Once again, I’m in Wisconsin. I even got here in time to witness the very late blooming of our lilac bush–and have a goofy picture of hubs in a close-up sniff-action to prove it.
The act of taking that picture reminds me of all the laughs I’m missing while we’re apart, which is why today’s post is brought to you by Rumi, the Sufi poet who understood love at a visceral level.
I’m glad I have a long weekend of no “work” work in which to revel in the existence of love–even though I had to waste most of the weekend on finishing midterm work. At least that means I’m past the halfway point on deliverables for two classes, and can start to see the light at the end of this tunnel. I’m uber-grateful that I will only have had to tolerate this two-class load once in the course of my MBA. Today, it was such a literal and figurative headache I really struggled to accomplish my tasks.
For all that, I know some of my friends are struggling with worse. My heart goes out to them (Gayla, Pam, remember there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel!), and some of the losses I’ve faced over the years are brought freshly to mind through their suffering. So it was an odd coincidence for me to run across a TED talk this week that asked the question “Can there be meaning in pointless torment?” I look for meaning and pattern in everything, so I would answer yes reflexively, but the idea that bad experiences and the grace with which we handle them profoundly reflect who we are has another kind of truth.
The speaker in that TED talk reiterated multiple times the importance of forging meaning and building identity as the reflective inner and outer process by which we understand who we are, and culminated with a particularly moving story about how that played out in his life as a gay American who has found, late in life, the joy of family. Combined with the opposing horror of the California man-on-women hate crime that resulted in yet more fatalities, as well as the #yesallwomen Twitter conversation that trended on a global scale in response to it, this week has had quite a bit of emotional turmoil to it–even as I’ve gotten to revel in my own love.
The push and pull of handling profound loss and appreciating life-affirming relationships is one of the challenges of human existence. I’m writer enough to feel like there’s a lesson in the relationship between protagonists and antagonists in there somewhere–even if I only managed 22 words in the past week.
So I’ll keep pushing forward, being grateful that we’re halfway through our own trial, while holding our friends who face tougher trials in my heart. Be gentle with yourselves this week, and go give some encouragement to the other authors who are sharing their progress via the ROW80 virtual group.