The pastor at the Easter service I attended spoke clearly and smiled at me from behind his podium. A dog licked my ankle from somewhere under the pew, The Gen raced his cars next to me and hid his eyes when I sang, "He Lives!" (my fav Easter song) to him.
Then, we sat.
The pastor began his sermon. He is small, this guy, and he has a cane. Retired. Salt and pepper hair. He's the kind of guy that can look at you and you know he's smiling at you - even if he's not. His eyes - they're kind.
From his pulpit, he talked about Jesus. He talked about how he suffered and then he spoke the line that has been banging around my head for a few days now ...
"We've all walked through a dark, dark night." He was telling the story we all know. He was telling the story of The Rising.
And at the time ... at the time, I was busy making sure my child didn't eat any. more. chocolate. The pastor spoke those words and my eyes snapped to his. And he wasn't looking at me. He was looking out at the congregation. And you know how sermons go, right? Sometimes, some people pay attention. Sometimes, some people act interested.
There were three dogs walking around. The front door to the church was accidentally left open and I could hear the cars going by. The kids to my right were on phones and the lady behind me kept calling random things out (none of which happened to be amen).
But I heard the words.
We've all walked through a dark, dark night.
Like a deck of cards, memories flipped through. What was my darkest night? Where was I? What was I doing? I'm thirty-four-years-old. Have I experienced it yet? Or, as we get older, do the dark nights shift ... does our top three list change?
Have I walked through it? Have I taken the deep breaths, felt the chill on my skin, heard the howling wind, and clutched at everything - anything that wasn't moving? What did it look like?
But the bigger question? The question that has dogged me for days?
Why can't I remember? Why can't I pin it down?
I mean - there have been some hikes. Brutal hikes.
I opened a glovebox one afternoon and out tumbled Valentine's Day cards from another woman's kids.
I called my brother one afternoon and by the grace of God, my counselor of a sister-in-law answered instead. I spoke the divorce word out loud and she listened.
I was in labor for 24 hours and they were not good hours.
I laid next to a man in the dark one night, as he whispered that he wasn't over The One That Came Before. That he was trying. That he could see the light at the end of the long tunnel, but he wasn't there yet.
There was third grade when mom had breast cancer, and there was tenth grade when mom and dad divorced, and there was eleventh grade when my brother left for a far away college.
There was cancer in my beautiful cousin. Cancer in my loving grandmother. Cancer in my kind step-mom.
There was the time I wrecked my car at a car wash, the time the phone bill was like $400 or something because of Miss Cleo, the psychic, and there was the time Duchess, our family dog, died out in the woods by herself.
There have been other things, too. Small things, maybe. But still ... things:
Junior high track.
An emergency visit because of an errant gallbladder, and I was too sick to remember to wear underwear.
Being picked last every single day of my life in gym.
Just ... not being picked at all.
Life ebbs and flows and all of the cliches are true. There are mountains and valleys and there are hard days and there are beautiful days.
The thing I realized, though? I finally figured it all out. I was on a flight back home from my momma's house and The Gen was curled up and asleep in the seat next to me in a way that he won't be able to do next year at this time, and it came to me:
The shiny, shiny light.
The sparkly kind.
The blinding kind.
The kind that you have to put your hand up in front of your eyes because it actually hurts your retinas or corneas or whatever.
The light on the other side helps you forget the pain of the dark, dark days.
So when the Pastor Whose Name I Don't Even Know looked out to his flock and solemnly proclaimed that yes, we have all lived through dark, dark days, I nodded my head at him.
It was an automatic response.
Because, of course we have.
Deafeningly quiet, these nights seem infinite in length. There's no handrail, no lighted path, not even a freaking map.
But, but, but.
The sun will always rise in the morning.
And with it?
Comes the light.
Do we forget the dark, dark days? Never. Do we forget the conversations, do we forget the events, or do we forget how the scars on the insides of our ribs came to be?
Those notches ... those scars spell out some kind of mantra. Some kind of chant.
There was a rising, they say.
There ... in that one breath of space ... was a rising.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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