January 18, 1981
May 29, 2003
June 29, 2003
Dec. 4, 2003
Nov. 18, 2004
Feb. 22, 2005
Mar. 7, 2005
July 19, 2005
Sept. 7, 2005
Mar. 12, 2006
“I once set out from a dark point, the Womb, and now I proceed to another dark point, the Tomb….We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.
I have one longing only: to grasp what is hidden behind appearances, to ferretout that mystery which brings me to birth and then kills me, to discover if behind the visible and unceasing stream of the world an invisible and immutable presence is hiding. –Nikos Kazantzakis
Today in a journalling exercise, I found myself listing important events in my life. For whatever reason, I wrote each with it’s respective date or timeframe.
The important part of the exercise was seeing further than the days and events themselves into how they formed me… and how I found God at work.
Partly because I was in a rushed small group training session at the time, and our beloved leader was crunched on time and answering questions throughout the exercise, I didn’t get to that second part. So… I just sat there and studied the dates that were lined up.
They strike me, for some reason, all lined up like that. Mostly because… all lined up like that they are only days on a calendar–and most of them, calendars that we are entirely done with.
But they weren’t that for me. They never were. Those number and month alignments represented things that were happening to me. Big things. College. Marriage. Beginnings of Journeys. Birth. Death.
Even listing those words gives no sense of what all of those things that began or ended on those dates really did to me…. the changes that happened within me…. the way my world, my mind, my spirit, my character was altered dramatically. These dates are hallmarks in my ‘luminous interlude.’ They’re little remembrance rocks set down along the path of my life to mark these brief moments of being made.
I can remember giving birth to Little Miss in a room that didn’t have a window. I figured there was a practical reason that it didn’t…. for privacy and what not. But I really wanted to look outside, and still somehow feel connected to what was happening. Inside my little room the miracle of life was happening. My life was being re-formed. Her life outside the womb was beginning. I was becoming a new person–a mother! She was entering the world…. I mean–entering the world!
But I kept thinking (in some subconscious way outside of trying to live through the contractions and pushing and finally laying my eyes on her)…. Kids are at school today. Guys (and gals) are working in Husband’s shop. News events are happening. Things are moving and happening just like normal except in this little room where the world has stopped and has closed in around the happening of Little Miss’s entrance into the world.
It was the same sort of feeling the day that Mom died, and the days around it. Those last few days, my world stopped. There was nothing but being with my mother. Holding her hand. Trying to make her comfortable. Doing anything I could to take care of her.
And then she was gone…. And people didn’t just know it. I had to tell them. Dad had to tell them. My world stopped. My world as I knew it ended. And it began again. World with Mom. World without Mom. All in one moment. All in one day. But no one else’s really did…. Outside that little room in our house everything looked pretty much the same. Andy and Carolyn and I went to a park later in the day after the horror of the morning, because I had an intense desire to do something life related. We walked by people and they couldn’t just look at me and see that the worst thing that had ever happened in my life had happened that morning at 5:35. And they walked on. And I walked on.
I have these dates all stacked up that represent things like that. Events that made me Val.
And the thing that gets me, when I’m looking at those dates is that everyone else has their own stack…. and with some exceptions for the people in my life–on their days *I* just went on. *I* was oblivious.
Before our training session began a woman told a joke. One of her husband’s jokes. While doing so, she smiled the kind of smile I’ve become familiar with and explained that her husband’s birthday had been yesterday–her husband who passed away–and she’d gone out to dinner in celebration of him, and she and others who cared about her and him told the stories that he used to tell. Yesterday was one of her days.
I don’t know what it is that has me sitting and revering this whole idea of dates. Except that if I can go through one of my days with most of the world not even knowing it…. then that means that at any moment, any person around me could be in the midst of one of theirs–either THE day, or the anniversary of it.
And that makes me remember that people are more than their surface, just like days are more than blocks on a calendar.
And somehow… it seems there is holiness in that.
So…. what are your days?