Nov 11, 2022 • 2M

Can We Try Something? Part 3

Prompt- the space between endings and beginnings (and a word on surrender)

Episode details

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I still need to learn to be friendly with the space between endings and beginnings. I have survived many of these gaps and find I withstand them in the same restless, heartbroken way. I am a constitutionally hopeful person, but sometimes, when the wave is coming down from its wondrous crest, and you can no longer taste the spray of water on your cheeks, or see arced before you, the sprawling sea glinting in 1 million shades of gray and blue, I can find myself marooned somewhere where time exists as a single clock in the room. Haunting me with every tick and tock of its minutes turning while I, pale and listless, feel confined to a space I don't know how to sit in. All the furniture has blunt, sharp edges, the sounds around me are like muffled, distant things echoing down halls I once loved, and the heart just keeps beating its beat. There is no use for my hands or my feet. My doing serves no purpose here, in this in-between time. This chink in time is what I sometimes lovingly refer to as 'the aching season,' and I don't do it very well.

I have come to learn there is a rebellious child in me that longs to suckle on endless sugar cubes. It takes over sometimes and influences my actions chasing the highs of its life, swinging between aspirations and hopes, between great loves, and annihilating joys with little regard for anything else. To this part of me, life is an endless chasing after and attachment to things it loves, but sometimes, SNAP, the branches it has feverishly been swinging between break, and there, swollen and alone, I find myself arriving in the 'in-between time.' The snapping of the branches can come through abrupt change or disappointment, an unwanted death and broken heart, a circular depleting thought that persists, or just sober admittance that time is limited and running out, and perhaps we are a bit afraid of it ending. My usual mechanisms of transcendence—my writing and prayer— are often flattened by the enormity of the dim light cast from the 'in-between' room.

I remember being in this place years back, sitting daily, blank-eyed, to watch the waning light and cold grip of fall, taking full hold of the field outside my window. The world around me was quiet and resigned, and everything painted the same muted tone, including myself. I couldn't tell where the field ended, and I began. Somewhere in me, I heard a tantrum cry from the little sugar, drunk child as it was denied its next cube. Days were turning into weeks, and still, the grasses were just malting into a paler, more thin version of themselves: no sudden changes, just an incremental emptying of life. Desperation overwhelmed me as my own being mirrored the slow death of the field outside my window. This desperation I have come to know as the beginning of genuine surrender. All parts, kicking and screaming against the tides of change— stop. The parts resisting soberly realize their futile efforts and decide to acquiesce with the hollow and fallow in-between time.

In some way, our surrender is inviting death. Inviting the end of the self that had led me this far. The one I have outgrown. The death of the fields and the crops fattened from my soil and soul. This, the quiet death of things is the 'in-between time.' A time meant for surrender and handing ourselves over to the eerie light of the unknown. One day, in my usual dazed watching of the field, a voice, calm and sharp, came bolting through the melancholy of my surrendered state and said to me: "Dear one, from this empty field, you will see why the flowers still bother to bloom." This voice was proclaiming life and its endless cycle. It said to me, "hush now, you are in the right place."

To connect with the voices that come, like bolts from the blue, to pacify the aching heart as it endures becoming and undoing, you must learn the mystifying art of surrender.

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