Peace, despite myself


There's a window next to my desk here at home. From it, I can see to the alley behind our house, the meeting of the backyards of a block full of neighbors.

Today, out the window, there were two chickens. They fluffed their feathers and dug in the grass for insects. They had not a care in the world. Just two chickens, on a warm spring day, being together, doing what happy chickens do.

Taking a break from my work, I stepped out onto our back deck. Two white moths danced together as I looked over the hill. Fluttering white, two companions riding on the breeze together.

A blue jay crossed my sight, skipping from tree to power line and back again. He was alone, but I've been watching the birds over the last weeks, and I know that he rarely travels alone. Two jays played on our deck last week. They ate the remnants of the cereal we'd spilled under the table. They stared at the cat through the sliding glass door.

I only saw one jay today, but I know that his mate couldn't be too far behind.

I didn't want these to be signs of peace today, but they were.

These days, I don't want to admit that my mother is battling an incurable cancer.
I don't want to accept the reality of her other underlying health issues.
I don't want to remember that she is currently struggling in the hospital.
I don't want to be at peace with the knowledge that this journey, whether soon or far off, will end with a goodbye.

I didn't want nature today to show me signs of happy companions, reminding me of my parents' partnership in this life.

I didn't want nature today to show me a jay, waiting for his mate, as if here were my father, reaching out to be reunited with his love.

I have worked very hard in life not to give in to signs and superstitions. I stood on the deck today, fighting with myself about how these visions were not an omen about the uncertainty of my mother's health.

But I also, despite myself, felt an unexpected and perhaps unwelcome peace wash over me.

The peace of knowing that when goodbyes happen, there will be a parting in this life, but the most glorious reunion in the next. The resuming of a love and partnership that formed and shaped me, a marriage to which I aspire, a dream team of epic and irreparable proportions.

The peace of knowing that we will survive grief when it comes to find us.

The peace of knowing that life and its seasons are like nature and its seasons; spring comes, warmth follows even the coldest winter.

This is not a peace that I want right now. I do not want to feel ready for the darkest day.

But I will also treasure this peace, this moment where the breeze reminds me that I am resilient, and where the budding trees show me that I will emerge from whatever challenge is ahead still able to witness beauty and watch love dance through this world like two butterflies spinning across the sky.


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