The Hell You Know

I have certain gifts.  One of them is the ability to remain annoyingly positive when those around me are racked with fear, doubt, and confusion.  I tend to just know that things will work out.  And they do.  But that does not keep me from feeling the pain of those around me.  Unfortunately, I can not more give them my certainty than they can cast off their doubt.  So we wait in an uneasy silence while The Thing looms ahead.

The Thing might be a career change, a major purchase, or a doctor appointment.  But change, whether desired or not, is Hard and Scary and, well, different.  Once the change happens, if can be dealt with, but until then there is nothing to do but wait.

Waiting can be more than just a kind of purgatory.  It can be Hell itself.  Time inches forward, dragging you with it.  You count the minutes, the breaths, the heartbeats until The Thing happens.

Being currently on the tail-end of A Waiting right now, I am perfectly positioned for such reflections.  And, because I had need of focus, the words my heart needed came to me, as they always do:

“In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
“In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.


For all those who are waiting for The Thing, may you find your own words of peace.


One thought on “The Hell You Know

  1. I find those three things to remember really motivating. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the unwavering optimism – it’s truly a rare gift 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s