Yesterday morning, a group of folks gathered on a sidewalk outside of a children’s hospital in Nashville. They’d been alerted by an angel of an organizer that at a specific time and in a specific location, the woman for whom they were gathering would be brought to a window in the building across the street to see them hold up signs, raise their arms, and blow kisses in her direction.
The woman who was to be brought to the window was at the hospital because her husband and son had been in an accident, caused by a terrible, almost out of nowhere storm, a few days before. Both were severely injured.
H. and I were in the group on the sidewalk. And what I noticed most, other than the way each of us resisted our urge to hug and instead stood apart and stayed in our quarantine units while waving hello and giving air hugs, was the raw energy surrounding us in that moment. Everyone seemed to be okay, but we also seemed collectively almost beyond solace — what had happened to this family that we love had sent us all to the edge of belief and strength. I also noticed that when our friend first appeared, we all made noise and honked car horns and hollered messages of love to her, but then we went silent. If teardrops could be heard when they fall, that’s the only sound I would’ve heard for about thirty seconds. And we were just there, as close to her as we could get, because that’s what we do for each other. When we human beings are needed, we show up. It’s just what we do. I believe it’s one of the things we were made to do.
I have thought about the concept of the last straw a lot in my life. What it will be for me, what it is for others, why some can handle thing after thing and others seem to snap more easily. I’ve also thought a lot about the concept of what I call the heartbreak limit. As in, there isn’t one per person or family. We like to think that there is, that if bad fortune befalls someone in a certain way, it won’t again in another way, but believing that is to believe in some sort of system that doles out the harsh realities and soft beauty of life evenly. Truth is, there doesn’t seem to be such a system. None of us are allotted a certain amount of good and a certain amount of bad. We get what we get, and sometimes we can’t make sense out of it until we’re on the other side of whatever it is and are able to see it more clearly. Sometimes we can’t make sense out of it at all because there isn’t any sense IN it, and just have to accept that life is difficult and we deal with it the best that we can, and keep reaching toward the things that do make sense.
That seems to be where we are now. But we’re figuring out how to do things like gather on the sidewalk outside a hospital to reach up and out to show love and support when there is no other option. We are still showing up for each other. I know I’m not alone in my desire to be able to freely hug and stand close to those I love, but I also know I’m not alone in my knowing that we are an incredible species that figures things out. We are imperfect, but we’re also pretty damn cool, and I know that we will keep being that no matter how we have to do so.
HANG IN THERE, Y’ALL. We will see this through.
Peace and love and Happy Wednesday,