And that's just one tragic event in a sea of tragic events.
In times like these I search for the silver lining. I want so badly to believe that there is a reason for pain and suffering. I seek answers. I look for meaning. And a great many times I come up with nothing.
Last night I had had it emotionally. I'd reached the end of holding myself together and staying strong. I had nothing left to give. After days of not hearing from He Who Is In Personal Crisis, after being completely vulnerable on Wednesday night, I found myself utterly emotionally exhausted. I lay in bed -- angry, sad and scared -- and wondered why things aren't getting better yet. Why he has to go through what he's going through with his mother's cancer; why he is still resentful and angry; why he hasn't turned to me; whether he might be using me; why he would rather spend his weekend with people other than me... I found each of those prospects incredibly depressing, and I couldn't shake the sadness. I did research, looked for comforting and zen quotes from friends on Twitter, and asked the universe/heavens, "Why me?"
Earlier in the day I hadn't felt so dejected. I had seen The Help (which was good, of course, but far inferior to the book), which He and I read last year, back-to-back. The images of Skeeter's mother's cancer had hit me particularly hard onscreen, and I had cried real, unsentimental tears. I had told myself once again that loving him in spite of himself and at such a difficult time may be one of the most important things I ever do. I also had read Saturday's journal entry/epiphany to a friend and, therefore, had felt a little more grounded.
But then one thing set me off. This is what happens: I flail back and forth between two extremes -- wanting so badly to pull him close and beg him to let me in, and feeling angry that he is so self-centered and that his anger, avoidance and resentment (that is, the symptoms of his grief) so deeply affect his relationship with me. I started to think of all the things we've done together in 8+ years and began to fear that I would never be able to do those things again, with him or without him. I couldn't see a way forward. No silver lining could I identify...
And so I sent him a message, trying to be unattached but not detached, letting him know that I was thinking about him. I tried not to hope for a response. But then I received one, and it was far from what I expected. It hurt me at my core, and for the first time in a very, very long time, I cried instantly. Like a hurt child, I cried because the damaged portions of me couldn't help but sob uncontrollably. And then I couldn't get my mind to rest. That may have been the most restless night of sleep I've ever had...
When I woke awoke this morning, then, I was exhausted. I made coffee as soon as I got out of bed, and I tried my best to hurry myself as I got ready, having awoken more than just a few minutes late. I walked outside to what I would have sworn was a gorgeous fall day and then arrived where I catch public transportation. It took me all of three minutes to learn that it was broken. Really, really broken. And so commuting to work this morning resembled something out of Plains, Trains and Automobiles. After two hours and forty-five minutes (that is, almost 4x longer than it normally takes me), I arrived at my office.
That experience may sound horrid -- and I'm not trying to say it was fun, but it was actually a blessing in disguise. After about 8 minutes I realized that the problem was too big for me. It made no sense to fight. Pushing my way to the front of the line wasn't going to make me feel any better, and it also wasn't going to get me there any faster. We were all trapped and then herded like cattle. As such, the trip forced me to go way, way out of the way -- and, in doing so, I ended up in adorable, peaceful and luscious areas of the region that I had never seen. I had hour after hour during the daylight to make peace with things. The entire trip thereby served to calm me down and give me a chance to set my mind at ease, if only temporarily.
So, that was my silver lining: fleeting and not in the ways I might think are particularly "sparkly." Which reminds me of a song my mother and father love entitled, "Blessings." The first two lines of the chorus are: "What if blessings come through raindrops? What if healing comes through tears?" In other words, what if good comes from pain? What if healing comes from that which we would least expect? I'm not saying that's always the case, just that it's worth positing the question, because my horrific commute most certainly was a blessing. I just didn't know it until it ended.