“Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.”
Buddhist “Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra”
It is the year of the Monkey, the ninth of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac cycle. And, the ninth year of living without you—and your monkey-hugs.
I had you for nine birthdays, nine years. Nine photos on a wall. And now, you’ve been gone for nine years. How can it be? That I had you for as long as I have not had you.
You would be turning eighteen! You’d be graduating in a few months; you would be driving with your brother to school each day; you’d be sitting in the fourth chair at dinnertime; you’d be laughing, flirting, texting, dating; you’d be telling stories, reenacting every hilarious detail; you would be staying up late, and Reggie, your dog, now old and gray, would be curled beside you, snoring and content; you would be….
I suppose the “would-be’s” will continue as long as I am here without you, balancing form and emptiness. And finding within me the courage, the way you did, to continue and never give up.
The day before yesterday (Thursday, May 1, 2014), I had plans to hit the month running, or at least walking. Post the first entry in the new series I’ve been working on. And then meditate—for at least ten minutes (a day)—a personal goal I’ve set for this May. Neither happened though. This day, life had different plans in store.
Morning road blocks. My old refrigerator had been crying for a few months. A sick, whining sound. On this morning it shook and sighed; lights out, literally. It stopped running. I got my coffee and noticed then, that my dog was staring up at me with big apologetic eyes. Not for the death of my fridge, I’m pretty sure. Although he does sense when I’m sad or stressed. No, he was apologizing for the big, messy, grassy, puddle of puke on the carpet. “Aww, Reggie. It’s okay,” I told him. How could I be angry at that face? Meditating and writing were moving to the bottom of my list. Deep breath.
Reggie watched me spray, clean, dab, wipe, spray, clean…and I sensed him thinking, Man, if I just had thumbs like you I’d help you clean up that mess, I would… I kissed his little coconut head and tried to be in the moment—the way he was. Interested, helpful, even without thumbs his eyes were cleaning, focused, devoted. I tried to use these cleaning minutes to breathe and not think about anything else. Not quite the meditation I’d had in mind, but… Continue reading →
“Of all the daughters I could have had, why did God give me an ungrateful one like you? Everything I endured for you! How dare you! How dare you abandon me like this…”
Then she tried guilt.
“I’ll die if you go…”
These timely words, from the novel I am reading, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, mix into the rip tide of similar discourse that is swirling on the surface of my current mind. Lately, in my life, as in Hosseini’s novel, I am dealing with the heroic and not-so-heroic ways in which characters are struggling to survive. And experiencing how one can be consumed by anger and maliciousness, grief and yearning. Continue reading →