Friday, January 4, 2013

The not knowing

I am sad this morning. I know the feeling so intimately, it comes in cycles, rising to make itself felt, dipping away again, hiding out for a while. It is gray outside. A gray outside Friday morning, dark inside my house, my children still asleep, my husband already gone to work, and I sit here trying to touch the sadness, to hold it close and make it my friend. I am tired of fighting the sadness, tired of trying to make it a stranger who arrives uninvited. This sadness lives in me. It is mine to embrace when to rises into view, mine to welcome as a guest who comes to tell me that there are things that matter deeply, and of course you will be sad when you have to say goodbye to your children yet again. This is your life now. They come and then they go again. You wrap them in your arms while they are near and you wrap them in your petitions when they go. My son is here for one more day. He leaves tomorrow to spend the weekend with a friend. Then he is back for less than a day before he leaves again for his final semester of college. After that, who knows? We will see.

And that is another thing I will no longer do battle with: the not knowing. I am endeavoring to become comfortable with not knowing what comes next, with letting events unfold and trusting I will be able to manage, not fearing the blindside. Trusting my husband and my children to manage too. Trusting them not to be broken by sadness or made fearful by change or unmoored by joy, trusting myself and trusting them to hold nothing back and not resist the unforeseen. When in my life did I decide that the unforeseen was dangerous? Such goodness and possibility comes around that corner, too.

This year, no matter the rise and fall of the wheel, no matter the sad days and the welcome and unwelcome surprises and the incessant whir of my brain, I am going to dare to let down my guard, knowing that there is nothing one can fully prepare for ahead of time, you just do your best and keep on living. I am so exhausted from bracing all the time for the worst I can imagine. The worst never comes. Because whatever comes, we don't spend time evaluating whether this is the worst of it, or even whether this is the best of it. Instead, we square our feet and get busy living it. There is no other way.


  1. This is such a beautiful essay. And it truly is an essay, Angella, on sadness and on the unknown and learning to, if not embrace them, to accept them as they come, as they are.
    We truly are sisters in some way, you and I. We both struggle and we both see the struggle and we both know that life would be so much easier without the struggle and we know that the struggle really serves no purpose.
    I am sitting here right now, thinking of you, of your words and your life and your children and your husband and your struggles and suddenly, a ray of light just very briefly shot through the clouds and you are that for me. That ray of light which for a moment illuminates everything.
    I am grateful for the light which you are. Always.

    1. ah, mary, thank you. because you are exactly that for me. love.

  2. What Sister Moon said.

    Hugs to you both.

  3. You said it well. I wonder why, when my life has been so good and so unawful that I still wait/expect the worst? Such a waste. My sister says meditation really helps. i should try at least.

  4. Ah, that Black Dog Of Depression. He hangs around my house a lot. Too much. I think there is some truth to staring him down, looking him in the eye and holding him close but it seems so much easier to hide under the covers and hopes he has gone away when you peek out.
    One thing I have learned since my mom died is it is OK to not be OK. I think we are coming to a place of enlightenment when we grasp sadness and depression but the shirt collar and yell, "You want a piece of me? You want a piece of me?"
    Hang in the girlie...

  5. My first thought was that I was reading something from my own thoughts, my own soul, that you were kin in some deep and basic way. This descent of sadness and the willful lifting of it -- the sigh of age and the relentless moving forward. And always the light, however tiny.

  6. You sound like you are on your way to a beautiful year, whatever shape it takes. I think embracing these parts of ourselves is important - they are the parts that need our own kindness more than anything. xo

  7. I agree with Ms. Moon. I too am grateful for the light that you are! Amazing post! You are very wise.

  8. I can't really speak to the Black Dog, but as far as my girl going back to college, I try to revel in her happiness. We are lucky in that she ended up at a college and in a city that truly fits her personality. She absolutely loves where she is and what she is studying; it is a joy to watch her wings spreading and her confidence soaring, and I have to remind myself that this is what I raised her to do.

  9. The winter blues abound don't they. You wrote this so well - it somehow transformed - till sadness became sort of beautiful. A thing separate to admire. Leaving space for the antidote.

    Your kids will return, tenfold. Meanwhile, enjoy the peace, indulge yourself.

    love d