Standing with the girl who says she is nothing

 photo by  K. Inglis

photo by K. Inglis

I met her in brilliant sun in Edmonton at the Walk to Remember where I spoke. I was alone and felt as though Liam had gone elsewhere and so I stole moments with my camera, and watched, and overheard. I looked upon the backs of uncles and grandmothers in their memorial t-shirts, and watched as the sky filled with blue and pink balloons above a crowd of four hundred, each with a story to tell.

And I met her, and when I did, she was alone too, but she was not.

Some kind of magic was in the air that day, and I saw it around her: at the risk of presuming what she would or wouldn't mind hearing, I saw the imprint of a baby just as determined as her mama, an ephemeral sprite.

She is half my age, elastic and yet so fragile. Later, after I complimented her on the portrait I took, she wrote to me I don't feel I'm Beautiful cause I feel like Nothing right now, ever since this happened.

I replied I know you feel like nothing. I did too. Don't feel like you're floundering because you don't understand, or because you're not yourself anymore. You are exactly where you need to be. You don't need to be more or less than what you are right this second. You'll probably never 'understand', but you will learn a new sort of self. The darkness and the nothingness... it fades away, I promise.

Does it, though? Maybe not.

Maybe our eyes simply get accustomed and like the creatures at the bottom of the deepest trenches in the ocean we evolve, willing ourselves to glow, to electrify the murk. Our eyes dilate, pupils engorged to suck up the remnants of light that seep through from thousands of feet above and dissipate into the vastness of this watery cavern.

At least now I can see.

***

I don't know about all of you, but I'm deep in a Thanksgiving coma. Mentally speaking, that is. The Are You There, God? It's Me, Medusa blogolympics that took over Glow for the past month have left me stuffed and languorous, stretching out with ankles crossed, brain and heart both full up beyond the brim.

We are so richly accompanied by one another. By those who comment, who blog on their own, who contribute. And by those who absorb quietly, because we know you're here with us, perhaps sitting in the corner in an old rocker with a busted cane seat that's bolstered with an ancient, flattened pillow. You sit and you listen and sip something hot as the fireplace crackles, and you nod sometimes, and your silent presence adds heat to the room.

We're all so different - what we went through, the point from which we began, what we believe. And yet in your voices I hear the thump of my own heart.

I am sorry that your hands have had to dig deep into the earth alongside mine, desperately searching for coals.  ~ Angie

I got to be the parent of the physical manifestation of the feeling of hope. I got to hold Hope in my arms. And you want me to mourn that? Are you kidding me?!  ~ Dave

This is where you are. This is what has happened. Given exactly where you are, with exactly what you have at hand, how do you cherish your dreams again? How do you dream again?~ Kara

This is my life, my only one - this is all I get. I do not get to pick and choose what I get to experience. I know that one day I will experience joy again - not the same type of unfettered, naive joy that I did before, but joy nonetheless - and the only way to get there is through this hell.  ~ Natalie

In that space, for just a moment, I heard His voice. 'I'm here. They mattered. They matter to me. They were my beloved. You are my beloved.'  ~ Lori

'The way in which every living being comes to earth depends on accumulated karma. The better our deeds, the better the opportunities we get in this life to perform better deeds. In the end some pious souls get freed from this cycle of rebirth. I believe that your young son was one such Divine Soul who only needed a short time before being freed forever from this cycle...'  ~ Rosepetal

The believer is like the grain crops - the wind continually beats it back and forth. And a believer continues to be afflicted with trials. We have to bend with our trials - not be like a strong tree that would break with a stronger wind.  ~ Souad

It wasn't necessarily that I thought I deserve miracles more than someone else - I'm flawed in a million different ways - I just thought I deserved them too.  ~ Kristin

All people no matter how small, all lives for no matter how short or long they bloom, are powerful, full of power. Blue poppies take root in mountainous scree; there is a place for happiness in the hard conversations of loss.  ~ Katie

***

Thank you. You, right there, taking in these words, sister or brother, or simply friend. Thank you for being here, for adding sound and light and heat and chatter. And sometimes tears, and sometimes a smile.

There will always be this comfort, this touchstone. I see myself in her eyes, in the eyes of that seventeen-year-old mother standing on a chalked cement path on the Canadian prairie, and I see an echo of my own baby in the ephemeral sprite of hers.