Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shadows and Light

I lay in bed. The clock read 11:03 pm. Emotions, hot and raw, bubbled inside, clawing to get out. Nothing terrible--just one of those emotive passages of life. The rather unfortunate timing of this particular outlet: it was the evening of Hubby's 40th birthday. (And I adore birthdays. They are sacred days of homage to the special birthday person. Not days for emotional outburst and catharsis.)

I tried. I squelched. I pretended. I even told those emotions to take a hike. To avoid spilling my emotional beans, I vanished into the kids bedrooms, tears brimming and falling down my face, hoping that my dear Hubby would be asleep upon my return. I watched those sleeping angels and kissed, kissed kissed them through teeming emotion. I sat on the precipice of release--the great, freeing feeling of cleanse that descends once the emotions are freed. Once they're allowed to do their job.

I padded back to my room. Hearing the soft snores of Hubby punctuate the dark, I thought I'd succeeded. I didn't ruin his birthday with tears. I climbed back into bed and through that same darkness, I heard,

"How are the kids?"


"Fine," my voice wavered in response.

"What's wrong, honey?" he asked. I thought, No, no no not today not on his birthday.

Too late. Once released from the feeble confines of my controlling grasp, the emotions gasped for air. I gasped, too. He wrapped me into him. Game over. I offered up, through my tears, a silent supplication of gratitude for this wonderful man who is my husband, with whom I get to traverse this life.


Life's mystery comprises in its complexities: dark, then joyous; despondent, then brilliant. I know I am not the first to delve into life's intrinsic paradox. But comfort and sure-footing sit within this paradoxical equation. When I sit in my moments of emotional catharsis, settling into this knowledge and understanding yields comfort. Remembering helps--remembering the cyclical, idiosyncratic pulse of life, the thread that connects all of us, each of us, helps.

As I sit on the precarious perch of my life, sometimes smiling, other times crying, I ground myself in the knowledge that the predictive flow and ebb continues. Even when in the inevitable seat of growth and catharsis, the brilliance and joy of life linger on the edges of the shadows and sadness, promising the inexorable return of the light, and the giddiness in my soul.