Since living a new normal, I spend plenty of time on the bleachers, my tiered observation booth of life. This is my designated safe space where I breathe slowly and deeply through my nose. Silently and rhythmically, I perch in the designated seat agenda-free. The spectacle of life unfolds right under my eyes. It is. IT is. This is it. This is how it was supposed to be in the dash of my life.
It just is.
When catastrophic things happen, as human beings, we are desperate for answers. We look for signs and interpret dreams. We pray to gods, goddesses and visit psychics. We adhere to human trailblazers in the hopes of providing us with some false sense of rational, predictable, immortal ground. We fabricate faith like the food industry uses GMOs.
“This is how it was suppose to be,” my brother Paul said in those first few hours after it felt like mammoth, blood sucking pythons swallowed our predictable, little lives upon hearing the news of my 26-year-old son’s sudden death by suicide.
His wise words helped make the unbearable bearable. Before that moment, as much as I thought I could control the things around me, I learned the hard way that I COULD NOT. I did not blast out a punishing God for it. Nor did I fly into a loving God’s arms. I was carried not only by my brother’s words, but also by the faith of others who lifted their derrieres off their own bleachers long enough to help me. Real-life contributions to charities in my son’s name, food supplies to our house and attending my son’s wake and funeral are examples of the good deeds. Receiving love and giving love is how I am still able to inch forward in my brokenness.
In the interim, unless I can help someone in their time of need and do things like cook a lasagna, send a greeting card or lend a listening ear, the fact of the matter is, I stay on my own bleacher. These days in particular, I watch the world spin rapidly. Incessant news rolls in about the latest developments surrounding the global pandemic: the latest death tolls, vaccine updates and what to do or not do next.
When things go out of control in someone’s life, here’s the secret: unless you can truly offer professional services, a listening ear and/or a hand (like a cooked meal, bouquet of flowers, etc.) to those in your life, catch your breath and just allow the process to happen. Otherwise, whirling dervishes not only exhaust themselves, but those in their immediate circle.
Life’s unpredictability is dizzying enough. Fortunately, my bleacher is also my balance beam. It’s reserved solely for me. When my breath becomes shallow, once I remind myself that I am living the life I was suppose to, I can deliciously and deliberately inhale. After all, I have the advantage of a space filled with a generous amount of oxygen.
It just is.