Although I have been sick and feeling pretty lousy for a full couple of weeks now, that is not what has mortality on my mind again at the moment. Earlier this week, I was looking through my Facebook friends to see who was in there, and was a little shocked to realize that there are three deceased people in my friends list. Very strange things flashed through my mind in an instant - how I miss them and wonder about them, how it feels bizarre to have them there in my Facebook friends list, how even more bizarre it would be to "unfriend" a person who is deceased to rid myself of the initial bizarre feeling. The social media world we live in now is so very strange. So there they all sit in my friends list.
Three women. Georgia, my cousin who passed away earlier this year. Becky, a woman I worked with in my 20s in a music store in Portland, who died last year. Judy, my husband's auntie, who also died last year. One day it will be my Facebook timeline sitting there with me no longer behind it.
Sometimes I lie in bed and am silenced at my core from something Noah reads to me about the earth disappearing into the sun in a billion years, or covering back over with water. It is as if I can feel death breathing on me all of a sudden. And then at other times, I somehow am able to forget about death and muster great enthusiasm about buying another pair of shoes. It is confusing, frankly, to sort out what I am supposed to do with this life. The depths and the shallows. How much of what I do is an existential utter waste of time? And yet, sometimes it feels awfully important to take the edge off the harder reality of things. Here, not here, the great mystery, it is heavy stuff to consider over breakfast. I am still just trying to get over this bronchitis.
Staying in a groove with the life part of life feels like getting the bowling ball to ride the center of the lane. Gutter out, and I could be sunk into depression from the futility of it all. As my Dad said once, "No one is getting out of this alive." Driving the ball down to the pins so it skids and bounces, I've lived that way too, with an unforgiving focus and drive and not letting things emerge. Take no prisoners, except perhaps myself. But the groove, the weighty ball rolling, parallel to the gutter, but not dropping in...this feels like it, trying to find the things I do best, and letting time also include some of the other things that make it not just useful, but fun to be alive. Maybe some days that means I am drifting through my life, reading the most recent book in the Outlander series. Other days it has to mean I am living that moment for all it's worth...doing work I believe in, parenting boys I love, oh, about a million times more than anything else, starting a second decade of marriage with optimism, and perhaps, deciding to wear some spring shoes even before the snow melts.