What We Cannot Understand
I had my first therapy appointment. I wept practically the entire time, and I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. I like the counselor, and I have an appointment to go back. I'm exhausted. She gave me a copy of the notes that she took, but I haven't read them yet. I don't know if I will. It's all just a little much to take. Just talking about it all was overwhelming enough for now.
The weather here could not be better right now. Yesterday I went to a coffee shop, drank a frozen lemonade, and read for a little while and then a friend met me there whom I hadn't seen in a while, which was nice. Before she got there, I was situating myself in a chair and didn't realize that one of the rear legs wasn't on the ground but was in a flower bed, and I tumped over backwards into a cactus patch. I just lay there with my legs in the air and blinked in surprise until a man at the next table hoisted me up by my arms. My arm and hand are scratched up. The wounds continue! I got sunburned sitting out there and my attempt to put sunscreen on my gaping shoulder gash from the dog walking fall failed at least aesthetically as now I have a large white smear of sunscreened skin surrounding the gross scab and bright red sunburned shoulder skin surrounding that. Lovely.
I slept through the middle of the Oscars. Because I sleep so little at night, I keep falling asleep really early and then waking up and trying to start all over again. Once the kitties settle down on my chest and start purring, I cannot keep my eyes open. I fell asleep after Catherine Zeta Jones won and woke up when the best screenplay awards were being given out. I don't really have any strong feelings about the show in general except that my favorite moment was a blurry background shot of Nicole Kidman reaching over and patting Ed Harris on the leg as Chris Cooper was going up to accept the award. I don't know. I was touched by that for some reason. I haven't seen The Pianist or Gangs of New York. I was confused by Julianne Moore's earrings because I swear she wore the same ones to the Golden Globes. That's about as deep as my thoughts get on the Oscars this year. Sorry. I know I usually have a lot more to say about the show.
I went on a long walk with my mom yesterday afternoon and decided I felt up to going to mass after. I had no conception that stepping into that church would hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn't been in a while, and I blinked back tears for a solid hour. I said a little prayer that I will be able to remember it as the church where I grew up and not the church where I was supposed to get married. I don't know. It was hard, much harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it was hearing the young pianist play so beautifully. He was supposed to play at our wedding. I don't know. It just hadn't occurred to me that it would make me feel so sad.
I told the therapist that the hardest thing at first was just getting through the day. Putting my feet on the floor in the morning. Putting food in my mouth, chewing it, and swallowing it. Tolerating the seconds and minutes and hours crawling by. And that I think I'm turning the corner out of the fog of shock and immobility into being able to get through the day. And that feels like a real accomplishment right now. Like, physically not curling up and just dying from despair, you know? My body has somehow sustained itself these past few weeks and I'm still here. Still functioning. That's something.
My mom found a little scrap of paper in my late grandmother's Bible on which she wrote, "God gives us the grace to stand what we cannot understand." She gave it to me, and I'm keeping it on my bedside table. There's a line in the movie The English Patient when Hana, the Canadian nurse, is being friendly to Caravaggio, the sleazy Canadian thief who shows up at the abandoned monastery where she and the patient are staying in Italy during World War II. The English patient asks her why she is showing Caravaggio such kindness when, if they had met on the street in Canada, she would have ignored him. She responds, "There's a war. Where you come from becomes important." And I know deep down that my faith -- despite how I've lost and found and lost it again countless times in my life -- is where I come from, and in this time of war, not only in the Middle East or in this city as police battle to find the serial killer but in my own heart and mind, I am trying so hard to take comfort in where I come from when it seems that elsewhere there is no comfort to be found.
© Copyright 2003 elb