I was reading a blog written by a woman with cancer, the big bad kind. And I was awed by her ability to just not be okay sometimes, and to celebrate other times, bringing joy to everyone at her chemo center. We all have these times when we are struggling, when we are sick, or lonely, or grinding out day after exhausting day of a huge work project, or grad school, or a rambunctious child. And some people seem to do it with so much grace.
I think it’s because some people can accept their dark and their light. They can be not-okay and be okay with that. I think maybe grace doesn’t come from sailing through everything unaffected and vulcan. I think maybe it’s letting the feelings come, letting them go, and the freedom in the in between spots to just enjoy the light, not shaming ourselves for what we feel and think, not apologizing again and again and again for having a time we were weak or wrong.
I think maybe it’s making our amends and then spending our time making joy when we can. It’s having the strength of the tall grass, which never breaks and only bends, and not trying so hard to right now and every minute be the towering oak. Even the oak was once a flexible sapling.
The blog also made me think about being sick.
I wonder if I hadn’t been sick if I wouldn’t have lost my ex. Being with someone who is sick is hard, and we can make all the vows we like, but when we are there and this partner of ours is sick, this is when we find out how we do with that. He had a childhood full of a sick mom. He tried to ignore it and make her laugh. As far as compensation strategies go, it’s a good one. But some things we couldn’t laugh about, and he had so many old feelings about illness.
I wanted someone to be there with me in loss, and it wasn’t a thing he could do. I understood it even then. I knew he was doing the best he could. I was doing the best I could too. But I wonder what would have happened long term if those losses were a thing that drew us together instead of a place that we were apart. I wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t been sick, or sad, and what would have happened if he were a better partner to someone who was sick or sad.
“Was that part of it?”, my brain asks. “Was that the crack that spread?”
I wish I didn’t think of such things and worry about them. But I enjoy the part of me that is equally good at finding the good, the joy, and the light in things. And maybe grace isn’t being emotionless and perfect, but more like the blogger with cancer who celebrates during the times she is well enough to do so. Maybe grace isn’t never crying or being filled with fear. Maybe grace is a little while later when we get up, and breathe deep, and recognize all the light. Maybe grace is bending. Maybe grace is resilience.