Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Cup

  "... I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.
   In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you. But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile."
--Little Bee by Chris Cleave

* * * * *

My heart is like a leaky faucet. Drip, drip, drip. 

I go about my business. Off to work, summer camp drop offs and pick ups, groceries, laundry, make breakfasts, pack lunches, prepare dinners. Rinse, repeat. All the while my heart is leaking blood, dripping out one drop at a time. Sometimes I hardly notice. Sometimes I don't notice at all. Drip, drip, drip.

All this dripping comes with a familiar ache. It's not enough of an Ow! to stop me in my tracks, so I carry on. And on and on. Until one day I have to stop. To stop and look in the mirror and ask myself when all the blood drained from my face.

Call the plumber. It's time to patch up the pipes, tighten the handles, clear the drain. Time for the drip, drip, drip to dry up. Time for the heart to gather its own blood back to itself. Time to listen to the ache and stop going about my business while my heart bleeds out.

* * * * *

I have been balancing a precarious cup of grief in my hands. I've been doing my best to contain it, but it keeps spilling over when I bump into people and things that give me a bit of a jolt. Sometimes it spills over even when I'm standing still.

The filling up of this cup - every circumstance that has caused my heart to drip, drip, drip - has cost me something, so I don't want to waste even a single drop. I want to pour it over my head. I want to bring it to my lips and drink it down. I want to ingest the sacred contents of that cup of grief - the result of some magic alchemy that transforms the hard into the deep - and be cleansed by its salty, healing waters. It's what I need. My own unique healing balm.

It is another way to remember that I am not The-Woman-Who-Lost. I am The-Woman-Who-Is-Found-And-Continues-To-Be-Found. That is what is inscribed inside that cup, you see. I have to keep drinking it down until the light hits the bottom and illuminates the words my heart needs to read.

"It's the kind of name that starts off heavy but ends up light ... 
In this moment I very nearly named myself back to life."
--Little Bee by Chris Cleave