“How fragile we are, between the few good moments.”
~ Jane Hirshfield
Its early, not yet five in the morning, and Gerry and I are sipping coffee in bed and reading while Maya, our Yorkie, snoozes between us. The morning is air filling the room through the open window is cool and clean. All is quiet. All is calm.
Then, suddenly it isn’t.
A pack of coyotes in the ridge below our home starts to howl and yip. Maya perks up. Gerry grabs the binoculars from the cupboard in his bedside table and goes to the window to see if he can see the noisy dogs that sound like they’re right under our window.
Then they quiet. Maya settles back down; Gerry puts the binoculars away and returns to bed. Peace returns.
Isn’t that life? We go along our gentle way and then something–a phone call, a diagnosis, a word spoken–changes everything. We long to return to the gentle path but find we’ve lost our bearings. The way that once seemed clear is suddenly foggy, the trail is overgrown and causes us to stumble. The howling is so loud and it disturbs out peace; we wish it would stop, then we realize it’s coming from our own raw throat.
We remember that during the gentle times we stored up reserves that allow us to weather the sudden storm and to stand–if not strong, at least upright–in our new normal. We return to that which we know to be true. We walk by faith, certainly not by sight, along the dark and foggy path we find ourselves on.
In time, quiet returns. The landscape looks different, as though everything was shaken and has fallen back down looking rugged and worn, the same way we feel. But we settle grateful, wiser, stronger, and with an assurance that our reserves–depleted though they might seem–will allow us to stand through the next storm that blows our way.
This is life. Small squalls, large hurricanes, periods of rain, and then the sun shines bright again. We learn to become intentional about making sure our storehouse is stocked during the gentle times; we nourish ourselves with good things that make us healthy; we establish well-worn paths that help us see the way when the fog rolls in.
And, in all of this, we remember love.