Two bloggers that I follow wrote things today about stories — about the significance of stories and about how stories not only have the power to connect us, but also to provide us with comfort and escape when life’s disappointments threaten to overwhelm us.
Those two blogs, each offering a different insight into human stories, helped me to put to rest, at least momentarily, my preoccupation with this spring time of struggle. This spring has come with some challenges that I wasn’t prepared for — in part, because I thought writing this blog was channeling my stories in a productive way. The blog — and the writing of it — have certainly done that.
But some stories, even when written and shared in this public format, linger. They linger in memory, in our cells, in our very being. Our collective cultural desperation to move beyond stories of loss perhaps only drives them deeper underground, into the soil, where they grow.
This weekend, Gorilla Girl, Monkey Man and I tramped around our yard in Michigan, inspecting the crocuses that have sprung brilliantly to life. We made plans about a garden this summer, and as Monkey Man banged his walking stick on the decrepit bird-feeder, we planned to lure song birds to our yard with seed. Those few moments were among the best of this spring. The hard part of spring, and the hard part of life being reborn is the connection to the death that inevitably preceded it. Perhaps this is why spring has been challenging — with each burst of new life comes a reminder of the death that has brought forth nature’s explosion.
A colleague reminded me today that city folk are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding the cyclical nature of life because we are so removed from the actual experiences. City folk don’t live on farms; we don’t witness the slaughter of mature animals, nor do we viscerally experience the new life that emerges each spring.
Even though I agreed with my colleague in principle, I felt that for a city kid, I was well-versed in the cycle of life. That is my story, I suppose, and it is layered with new life that has grown out of tremendous loss. Ironically, as life bursts forth this spring, it is the loss that has invaded me.
Thanks to blogger/friends, I have today thought about the story of loss as one to be shared and one that has potential for connection. My stories of loss are merely chapters in a longer work, one that is in progress — a work that ultimately will bring together loss and redemption, spring and fall, and even pain and joy, in a complexly woven fabric.