I have a daily alarm that sounds at nine in the morning and nine at night to remind me of my mama’s pill schedule. It rings from a floral encased iPhone resting on my nightstand. My mom’s iPhone is set with the exact same alarm schedule and matching ring tone. Adorbs. I usually text her a quick note, “good morning mama – pills,” and I admit I am thrilled that we have access to this amazing technology, that I can communicate with her whenever I want, and see her almost every day. I keep this reality in the forefront of my mind, boxing up the more painful realities in Tupperware, and stacking them in some distant lobe. I’m all about boxes with airtight lids.
Is anyone else overtly grateful and secretly panicked about the fragility of life? Truthfully, I actually hate that life is finite, eternity so eternal, and purgatory as arbitrary as hell. It’s makes our time here precious, necessary, and harsh. And yes, I am being dramatic, I’m sensitive, and rather crotchety before coffee. This kind of behavior is condemned in Leviticus, Chapter 19, right next to the scripture on tattoos, and piercings. But sometimes those boxes come tumbling down, realities spill out, puddle at my feet, and all I can do is cry.
I just got done watching Julie and Julia for the third time in a week (I paid $3.99 for twenty-four hours of unlimited access), a screen play by Nora Ephron about a blogger of all things. The charming thing about this movie, in my opinion, is how blogging not only rescues the writer from a purposeless life, but the reader becomes part of the story. I know that seems annoyingly obvious. We share the same birthday Nora and I, we see the humor in neck flab and heartburn. I love her. She died four years ago and now I have to miss coffee, thanksgiving dinner, and butter for her.
Why do we suffer and die? I blame Adam. If only he hadn’t eaten the damn apple? (Eve is not liable, she was hormonal, and the snake knew it) Now we have relationship drama, french cooking, and painful childbirth but also sweat glands, high blood pressure, and minimum wage. No wonder the first miracle was turning water to wine.
I boxed up a particular reality three months ago, when my mom began laboring towards something new and holy. I notice as her body shrinks, her presence expands. I love how she quietly moves into this space shedding light for me on the process of what it means to be fully alive. She who gave me life now prepares me to stand alone. I would prefer to avoid this reality all together but she forces me to slow down, notice the evening sky, run my fingers through the fur of a stray cat who follows us on our evening walk. She models resiliency in the face of overwhelming odds and I think this is a perfect message for my ailing heart and ravaged world.
Mary Oliver writes, “a shattered elegance, one wing broken, the other hurt, both feet withered. Nevertheless, the gull is responsive even playful, he looks forward everyday to a dip in the bathtub and then sunning himself and have his feathers smoothed by visitors.”
I started a blog in May of 2015, I don’t know who reads it, or if anyone cares what I have to say, but regardless I am compelled to write. It’s how I rescue myself from a purposeless life but I also worry that I’m becoming too self absorbed. I’m sure my husband is busting a gut over that one. I never set an end date for this project? Will I still be blogging about toothpaste and salvation when I’m eighty? I was a newbie grandparent when I started this blog, one of my kids moved to another country, I had to learn google docs, I crashed my car, and my cat died. I don’t know what the future holds, I can’t even hanker a guess, but I suppose that’s what makes life so damn interesting. We don’t have access to the last page. Even when bad things happen I am horribly, sordidly, grateful for this one precious life.
I jump when the alarm goes off at nine, dash a quick note off to mom, let her know I’m blogging, be by in an hour. I’m thinking about all the things I won’t miss in this life like illness, bathing suits, and my Tupperware cupboard, but I’ll surely miss the alarm that rings at nine and nine.
A version of this post was previously published on Living in the Gap and is republished here with permission from the author.
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