Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Green valleys

Photo courtesy of Raman Sharma

One evening last week I put ear drops in before going to bed. I couldn't really hear anything because my one ear was muffled into my pillow and my other ear was pointing at the ceiling but full of liquid.

Then, because of my plugged up ear, I heard the sound of my heart beating. I guess my hearing turned inwards - I could hear it so clearly.

And suddenly I was overwhelmed by my own fragility. That's my heart, I thought, it's the organ keeping me alive.

And I got a terrible feeling in my stomach - a dread of dying. Like, it could happen in a moment. My heart could just stop. Then Ben crawled into bed and I told him I was in this strange panic. I was suddenly afraid to die. Did that mean my faith wasn't strong? He just cuddled me and giggled and I was so half asleep and he told me everyone feels that way sometimes. So I fell asleep.

I woke up the next morning singing.

I read more of The Sentimentalists on the bus and wondered if the book was why my thinking was so philosophical and fragile. I was reading the part about the Vietnam War and how the main character, Napoleon, wished he would be shot in the leg and he was. He was shot in the leg. So he thought he had some strange ability to think things into being. Then, unfortunately, because of the terrible circumstances he was in, he wished he could be dead. But it didn't work - he kept on living. And as I read about Napoleon, I thought, life's just as strong and persistent and miraculous as it is fragile and vulnerable.

I wonder if this is why I haven't blogged lately: when I look inward my thoughts feel a bit too philosophical and serious. Like, I've been thinking about sickness and death and infertility and thoughts that aren't rosy and there aren't super easy, shallow answers. But that's when I should be blogging, right?

A while ago, on a Sunday morning, Lesley said not to be afraid of the valleys. Because valleys are full of water and greenery and life. And so much growth comes out of the valleys (this is totally a paraphrase).

The funny thing is that while I've been thinking about sickness and death and infertility, my life - the real one going on outside my thoughts - is full of health and life and fertility. It's a perspective thing.

So I choose to be brave in this life. To see the persistent and miraculous here, today.... whether in the valleys or the mountains or all those other crazy places in between.

Yay life.


wonder wilks said...

this is so beautifully written & incredibly insightful. i just love reading your work. you have been missed. :)

Pat and Ali said...

Mary, thank you for sharing. The vulnerability you shared in this entry let's us see that your heart is anything but fragile.

Rachael said...

Wow.. Mary, I love the part about life being simultaneously fragile & strong. How true! It can end in an instant, or persevere through the toughest of circumstances. I could think about that for days... thanks for being unafraid to post something so un-shallow.

Mary said...

Thanks for the comments, friends. It seems this is what I do - put myself out there vulnerably. It works - I think it speaks to people.