The last few weeks have been filled with tragedy upon tragedy causing my Facebook feed to fill with expressions of exhaustion, pain, and grief. It is easy to lose faith in humanity; to feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness. I’ve even seen many post about questioning bringing a child into a world so dark.
And there is much in this world that is senseless, violent, and cruel. And one would be naive to think that our world will cease to oftentimes exist in that senselessness, violence and cruelty.
But I don’t believe in coincidences, and there is much around me that reminds me of the good in people, in the miracle of friendship (as a good friend put it), and the beauty even in suffering and in death.
So to all out there who are having a hard time seeing the world without a lens of hopelessness, I offer this.
This morning I awoke with an unshakeable sense of loneliness. Perhaps it was because I spent the better part of yesterday with my wonderful mother and through the laughter and love that we always share when we’re together, we also cried for my stepfather who passed very recently. I think in being strong for her, my body has shut down my ability to mourn and today I wept for him as if I hadn’t cried in years.
And then a friend reached out to me. He shared some beautiful words about friendship and just wanted to remind me that I was loved. That was it. He had no idea that I had been in such pain just minutes before but somehow that message got to me when I most needed it and when I least expected it.
Friendship is indeed a miracle. Romantic love may come and go, but to those in my life who have spent years forging bonds with me, who have pulled me out of the depths of sadness during the hardest times in my life, who have stood by even when I was miserable company-know that I would not be who I am without you, and that the kindness and love you have shown for me never goes unnoticed.
Life can indeed be absolutely unbearable. Some days getting out of bed seems impossible. But every time I have those days, somehow by magic or intuition or God or everything, I am reminded that I am loved and worthy of love.
Because on those days, I’ll get a handwritten letter in my mailbox expressing condolences for my stepfather’s death with a note to listen to a certain song that couldn’t be any more a perfect antidote for what I’d been feeling that day.
On those days I’ll get an email from a former student telling me that he had an operation on his heart, that he’s cured of this rare condition, and had I not had faith in him, he never would have graduated and has decided to become a teacher.
On those days, I’ll go out for a drink with a friend and end up crying over shared tragedy, love, and loss and by the end of the night, we’re fighting over who loves the other more.
On those days, I’ll get a text message from my mom letting me know that the roads are really icy and that I should be extra careful and I’m reminded that even at 36, she will always be my mom and loves me so much that she couldn’t let the day pass without warning me about dangerous weather conditions.
On those days, a friend will come over and we’ll end up singing together and it’s beautiful and wonderful and perfect.
Yes. There will be many dark days to come in my own life and throughout our wild existences. But there is so much love. There is so much light. None of this is to trivialize the events of the past few weeks, months, years–all the acts that make us question if this world is really worth fighting for. But it’s impossible for me to see the love in my own life and in so many cracks and crevices and moments all around me and not be comforted by that.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to live so long without losing someone and I’m still navigating the process less than gracefully. But as a good friend who recently lost a loved one who was very close to him reminded me regarding the loss of my father and in terms of my heartbreaking sense of isolation this morning said, “Let his passing remind you of all that he would want for you–forgiveness first and foremost, and celebration. You will still get to live with him. In some ways more profoundly then when he was here. I can’t explain that. I am more skeptical about all of that, but I can tell you as I walked home from a stupid race in tears yesterday, it was because I was sharing a moment with my uncle that was real. You will feel that too.”
I have friends who say things like that. Who with the power of words can bring calm and perspective and peace in a matter of moments. For that I am so grateful.
Like every piece I write, this is probably more for me than anyone else, but I am forever an optimist, an idealist, a dreamer, and do believe love will always win. Call me naive. Call me hopelessly optimistic. Seeing love gets me through the day. Feeling love and allowing myself to be loved makes me push harder to work to live in a better world. Today, I don’t feel hopelessly alone, isolated, and disconnected anymore. Today, I will be ok. In the end, I believe we will all be ok.