31 August 2017

Sometimes, the most I can do is nothing.

As I have no god to plead to for mercy, I depend on human kindness and medicines. Once again, this fact leaves me dumbfounded most of the time. At night, I am woken by one or more of these: my rumbling intestines or bloated stomach, aching finger joints, dull throbbing sinusitis, the taste of bleeding gum tissue, my angry bladder, confusing thoughts, dreams too complicated and possibly too frightening to remember, a cackling bird, the binmen clanging the gates along the street, the tinny whirr from the headset of the newspaper delivery guy, gentle male snoring.

At night, my world goes through hard times, but I am only vaguely aware of it, while I carefully hold on to whatever remnants of dozing, sleepiness I can grasp, breathing slowly, relaxing my fingers and toes, anything to soften the full onslaught of whatever is out of tune, waiting to hit me, to push me over the cliff.

And then I wake and the daylight is soft and pink. The garden is wet with shiny dew, a flock of rose-ringed parakeets noisily breakfasting in the branches of the tall hornbeam.
I run my hand through a bowl of ripe greengages, each a sphere of sunlight and sweetness, testing for the softest, the most perfect one. All of summer is in that fruit, that shape, that colour, that taste. My daylight world is calm, I am in a safe, good place. Wonderful things are happening in my family. Love is all around.

Tomorrow, I will get up much earlier, to give myself time to prepare for a meeting to discuss my future as a working person, someone I want to remain but who I may no longer be and who the big important boss wants to be gone. I can already taste the bitter anger at the back of my throat when I think of facing him. But I know that this is not the way to do it. He has no power. I am protected, not only by labour laws but by being confident and alive.

That's the great challenge of my life, without promise of solution, the insight that I need all my strength to be weak. 


am said...

"He has no power. I am protected, not only by labour laws but by being confident and alive.

That's the great challenge of my life, without promise of solution, the insight that I need all my strength to be weak."

There is a mysterious and graceful power you carry in your weakness, Sabine.

Maybe you would like the book I just read by Sherman Alexie. It's called You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir. I think he would find a kindred spirit in you. He identifies as an atheist who believes in grace. That's something like mercy. Not quite the same. He wrote a poem called "Hymn" where there are these words:

"I'm an atheist who believes in grace if not in God."

I've experienced the fierce grace that Ram Dass spoke of after his stroke. I'm not religious but I am curious. I know that Martin Luther King, Jr., experienced the mercy of God:


Of course, I can hear something stored in my mind from Bob Dylan, "... To each his own, it's all unknown."

Sending love to you, as always. Thank you for talking about the whole picture. The illness and the love you feel and the beauty you experience along with both.

Ms. Moon said...

You have reminded me that I need to write a post about all of the good here in my life. About the sweet richness of it even as so much is imperfect.
If we do not hold these jewels of summer and light in loving regard, what is the point?

Elizabeth said...

Yes to all of this. And this line: At night, my world goes through hard times,..."

Colette said...

Best of luck tomorrow. As always, I hope for the best for you.

Anonymous said...

There is something about the night when we are awake, knowing we should be asleep, but our bodies and minds struggle in the dark with pain of every kind. Those are the longest hours. In the day, every moment might have its delicious bright revelations and those are the antidotes in every way.

37paddington said...

Thinking of you.

Steve Reed said...

I hope your meeting goes well. It must help to know that the law is on your side! For what it's worth, and not to minimize your experiences, I think everyone's world seems darker in the middle of the night. (Obviously I don't mean just literally!) Let us know how things go, and keep enjoying your greengages!

Roderick Robinson said...

You mention being an agnostic in your profile. Do the hard times test this in any way?

molly said...

The universe has already blessed you with grace in the way you handle all the bad stuff it has handed to you, and in your keen observations of the beauty around you

My life so far said...

"That's the great challenge of my life, without promise of solution, the insight that I need all my strength to be weak."

Lovely and so true. That is the great challenge to accept what is.

Sabine said...

Thank you for the recommendation, I will look for this book.

Sabine said...

But Mary, you are always writing about the good in your life. One way or another. I read your blog to read about the good in life.

Sabine said...

No. I am with Adorno on this one, namely that objective happiness as well as objective despair cannot be experienced and in fact will remain illusionary if I hand over responsibility and autonomy to some outside institution, be it imaginary or material.