So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time and moments – about how much we (or at least I) cling to the importance of conceptualizing, or maybe compartmentalizing, our lives into bits and pieces that make sense to us.   In some ways, it’s as if we’re obsessed with the notion of breaking our lives into defining moments and structures – “I’m 35 years old.”  “I’m married.”  “According to my calendar, I’m busy next week.”  “I’m happy . . . sad . . .”  and on and on and on.  Yes, we are all these things, and yet we are so much more.   These are not places and spaces that hold over time, these are simply parts of the larger fluidity of life.

I’ve noticed this particularly in my life over the past few months, as I’ve sat in, and through, so many moments that have made up this personal journey called grief.   I have watched, almost as an outside observer of myself, becoming so attached to each instance, as if it would now define who and what I was forever.   With each passing feeling, I would find myself scared of becoming all that it was embodying in me – when I was sad, I worried that I would sink into a deep depression; when I was angry, I grew concerned that I would face the rest of my life with a bitter edge, and when I was happy, I felt troubled about forgetting what I had lost.

So there it was – the fluidity of life.   None of these states of being were actually solid structures meant to be partitioned off and identified fully with; they were small (and albeit, sometimes large) experiences – moments of my life that came and went.  Like waves on a sandy beach, they flowed back and forth, creating and adding to the story that is my life.

As I sat with this realization, I recalled a poem that I had written several years ago – words that I believe try to capture this concept of fluidity in life:

Sunlight and Shadows

Sunlight and shadows mark time

as the wildflowers dance

in the wind

where innocence and joy

arrive

as a baby cries out

my heart melts

when a moment is gone

too soon

and tears fall

like rain on my soul

that blossoms anew

with hopes

of tenderness and love

felt deeply

across ocean and seas

where waves collapse

against regret

of lives spent

and experiences lost

in canyons

that echo silently

the anger

of generations long gone

and disappointments felt

so hard

for this life

sometimes brings peace

in the midst of the storm

that brings

sunlight and shadows that mark time

as the wildflowers dance

in the wind

 

When I read this piece out loud at a writing seminar one day, someone commented that if you held the paper sideways the words created what looked like rolling waves – how appropriate.   And what a lovely reminder for me that life is in constant motion.  Storms will come, and storms will go.   In between those moments, the fluidity of life can be embraced for all it is and all it will be.

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