It’s too much.
I tend to do with books what I do with friends - I try to carry on intimate relationships with too many. And then I have to shut myself up in my house and ignore everyone.
I’ve been in a darkness lately. I’m anxious about what’s coming. I’m worried about people, unable to help them. I’m sad about the state of things - the family and friends who live so far away. I’m having trouble coming to terms with the fact that in this one life of mine, I will spend most of it longing to see people I love. So many live so far away. And the work, and the getting up early, and the endlessness, and the constancy, it’s got me feeling drenched, shivering, choking. And I can’t keep up with my own life - with the laundry and the cleaning and the details of existence. I feel like I’m scrambling up a hillside in the pouring rain, slipping, struggling, clinging. And somehow, I’ve been believing that the books are going to give me something to hold on to - something I know is true.
But the lot of it, all the fascinating research on human behavior, all the feminist theory, all the philosophy, it’s not helping.
Everyone is still struggling. Everyone is still hurting. I’m losing control. Well, I never had control. I’m realizing I have no control. And the science backs me up - we’re all just so susceptible to so many things. We don’t even know our own minds. It’s scary and saddening and maddening and leaves me powerless.
So, last night we ate grilled pizza outside, trying to reclaim some family time, separate from the over-scheduling and the overstimulation and the overdoing. The kids ran and danced and twirled and jumped over each other. Marco and I had drinks and watched and laughed and just let go of everything, lost track of time and supposed-tos. It was luxurious and healing. I said to him, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
He said, “It’s about to start pouring.”
I looked up. He was right. The sky was menacing. The sun was setting on the other side of the house, the storm clouds were forming. Darkness was coming, and heavy rain. However, in that exact moment, the light was shining off the leaves in just such a way, hanging on, burning through, lingering. It was so beautiful and sad and illuminating and devastating. The storm was coming. The darkness was coming. But the light was shining off the trees as if to say, “I’m still here even when you cannot see me.”
I’m not going to find any absolutes in any book. I’m not going to stop the rain, the darkness, the suffering, the unbearable weight of life. I can’t climb my way out of the ravine with knowledge or theories or science. Sometimes you just have to stop scrambling, silence the radio, turn off the TV, put the book down, cancel your plans and just sit and look at the last of the light on the trees. Sometimes you have to forget what you’re supposed to do next and just do what you’re doing now.
It’s a gloomy day. The problems are all still there. I’m still completely powerless. But the sun is still shining. That never stopped being true - and it never will.