when it’s just me
When it’s just the sound of my voice,
in between the distractions,
to remind me
that God is listening,
and occasionally asks,
“What do you have to say for yourself?”
It’s 3:10 am and the dogs have woken me up this morning barking at the east winds that buffet the house. The house creaks more these days, just like my knees. I yell at the dogs and burrow under the warm covers, knowing sleep will not come back this morning. My mind is up and wandering. I give thanks for another day and roll out of bed, surrendering my place beside Teresa. She murmers something unintelligible and annexes my warm spot. She can sleep for ten hours a night. I’d sooner win the lottery than this mind of mine allowing me that kind of slumber.
Fuck you! I want to shout (with a nanosecond of hesitation)
“How did you think it would be?” God said.
“Different than this,” I said.
“Different better, or different worse?” she said.
“Just different,” I said.
“Or better, I guess.”
The questions come abundantly this time of the morning. The answers, not so much. At least, not new answers as I reflect on a conversation with a friend last week. I spoke a brutal truth to him. It surprised both of us and hit him in a vulnerable place.
“I don’t trust you,” I said.
His eyes screamed #backstabbingmotherfucker, though what he said was much more diplomatic.
“I thought I would have more to show for my sacrifices,” I said.
“There are no guarantees,” she said. “But only that which you believe to be true.”
I mimic the refrain in a petulant voice, having heard it many times before.
I can be such an asshole.
“What is it that you want?” she said.
I thought carefully this time. More so than before at least.
“To know what I do matters. And that it helps in big ways, and small.”
I don’t know how to feel. I am full of don’t-know-how-to-feel’s. All I know is it needed to be said. I needed to say it. Whether he needed to hear it is up to him. He may not have heard it. He may have heard something else, no different that what often I hear is my own mis-translation of what others say to me. Convoluted by my own projection of uncertainty, inadequacy, or a plethora of other nouns.
“You have all those things,” she said. “So, what is the problem?”
I don’t know what to say.
“You have chosen your path,” she continues.
“One does not walk through the unbroken brush unscathed.”
“When does it get easier?” I said, the emotion at my throat.
“In time, you will reach the clearing. For now, you must embrace the purpose for how you travel. For that is my gift to you, and is what gives meaning to your story.”