Monday, December 17, 2012
Season of Darkness
This is a season of darkness. Night barely gives day a chance to speak, and even then the skies are thick with rain-dense clouds. Terrible things are born in the deep shadows, then burst forth into the light before being consumed completely by their own black hearts.
Two years ago today, my adult daughter was overcome by her own inner darkness, unable to believe that light could break through. Many days now I don't think of her at all. But when I do, the thing that strikes me over and over again is the permanence of her death. There will be no more chances for her, for us, for a different sort of future.
On this unwanted anniversary I think about the other members of this club who helped me find my way in the earlier days of grieving. I know they mark their own anniversaries in a variety of ways. I know we've all learned to live and love though hearts exploded and tender and healing. I know the ending of our children's lives was just the beginning of a whole new landscape of endings for us.
The club grew by a significant number last week in a public and horrifying way.
This is also a season of hope. In a few days the Christian world celebrates the birth of a baby whose presence is a promise to defeat darkness forever. A birth symbolized by a shining star, one brilliant diamond of light in a night sky. A birth so threatening to the forces of darkness that great efforts were made to extinguish the light of that babe before he had a chance to become. Yet become he did.
In these last weeks as I've rested and healed, time has stretched long before me. Without the day-to-day to distract, and in the midst of gray gray hours, sparks that fill existence frequently unnoticed seem to be showering down:
A hundred Pine Siskins filling the air with fairy music, flurries of feathers, and flashes of sunlight embedded in their wings. Tame. Fearless. One so close I might have reached out to touch.
A Bald Eagle flying low and close, the first I've seen in months.
The kindness of friends willing to take time out of busy lives to make mine easier in a myriad of ways.
An owl duet in the pre-dawn.
Lilac buds, tight and green and full of promise.
A morning with my mom as I made apple butter, using her recipe, my house filled with the perfume of cinnamon and cloves and forgiveness. I'm sorry she had to die before I could share my kitchen and my heart comfortably with her. I'm happy that even without her physical presence, it's not too late to learn to love her better.
The pulsing rhythms of drumming class that make music with my heartbeat and chase shadows to the far reaches of awareness.
Packages of heirloom sweet pea seeds, ordered, arrived and now waiting for the season to turn so the dormant life can be buried and then resurrected into fragrant, fragile blooms reaching and twining their way to the sun.
This is a season, too, of unlimited possibility—of choosing to see the sparks. We can reach out to each other in love. We can speak gratitude. We can pray. We can remember that astonishing beauty grows from the deepest darkness.