i think we think that we are afraid of death, but really we’re afraid of being alive. because to be alive is to hold heartbeat in your hands, and to hold on is to allow for the possibility of letting go.
letting go, if you aren’t already in the know, is one of the hardest things for a human to do. but it’s totally essential to being a happy human. there is a mary oliver poem about this – letting go.
the thing is that we hold on so tightly, probably to compensate for the fact that we have little control. our grip isn’t what determines staying power. we know this, deep down in the knotted core of us, but we squeeze tighter anyway. what else are we supposed to do, surrender?
in my work with youth, which i am loving, i am learning how little control i have. it is freeing and empowering. i am only one piece of their support system, our program is only one piece of their support system. there are so many other forces at work in their lives. to really recognize that means my energy can be spent in the moments and hours i have with them, and outside of that time i can connect with other people in their lives to best support these youth in being awesome humans.
maybe it sounds weird, but now that i am getting okayer with having less control than i would like, i am able to be a stronger force of goodness in their lives. i read the other day, the strongest is the softest. i really think this is true.
there is a teen who comes to our program, and he is a sweet kid, troubled, who sometimes goes to an angry place. when he is there he is unreachable. i was thinking about strong and soft when i was thinking about him. i was thinking about how everything strong started soft. like, all of the places in us where we’ve built up a strong defense? we needed that defense because something felt vulnerable, goopy, exposed. and then i was thinking about nature. seeds. husks. bark. roots. petals that open only when the sun is out. branches that give enough to let wind rush through them.
it’s not good or bad or strong or soft, it’s strong and soft.
anyway, i came here to write about how i don’t want to be afraid of death. that’s what i was thinking yesterday. but then i realized, i want to be unafraid of life. that’s a funny thought – being afraid of life. the one thing we have. the one thing we’re doing, amidst all the other junk we’re doing.
life is really it. it’s all we have, and we don’t have anything anyway. we’re all on borrowed time, and we don’t get to decide when it’s over or when it begins or what’s next. i want to be okay with that. you know, god’s time and all that. i think letting go of all of the unknowns (of which there are so fucking many, you guys!) will help me get out of the way and live.
i want, so much, to get out of the way and live. i want to be so alive that when i die my cheeks are flushed and my heart is full. that’s what i want. just that. only that.