They say “comparison is the thief of joy.”
They say “Take your time.”
They say “What’s next?”
They say “I am so happy to see you. I am so sorry. I am here if you need me.”
They say “the heart finds a way.” They say that too.
I am here, which is to say; no where and everywhere. Feeling both the familiar and the new. My feet dig into sand below and glimpse the Grand Canyon from above. I asked the greatness that was all around me if I was doing this right at all. They stood silent. They said nothing. Those mountains covered in snow, and lakes reflecting the sky, and trees brushing the heavens, and deserts painted with color. They were large and I was small. They stood rooted and reaching. And so do I. I know there’s no way to know these answers until it’s over. And when I say that I mean on my deathbed 90 years from now which would, in fact, make me a ripe 120 years old.
I turn 30 in less than a month and every year I stretch just a little closer to who I’ve always wanted to be. As every Birthday comes, I let go of the last year like a balloon with no mourning or sadness of getting older. It sails upward and is gone and I am happy to see it go.
But this year, this exhausting, blood-letting, exciting, life-changing year-I thought I could get a response from all the things I know won’t speak. I asked anyway. I ask every day.
I say “Are you out there?”
I say “Is this how it goes?”
I say “Is this the right way?”
I say “Will you help me?”
I say “Will you show me a sign?”
And though there are no words, there are moments of knowing; so fleeting and delicate, the flicker of a candle, I almost miss them. Almost.
A shudder of light responds: “Do not be afraid.”
It says. “You are stronger than your grief.”
It says. “You are bigger than this patch of hard road.”
It says “You will never be the same, you will never unring these bells, the hurt will always echo but so will the lessons. Learn them, see the signs, know better next time. Your heart is not ruined. And neither are you. You are just taking the long way home.” There is comfort in that. They say.
I say. There is comfort in that. And joy.
Comfort and joy.