I started this post on December 19th, in meditation on Sandy Hook. I never posted it but today when I came in to write, I found it... and it was a mirror image of the last week.
I've found myself in a low place the last few weeks. I'm not sure how to put words to the feeling. It's a odd feeling to be low without anything directly touching you to cause it. My family is healthy, though they are far away. I have a home and someone who loves me. I can run. I find happy patches in every day. But a feeling of melancholy clings.
Today a song line stood out to me "my heart's made of parts of all that surround me". It seemed to give words to what I felt, my heart is open to carry its surroundings. The sadness of others crawls into my heart. The happiness too. The dark and light. I can be so skinless at times. That's the feeling, like there is no barrier to protect, to shell up against the world. I'm having a hard time building my wall up.
And I know I'm not the only one who is walking around without a shell. Last Friday we all saw the same news. The words that added up to sentences that were all together incomprehensible. But like many things today we aren't allowed to just take it into our hearts to be still with it. We are asked to comment on it. And then judge one another's comments. And to sling words this way and that. All the while everyone's finely constructed walls were falling, giving no protection.
My mind has been stuck on that lyric all day and then I open my email to find my father-in-law sent me the essay Joyas Volardores written by David Boyle. If you haven't read it, I recommend reading it in its entirety. Below is the last paragraph...
You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.
I wrote in more length about Boston on Oiselle's blog. After the bombs were reported, confused rushes of words in my twitter feed, I called my mom in Mass and we cried. I found all the runners I knew by name and face and laugh. When I knew they were safe, I tried to build a wall up. I know how thin my skin is. I didn't want to brush up against anything. It would hold for hours and then suddenly I'd fall apart on the phone, or the street corner waiting for a light to change or sitting at book club.
There were moments I felt wrapped in love in our running community. There were moments that being a part of a brand left me dangling out to be attacked. Although I know it wasn't personal, it was another person's fear and sadness, and I tried to send love not anger.
But to be completely honest, I just wanted to go home and sit in a dark room. I couldn't think about lives lost, or blood on sidewalks, families broken, sadness like a cold fever chill, or all the rallying required to be an adult.
Day by day, I know we're building back to normal. To a smaller dull bruise. I don't want to crawl into a dark room anymore, or at least not as much. The choice to turn to positivity and restoration is easier. Last night running with over 200 people around Green Lake was healing. Seeing how generous people are as our community turns to build up the lives that were torn ragged is amazing. Over 1 million has been raised in the past week through online campaigns.
Obama's powerful words last week also helped the healing,
“This doesn’t stop us. And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us — to push, to not grow weary, to not get faint, even when it hurts. We finish the race. And we do that because of who we are and we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend, a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody’s there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick up.”Right now we are the ones ready to rally around and to pick up the weary...it's no time to stop.
Ways to Help Boston Victims and their Families
The One Fund Boston set up by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to help the most seriously affected by the Boston bombings.
Challenged Athletes Foundation to help raise funds needed to "support [victims] in their recovery through mentorship, clinics and assistance with equipment that will allow them to participate in sports – and in life – once again."
You can also give directly to victims like Patrick and Jess on GiveForward.com or #BelieveinBoston on GoFundMe.com