My plane leaves from Athens today. 3:00pm. Athens to Vancouver. Vancouver to Chicago. Chicago to Tulsa. I’ve received so many emails and flight updates that I am thoroughly confused. Best as I can tell, my flight to Tulsa now leaves before I even reach Vancouver.
And in case you’re confused as well: I’m still in Sicily.
It’s odd to have this day finally arrive and not be going home. Theoretically, I could have found a way to get myself from here to Rome and then to Athens and boarded the flight and figured out the rest once I arrived in Canada. But honestly, I didn’t have the energy.
I’ve been going to bed earlier and sleeping later. Coloring. (yes, I found a coloring book and markers here.) I’m still talking with friends – at least one call a day and an abundance of emails and messages. Even a few video chats. All welcome. All good.
Still, I’m slowing down. Can’t help wondering how much slower I have to get before my energy reverses itself. Before the train turns around.
I don’t tell you this so you’ll worry. There’s nothing to worry about – at least when it comes to me. I’m fine. But we do worry, don’t we? That’s what we share, what keeps us connected. I worry about you, you worry about me. We worry about others. We worry about our country.
Two days ago I took my first nap. Which is crazy because I love naps. Still, I hadn’t taken any since arriving in Italy. And today, I went back to bed after my morning juice and my morning tea. I began writing you, tucked between sheets, under a comforter, and propped against two large pillows. … And then, I napped again.
Sorrow is sapping my energy, begging me to retreat, to find solace in soft things, in quiet, in covers, in sleep. And I allow this. For now. It’s what I need. Grieving takes time. Some moments are calm, even comforting: still, like the blue sea I watched from my balcony yesterday. Other times, the emotions come crashing in white waves, like today. The sun keeps shining but the wind is whipping and it stings. Today is not a day to be on my balcony. (literally)
I am allowing myself this time to feel what I’m feeling and feel it completely. To squeeze it so thoroughly that there’s nothing left and I can begin again. The only way through it is through. There are no shortcuts. Like the labyrinth, sometimes just when you think you’re at the farthest point from the center, you turn and the path opens, leading you directly in. In the center, there is peace. Getting out is always easier than getting in. (in the physical labyrinth, that is)
Last week an extended family member accused me of being “so blinded by hate” in response to a post I shared about praying for Trump and the United States. I’m not hurt – I know who I am. I know my post came from a loving place. I know her accusation came from her own fears and frustrations. But I am – most definitely – grieving.
If someone in my own family – someone I love and respect and have always believed felt the same about me (even if we don’t agree politically) – if she could say that… if she could say that and not retract it after taking time to think, to remember her experience of me … What hope is there for our country? How do we heal our fractions among neighbors and strangers when even families forget the love that binds us together? Where do we go from here?
My phone just pinged with another update. My plane is boarding. Only, I’m not on it. I’m nowhere near that plane. Right now, I still walking the labyrinth. Best as I can tell, I’m nowhere near the center.
But, who knows? The only way through it is through. One step. One rest. One moment at a time.