I hear the birds chirping out the window and I can't help think about Spring even though it is still February. And I wonder if they know it's still early to get out their whistles and happy sounds... because even though I long for the fresh bloom of green I dread another snow could be coming.
I have always loved winter. January has long been a time of rest and hibernation. I've felt the comfort of grey and cold an opportunity to live a little deeper, to think a little more or less and recharge from the pull of activity that summer brings. But
not this year. This year I made no attempt at resolutions, I don't even remember new years eve, and I have had no great usual surge towards life. There was no end to 2012 and beginning to 2013- it has been a long run-on sentence with constant similarities of hardship.
I can remember the time my heart ached the strongest that took years to recover. It was from the rejection and abandonment of a boy who flew across the country with no resolution or words- just harshness, blame, silence and his blonde girlfriend. The details aren't important- but what I remember is the ache. I flew to England to live 40 days in a warehouse with similar strangers and experience the strangeness of community and the estrangement of loneliness among them, but really I went there to recover.
I remember the pale blue, daisy-printed sheets that my dried-out eyes were pressed to every morning, and the blur of waking up foreignly only to realize the ache had followed through the night and was still weighing with the sun's new day. And I remember Madonna, a dark-haired girl from Egypt who talked a lot, who slept across from me a few feet away. I remember her voice asking me if something was wrong with me- and the sheer energy it took to explain my story was more than I had to give- so often I would scowl and shrug and try not to hate her optimistic, bubbling Egyptian self.
I would take walks on the English country-side where I found a piano in the belly of a mysterious stone church that always had an unlocked door. And it was there that I would lean my head against the wooden panel where the sheet music went and play chords and melodies and let my eyes drain on the ivory notes underneath me.
I drank tea with lots of cream and sugar every morning and sat with a journal and tried to connect with God, with myself with hope... and I always worried about my weight with my influx of cream and sugar three times a day.
Some days, Madonna would have to talk me out of bed and tell me I was wasting away by being depressed. I would stay up late and call America hoping to find a resolution on the other end of the line, but often would end up sitting underneath the phone trying to imagine myself standing up and walking in hopes my body would follow.
And the ache was deep, the loss was greater and the rejection was greatest. And it took years to recover. It took many long walks and pathetic diary scribing, cake & wine, 3AM painting sessions, laying on the floor watching the ceiling fan in hopes the holy spirit would breathe into my shell and revive me again.
Even though it took lots of time after England to recover... I began to notice something. In the midst of the ache, the field walks and garden leisure, the belted songs landing against those chapel walls; something was happening. I started to wake up early- earlier than I had to. My journals became books, my paintings became colorful and I wrote the best and only completed song of my life- Even The Weeping Willows.
And the personhood of what I knew about God transcended life-support to friend, walking partner, tea date and night cap.
So even though the pain still throbbed somewhere between my ribs and chest and some days I needed Madonna to shake me awake, I gained a friend who didn't completely remove the ache but showed me the treasure of companionship and the beauty of a person to sleep next to when hardship is the only partner.
I asked God recently in anger why, in the story about Jesus and friends on the boat, where the sea was storming and raging, he seemed to get mad that they didn't trust him in spite of the circumstances. Didn't Jesus know that sometimes things don't work out even when he is around? Didn't Jesus know that it's scary as hell to be in a sinking boat being slammed by waves and it didn't really seem like they were going to make it and he was taking a nap? And so in this ongoing discussion I told God I was mad at him. I thought he was insensitive to expect his disciples to not worry or just "have faith." And I am irritated as I am these days when people try to poorly teach lessons of God, that the message in this story has always been, "just have faith". Which obviously this story is about me and my life.
But one night recently before I fell asleep- in my nightly conversation, rambling or late thinking I started to drift off and quietly I felt the whisper say, "I'm not mad that you don't trust me in the midst of your storm, I just wanted you to crawl up next to me in the middle of it."