It’s been hard to blog because my heart is on a roller coaster this week. One that I don’t think comes with safety harnesses. I’m alive in the euphoric highs of road trips with my little family and the prospect of new opportunities but, at the same time, a little bit too close to the plunging lows of death, destruction, and hatred.
This is one of those weeks I question my choice to bring a little boy into this world.
I think he can sense it, too. The past few days he’s been exceptionally clingy to me. Last night, for the first time in a long time, his cries from his crib could only be quelled by me holding him close. It was one of those nights he sprang out of slumber with shrieks of fear or sadness or pain or something, and would basically fall back into lifeless dreams only once he was lifted into my arms and against my chest.
The first time I got him out, I just held him and looked at him. I could only hear the sweet sounds of his sleepy breaths and the fast drumbeats of my heart against my ribs, and I thought to myself, How am I going to protect him from the pain of loss — like that of the Boston marathon explosion, or that of losing the closeness of a family-like community because of relocating for a job, or that of being rejected by another person or organization — if I can’t hold him this close all the time?
Many of my dear friends are also experiencing their own losses — rejections from PhD programs, breakups, miscarriages, divorces, deaths of loved ones — and the pain is a heavy burden for all of us to bear sometimes. And I’m definitely feeling that this week, the reality of pain and loss, as well as the overwhelming desire to protect my little boy from ever experiencing it.
One thing that a lot of people have been doing in order to find comfort in the sadness this week is echoing a quote by Mister Rogers:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.
I’ve been trying to focus on this in a more abstract view. Finding the good in the evil. The joy in the sadness. The healing in the pain. And when I look into my little boy’s sweet eyes, I just have to cling to this. Because later, when he comes to me in pain, wishing something wasn’t a certain way, I have tell him something that I need to learn to believe myself. That is, only in hurting can we really learn to heal. Only in darkness do we feel the need to search for the light.
Only when we lose something do we have room in our lives to gain something. And, right now, when everything hurts and doesn’t make sense, that’s all I really know for sure.