The morning dawns with a sense of sadness. The alarm sounds with a shrill reminder that there are numerous things that have to happen within the next hour to make the day go. There is a quiet emptiness to the house as I pad to the kitchen to start the coffee, turn on the news, pack the lunch. Staring through the haziness of sleep filled eyes, realizing there is one less mouth to feed today. Inside two weeks we have said goodbye to a cat and admitted the dog we adopted was not a good fit for our family. And, so our house is pet-less and though there is a small sense of freedom in that reality; there is also a deep, deep sadness. Stacked upon all the other emotions currently swirling through this house, this thought is predominate – today is a day to survive. I wake the child with forced enthusiasm – no reason for her to start her day with the same unfortunate attitude as her mother. “Good morning, sunshine! Today is going to be a great day!” Survive and Advance.
The disappointment of unmet expectations looms large. Why is truth so hard to acknowledge? Facts are stubborn things. The sky is blue. The earth is round. Buttered bread will always fall buttered side down when dropped to the floor. All accept these truths, so why is it equally obvious things are so hard to acknowledge? This WAS said. That WAS done. You DID this. I DID that. The simplicity of the truth is so much less complicated than the convolution of manufactured reality. How to move past disappointment in the lack of transparency and honesty? Survive and Advance.
There is a hollowness to this time of year. It lurks at the edges of the season. Through the multiple lists of things to do, buy, attend, enjoy – something is missing. Someone is missing. The dimpled smile. The wheezy laugh. The quirk of an eyebrow over a particularity awful Christmas song rendition. The long, wisdom filled talks over strong, hot coffee. The constant complaints over frozen toes. The arguments over the appropriate time to open gifts. Someone is missing. His place is never filled. Through the intention to find fullness in what remains, there is an undeniable hole. How to find the balance between joy and pain? Survive and Advance.
No words come when staring at the screen. This was supposed to be the thing to do next – a new season to fulfill something that had been bubbling for an entire life. Why can’t what I know I want to do become what I am doing? The noise of everything else beckons and the words that were supposed to be strung together to be something that could be bound between a cover of my own fly away and weeks go by without a key being struck. Thoughts and ideas for the next attempt fly through the mind while driving to and from wherever are forgotten when the quietness comes and the decision for what is to be done next is made; and so the computer remains off and the sense of self-judgement remains and increases. Why bother to write when you haven’t in so long? Survive and Advance.
Survive and Advance. The phrase isn’t original. Obviously it comes from a basketball team in the 80’s. I don’t play basketball. I don’t play anything. I’m the dictionary definition of nonathletic. I do watch a lot of sports documentaries and the title of one I recently watched jumped out at me – THIS is it for me right now. Survive and Advance. Don’t give up, don’t ever give up! Do the next thing. Survive and Advance. Some days you don’t get over it; you just get through it. Some days a made bed and brushed teeth are the one inch of advancement that were achieved. Survive and Advance. Some days massive strides in molding the young life entrusted to me are made. Some days there is a sense of accomplishment when my head hits the pillow. Some days I’m a really good wife. Some days I am a thoroughly unlikable person. Some days there is sincere rejoicing in a day that was survived. Advancing will have to wait until tomorrow. But still we try. Still we strive. Still we continue to pull through the mud and take the next step. Survive and Advance. Towards what? That changes. But still we go on; because the alternative is so much more devastating than the current struggle. Survive and Advance.