I am tired of getting bad news, of then being the bearer of bad news, of trying to temper that bad news in front of my children, and of trying not to let that bad news affect my kindness toward others--particularly my family. And I can't always do that. I try--really I do--but I just don't make it everyday, maybe not even most days.
And so after a long day of it all, I am sitting here mulling the huge things and the big things and the semi-big things and the routine things that make this life into this life. I should go to sleep, but I just can't right now. Just. Can't.
And I probably shouldn't write except that I think that I'm not alone here.
I think that many of us sit up after hard days and ponder. We may try to calm ourselves, get our frustrations out at the gym, even self-medicate. And at the end of it all, we are still up--watching TV, sitting on the couch, or staring into the darkness of the bedroom--not sleeping.
And in that moment, I wonder if we listen...to our own breathing coming again and again. It is the gift of life that makes our heart beat and our chest rise and fall, and even if life may be complex and tortured at the moment, it is still a gift, and we still have it in this moment.
I wonder if we hear the breath of those around us. They don't have to live with us. We can live alone, but still some of the sounds of the outside world creep in. We may feel alone, so very alone. But we are not. There is always someone, something. The first time I ever lived by myself I had a single dorm room in Boston. In moving in, I inadvertently trapped a fly in the room. During that first day, George, as I fondly dubbed him, seemed a real annoyance, but when my family left and I was actually alone for the very first time in my life, I was oddly grateful for the comfortable, if noisy, companionship of my small friend.
But back in this moment, I am listening to the gurgle of the water in the pipes, the obscenely loud hum of the refrigerator (oh, please, don't quit on me!), the whirring of the computer fan, and the chirping of the crickets.
And over it all, I hear that small voice, that voice that my daytime activity--the hunt for socks, the chasing of children, the rush to meet deadlines--drowns out.
Today the voice tells me what it has to tell me today.
And my soul says, "But...."
My soul always says, "But...." You would think that after all these years my soul would learn, but it hasn't. It still says, "But...."
And the voice says, "Shhh. Just listen."
And so I sit. And listen. And hopefully, I hear.