world. Larry is on the sofa, opposite the television, excited to watch a taped version of the Formula 1 championship.
All-day he avoided the news as to not ruin the live experience.
It’s interesting how we tend to eschew the outcome, the answer, the conclusion before we’ve had a personal encounter.
I look up from my computer as he cranks up the volume on the television, he’s off the couch in a single leap, making noises no grown man should make.
I’m like, “what the hell? Are you having appendicitis?”
Larry says, “It’s the final lap of the race!”
“Thank God, I thought I was going to have to perform CPR.”
I get the look.
Suddenly he’s jumping in the air, fists flying, yelling, “Oh My God, Verstappen is trying to pass Hamilton. Look at this, look at this, he’s doing it, holy sh-t, $%!#&, come on.”
His excitement is contagious and I rise from my berth to stand with him.
A thrill of hope seizes our weary souls, as Larry declares, “He did it! He overcame Hamilton! Unbelievable!”
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy competitions, rivalries, or sporting events. It’s communal, we’re drawn to it innately, and although it can be a source of conflict, we tend to celebrate enmity in our culture.
It’s much the same with ritual, worship, and faith traditions, but it’s as if we’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater, and now we’re left with an emptiness that is difficult to fill.
We can enjoy Christmas without believing in the birth of Christ, many do, but remember it’s just materialism if you leave out the unwed mother, a woman who found herself unwelcome and alone, struggling to give birth to her first child, a child of God.
Life is a mystery, I don’t know the future, and I prefer to keep it an enigma, but this much I know to be true.
Darkness is dangerously close to overtaking our world. No wonder we chose December, the winter solstice, to wait in joyful hope for the glorious light to redeem us. It’s a close race, the outcome is unknown, but we can stand together, cheering on the underdog from Bethlehem, until the bitter end.
Spoiler alert. Love wins.
I’m Living in the Gap, weary but rejoicing, how are you doing?