I don’t know what to write or how to write it. All I know is that I need to write. So instead of continuing the little brokenhearted pity party I’ve been mentally indulging in for the past few days, I’m going to write about the good things. The happy things in my life and the solid ones. I thought maybe I could write the heartbreak out, like drawing poison from a wound, but the more sadness I write, the more I cry. And I am so tired, so tired of crying.
So here they are, these little glimpses. Like shining pieces of sea-glass just scattered on the shore, I pick them up, polish them off, and pocket them merely for the loveliness that is all their own. There are beautiful things in the world, even in my world right now. There is a shiny red bike that just needs new tires. There are my seven siblings who cheer me up and make me laugh each in their own individual ways. I’ve got the funny antics of Henry, who is quickly becoming the most hilarious rattie I’ve ever owned, and my Charlie who just loves to snuggle. I saw a sunset the other day from my apartment window, the sky diffused into shades of pink and yellow, a candy-colored treat of glowing sunlight. I read a poem and the words were perfect. It’s playoff hockey time, with all the guts, glory, and agony you could want. I was chatting with some people at the bar the other night, and it was a witty, lively, amusing conversation. Those are a rare gift at the bar, and plus I made everyone crack up a few times. When I walk out of my door in the morning for work, the foothills of the Appalachians sprawl out in front of me, a rolling line of green and gray that always strikes me with its simple strength. Speaking of trees, I can see one on Public Square from my office window. Just one, because of the way the buildings gap, but it’s a dandy of a tree, lofty and old and grand. I glance at that tree half a hundred times a day, watching the green leaves bloom, and I picture myself climbing it, moving up and up, solid branches under my feet and the bark biting into my palms. Just me, being me in a tree. I walked in a fashion show the other night, for the first time, and it was a close to perfect evening. Bright lights, stage, runway, a crowd, the rhythm of the music as I walked. Modeling in a fashion show is something I’ve wanted to do for years. To have the opportunity to do it with my good friends, with the swimsuits that Jess has worked so hard on, was exactly what I needed. There was a moment backstage. Cathy was curling my hair, and Channing was crimping hers, and Jess and Brittany were laughing nearby and I thought, this. This is right where I want to be, right now. Freeze frame. I know I’m no Gisele (and certainly no Tyra) but one thing I do know is fashion, and how to walk. I owned that runway, and the weirdest, most curious part of the whole night was that I knew I would. After two and a half months of stepping through the shattered pieces of a stranger’s life, I caught a little glimpse of myself when I was a model for an hour.
I’ve been finding beautiful pieces all along. Britt’s photo shoot with me, where I clutched my books to my chest like a life preserver while trying to pull off some high fashion poses, that was a piece of me. Girly nerd. Candlelight at Tenebrae, Callie coming home for Easter, being at Tommyboys after the Vigil Mass with the gang. That was a piece of me. Cooking stir-fry for the best roommates in the world. That time I got a headache and Cathy made fun of me. Taking Ang to Circles for the first time. Visiting Michigan and just lying on the living room couch with Leo snuggled up next to me and Lucy running around. There is pain mixed in with all those pieces, to be sure. Every time I think of Danny, or want to text him, or see pictures online, it hurts all over again. At least once a week, I get into my car after work and automatically grab my phone to call him. Six years of a habit is hard to break. It hurts in my heart. It hurts in my soul. It hurts to think about him, and it hurts to know that I’m better off not thinking about him. That’s the simple truth. But there is another truth in my life, hand-in-hand with the beauty and the sorrow. There is the sure certainty of mercy, the bedrock of faith. A guy at the bar on Saturday night asked me why I go to church. I said Because truth is a rare and beautiful gift. I hear truth in the words of Pope Francis, I see it in the lives of my parents. It is present even in the midst of my desolation. I can’t find God right now. I don’t hear Him, I don’t feel Him, I can’t find Him. Where are the promises? I know them all but I can’t find them in my life. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and the crushed in spirit He saves.” “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” My hands clench when I pray. I can’t even say the 23rd Psalm, that pillar of strength and courage across the Christian world. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Oh, but I do. I want so many things. However, wanting is not truth, and underneath all the misery and silence, I cannot stop believing in what I know to be true.
There is a stained-glass window with an image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd on it, and someone has thrown a rock through it. I stand beneath it, looking up, and the richness of jewels falls gleaming upon my face. No matter what spot I’m in, the light is ruby, sapphire, amethyst, and through the shattered pane, it flows in as liquid gold. I see them there: beauty, truth, and sorrow.