Surviving the descent

I have to find the silver linings, the good things, about this. Because if I don’t, I’m doomed to live a life of regret and sorrow. Thing is, I never really thought about the alternative. Sure, maybe I tossed the idea around in my head that maybe this would never happen, but I didn’t dwell on it, and I really didn’t think it wouldn’t happen.

I don’t know if I’m still actively grieving. I spend a lot of time in my head as my own psychologist, even though I don’t have any credentials. I try to masterfully meta the crap out of my feelings, thoughts, outbursts. I have to just feel, let it be. Just let it be.

Something like this inevitably drives an annoying and awkward wedge, whether large or small, into¬†relationships. Thankfully we, the only ‘we’ that really matters, have enveloped that chasm with our love and affection for each other that’s not dependent on the outcome.

Here I go, metathinking again. But maybe this is a reason I love adventure and mountaineering literature. People choose to go through hard trials of all sorts… climbing Everest without oxygen, trying to be the first woman to reach the summit of K2, setting out on a voyage to reach the top of the world. It’s not like any of us were forced into this; we all partook at will.

Some people perish, posthumously granted an all-access pass into the heart of mountains and seas. Some people survive, broken, missing fingers and toes, a brutal reminder of the peril they endured. Some people come out of it refreshed and renewed for the next adventure.

I think I’ve been a little of all of those kinds of people. A part of me has died, quite literally. Month after month, now¬†year after year. There’s nothing tangible to determine this end, but I’m still missing something, someone, that seemed just within reach at one time. That for over ten years just hovered above the troposphere, waiting for me to call it, him, her, down to existence with me. I guess that someone will no longer hover; that someone will be taken away by the jet stream, out into space, forever.

A part of me has survived, no doubt about it, but a little bit broken. Fingers, toes, a bit frostbitten, but nothing that won’t heal, albeit damaged, after some time has passed. I still function. I still contribute. I still will thrive.

I cannot say that a part of me is refreshed and renewed, not yet. I’m getting there, ever so slowly. Looking back, I think I was grieving before I knew I was grieving. The mountain climber knows that if he has survived the descent and the long trip home, he will most likely live to climb again. With each prayer, meditation, embrace, air in my lungs, feet on the pavement, I will too.

K2, the second highest and arguably deadliest mountain in the world.


February 27 | Burden



These few lines came to mind when I read the word for today:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(Emma Lazarus, 1883)

And also these verses:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

(Matthew 11:29-30, NASB)

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to determine the best person with which to share my burdens. Of course, my husband is one of those people. I have close friends and family members with whom I share burdens as well, and they are happy to help me carry them.

But I end up putting my burden-sharers on pedestals of expectation. I await responses in the form of calls or text messages, and get disappointed when they’re busy with other aspects of their lives, because how dare they not be able to help me every time I need help.

I know this isn’t healthy to expect so much from people. It’s good to have relationship with others, but there is only one Person who can perfectly share our burdens and perpetually make them lighter to carry.

Something interesting about the verses above is that Jesus didn’t promise us that we wouldn’t have burdens and loads to carry. But He did say that with His yoke, they would be easier to handle. That speaks volumes to me, and brings me peace in this life, which can often be grief-stricken.

I think something I can do better is first going to Jesus when I have a burden I can’t carry on my own… or for that matter, with any burden. And then, if it edifies or blesses another person, I can ask them to also help me.

“For Thou hast been my help, And in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Three; Thy right hand upholds me.”

(Psalm 63:7-8, NASB)