|I35W Bridge re-build, after the collapse. Photo by David Ralph Johnson|
I was reading An Imperfect Life by Jodi Hills yesterday. It’s a wonderful little book given to me by my oldest daughter for my birthday – which happened to be yesterday as well. Small in size, it only measures about five inches in both directions; enormous in courage, it measures to infinity and beyond in truth and vulnerability.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been hit by a train,
so forgive me if I’m not sure what to do,
who to call,
or how to act.
I just can’t believe I didn’t hear the whistle,
or see the flashing lights
before I got knocked off the road…
I need to sit here for a bit and catch my breath.
I’m not sure of a lot right now,
but I do know I’m not going to stay with the wreckage,
or carry it with me…
I am going to catch my breath,
and walk on.”
We all have times in our lives when we feel as though we’ve been hit by a train. When the news comes and takes with it every molecule of breath from our lungs. When the world goes silent, and there’s a space that fills our being that is so big, so empty, so void of everything we’ve ever known – all we can do is fall to the ground in its vacuum.
Trains come in all shapes and sizes. Some merely knock us off the track and some change our lives forever. In every case, we have a choice. Not in the size of the train or when it comes, as pain is an inevitable fact of this life, but in our response to our pain, which ultimately determines the duration of our suffering.
I love the honesty of the moment spoken here. “So forgive me if I’m not sure what to do, who to call, or how to act.” I just can’t believe I didn’t see this coming! These are real feelings that speak openly to our vulnerability. No justification, no self-degradation, no blaming, no story line…just the facts.
When we allow ourselves this exposed confession, we keep the space open. We don’t rush to fill it with added debris. We simply sit for a bit until we can catch our breath. It’s only then, in the absence of drama and chaos that we can think in the clarity of reality. That we can proclaim in the midst of our tragedy, “I’m not sure of a lot right now, but I do know I’m not going to stay with the wreckage, or carry it with me…
I’m going to catch my breath,
and walk on.”