I wanted to write an end-of-the-year type thing full of love and joy and happiness, but my heart is still sore from last Friday. I feel, like everyone else, like all the bad things are magnified, and all the good things are lost. But I don’t want to write about last Friday. So many people have expressed sadness and grief much better than I could. I am not a good mourner. I thrash and I throw tantrums. I don’t slowly let things roll over me. I realized I fight it because I am always, always, desperately searching for the why of it. The why can’t always be found.
Except that sometimes I get whispers, not of the why, but of something else. Of good things.
I am trying very, very hard, every single day, to dig out the good things from the dust and hold them close, because life is very much about finding the good things before, during and after the bad things. There are so, so many bad things happening every second of every day, but the amazing thing is that there are a hundred thousand more good things happening. It’s true. Sometimes they’re small things, most of the time they are. But they’re happening. First kisses and hand holding and people laughing until they cry. I don’t want to lose them under the dust. I don’t want my heart to crack open and break into little tiny pieces that can’t be put back together again.
But the truth is, I know my heart can’t break like that. I know I can always put it back together, even if maybe some pieces get lost, and I know you know that too. I know every one of you has been through something that breaks you into millions of pieces, lost children, lost parents, lost jobs, lost loves. And look, look at you. You put yourself back together and made something beautiful out of it all. It feels a little bit like how the earth is put together–bunches of cracked pieces put together to make a whole, teeming, swarming planet. Everything has cracks, everything will continue to crack, and then heal again. That, for me, is grace.
Grace is here, helping me bake cookies and watch my kids’ Christmas concert and laugh and write unfunny jokes and write holiday cards. Grace is sitting on my shoulder like a gift telling me that the beauty of good things being lost is finding them again, and again, and again.
So there it is, I remember. The simple joy of eating chicken pot pie or holding my kids’ hands on the way home from school or oh my god, don’t laugh, vacuuming. Vacuuming up the dust and making things new again. Or kissing my husband’s beard or running six miles. These are little tiny pieces of joy I keep finding. It’s keeping me going.
My heartache isn’t that big today, I know, but one day it will be big again. Something else will happen. It is inevitable with life, and unbearable. Why live just to die? Why love when you know you’ll lose someone eventually? Because the good outweighs that bad. That’s why. That’s always why. Love is worth the loss. It always is. If I were to lose my kids today, I wouldn’t have wished I never knew them. Not for one second. Of course not. Every single minute would be worth it. That’s the why.
Tomorrow might be the end of the world. It will certainly be the end of the world for some people, at least. It always is that way. The only thing I know how to do is to keep looking at the innumerable cracks all over me, all over you, all over the earth, and seeing how it doesn’t stop us from being whole. Not ever, no matter what, because joy and love and happiness will always win in the end, even if it takes its time getting here.