Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's about transience, it's about fear

I don't do temporary well.  I'm an 'in it for keeps' kinda gal. When I find something I like, I dive headfirst into it and don't come up for air until it's mastered. I'm not sure it's a matter of being driven as much as my passion, my intensity.

I'm just not a casual person.

Case in point: I have been married for 22 years to the man I met in college, 3 weeks before his graduation separated us in different states for the next 6 1/2 years. No, I don't do things by half measures.

I am committed to people, to ideas, to routines.

This morning, as I was making my coffee (some would say it's an addiction; for me, another vital routine) a kind of deep knowing broke over me like a wave.

I have been battling bouts of depression ever since our fire on December 1st. And I've been struggling to figure out what it's about.  I keep reminding myself:

--no one died in the fire, no one even got hurt.  My family is safe
--the house is salvageable. It may take 6-9 months, but it will be rebuilt
--the important items, the ones that couldn't be replaced like family photos and heirlooms are safe and stored away until the rebuild
--insurance will cover the vast majority of our loss
--our friends, family, and community have been unbelievably supportive and we are blessed to have such love in our lives
--our temporary quarters are warm, safe, and convenient

So what the hell am I whining about?

And then I got it  Temporary. I don't tolerate temporary very well.  Temporary, transient, limbo, ambiguous, uncertain. These are the evils in my life.

And yet, on a thinking level, I know there is no certainty in life. I know that we are transient beings in a world that is itself, transient.

Perhaps my need to find routine and constancy in my life is because of that knowing.

Early on in my marriage, my husband and I had to move for his work. I fell into a deep depression that year and it wasn't because of the *change*.  It was because I knew it was temporary.  We would only be in the Chicago region for 12 months before needing to transition somewhere else. 

I felt uprooted and off balance that entire year. I wanted to make deep connections with the place and the people around me, but every day that passed, was a day closer to the time I would leave. So I found myself in a terrible place of disconnection and limbo.

What I am feeling now is an echo of that sense from that year, 20 years ago.

And now that I can name it, I feel as if something has eased deep in my chest and lifted off my heart. "Ah, you again," I say, "I remember you." And I can gather that fear into a fierce hug, like the terrified child she is and we can both be comforted.

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