Our choices, our perspectives, how we handle adversity or celebrate happiness, each instance of decision is another step forward through the twisting path of our treacherous lives.
I should be used to roller coaster by now. Yet, at the top of a long climb thrilled by the glorious view, I am terrified of the inevitable plunge I know is coming. When I'm way down low moving fast through a dark valley, I am content with the limited perspective and the absence of danger.
It's easier to get by when there is no place further to fall if things go completely off the rails.
I always hope there's a clicking chain ahead to pull me out of my spiral, but it's never a sure thing. Not anymore. I thought having Silas was simply another spin around that track, a life-long jaunt that would be scary and exhilarating in equal parts but still all above the ground, always showered in light.
Turns out this ride doesn't have safety harnesses or quality control inspectors to ensure anyone's soul exits fully intact. There is no promise of perfection. Turns out the free-fall is endless and that The Pit lives inside me, inside my guts, and that once the chain releases there is no stopping the plunge.
This ride is not made with any regard for tolerable human limits.
You don't have to be this tall or this smart or this good or this loving or this honest or this much in love to get crushed by the g-forces this Universe is capable of producing.
I thought I had been in tough spots before, where I was scared and alone and I could feel that weightless churn at the bottom of my belly. Getting bad news about my mother's health made me sick. A close call in the car with a tractor trailer late at night on an obsidian stretch of I95 left me shaken and empty more times than I care to remember.
But nothing prepared me for the depth of nausea--of soul-crushing terror and despair--that my son's death shotgunned into my guts. Now I know it, though, and I hate even the slightest inkling of that awfulness when I feel it starting to hollow me out from the intestines outward.
The rapid breath, the cold sweat, the sour stomach that feels larger than the World and impossible to contain within this measly little body, I feel it and know it and I have to use all of my will and brainpower and strength to stay calm and contained and get out, out, out of whatever awful situation I'm in, or to find a way around the terrible, insurmountable obstacle in front of me.
What I have also learned, though, is that my soul and intellect and heart are capable of withstanding far more than I could have ever imagined. I would rather still be an innocent but since that is not a choice, I'm glad to know I am made of some material that is ultimately impenetrable no matter how bad it gets.
It seems that I can withstand the crushing forces of gravity as I plunge to the bottom. Some sense I never knew I had can see through the dark to the love my friends and family radiate toward me. No matter how rattled this ride makes me, my spine is strong and true and I will never crack completely.
All of you have that in you, too.
If this journey ends up beautiful and good somehow, I will know it is because Silas was part of my life. Even only as potential, he has forged my will into something stronger than diamond, more flexible than grass, more clear of purpose and direction than a planet hurtling around a star.
I will feel that Pit grow to consume me again I am sure. I have felt it blossom in my innards many times since the day he died. When I miss him so much I can't breathe; when Lu is immobile with sadness; when the pressure of everything I can't control is more than I can hold; when someone I care about adds another human to this planet and I love them for it and hate that we don't have one of our own; each time I feel my soul in free-fall, within, all over again and again and again.
The Pit opens as I descend and I always just barely slip away to safety before I'm completely consumed.
I hope someday my soul surfs that Pit as my offspring drives away in their car for the first time. I hope I feel it on their first day of school. I hope I can keep getting showered with every rising sun and I hope that somehow my son knows how strong he has made me even though he is so far away, on some incomprehensible journey of his own. Maybe, hopefully, perhaps.
But here is all I can do. The Pit will always be near, but I can't live in fear. These are our lives together. I can't help but live as fully as I can and try to enjoy the view I have before I am forced to withstand the next round of cliffs and curves, safety bar or not.
How much of that do you believe, too? How much sounds like so much bullshit? What do you tell yourself to hold yourself up? Does your life feel like a roller coaster or something else entirely?