Monday, December 20, 2010

Days of December {cut off}

Being cut off. It can happen in so many ways.

They can shut down the water pipes early in the morning and leave you-- a glutton of at-your-fingertips-indoor-plumbing-- cut off from washing your clothes, or dishes, or the grime of lunch preparations from your sticky fingers.

Your computer can halt, suddenly and without warning or explanation, leaving you pumping your fingers like thudding tree trunks on what feels like an Old Dinosaur keyboard compared to the slick, black Race-car computer that allowed you to download and process and upload pictures, to share with abandon on facebook, and to ultimately feel like you were connected with all that is important in the world.

You can fall, like a friend did two days ago, and break your leg; be mangled and put back together again on a surgical table, unable to understand a word or phrase or even facial expression from the foreign faces that hover over you, and finally placed in a bed, the third one down in a small room next to a window that overlooks the bare concrete slab of another building's rooftop. You can sit there with the possibility of weeks confinement ahead of you, your son at a friend's home wondering if you will be okay, and not just now, but for the many years that still lie of ahead of his life, the one you and he share bound together by the circumstances that life so often brings.

Yes, sometimes it is in small ways and sometimes in life cracking, overwhelming ways that you feel your abilities, or health, or paths to that place you long to be just plain cut off.

I once listened to a woman speak, her body a still and immovable wasteland from the neck down, and she told the story of how it had all happened and how at that time, all the Answers she knew from the Book fell hard and stale on her young and tender ears, the pain being just too loud in those moments. It was the friend who stole into her dark hospital room after visiting hours, who crawled up onto her bed and lay there in stillness, holding her hand and crying softly with her in the hurt, singing "Man of Sorrows what a name..." that did what the answers seemed not to just then.

That's what I think must happen when you're cut off. Things go still and quiet, which grates against your nerves. But you lie there because you can't move much, if at all. And then, when you're forced to just be, you start to notice things, things that need to be seen.

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