Life keeps moving.
Camp still happens after summer. Friends you knew as freshmen are now seniors. College kids repopulate Flagstaff. Long prayed for children are born. Long time friends’ lives end unexpectedly. Fantasy football and presidential debates fill conversations. Apply for and get rejected from jobs. Unpack the jeans and jackets. The aspens begin to turn to gold.
I’ve been learning that there are different types of mourning that come with change, and that you have to let yourself mourn.
The summer season came to an end, as we knew it would. It was an end we could, and did, prepare for. Our new friends left, we changed jobs, moved back to our house. It was a change we were able to process together. We were able to reflect on the good things, what we learned, and miss our friends together. We started that process of gratitude even before the official end of summer. We shared what we had meant to each other, we shared fears and hopes of returning home, we shared a meal. It wasn’t a dramatic mourning, but we cried if need be and accepted the change that was happening. The sorrow was shared.
This past weekend, my friend Austen from W&M died of a brain aneurysm. It’s been a pretty shit week. I am so far from people and places that I love so deeply. And that’s been the hardest part. To be unavailable to myself and to others hurting. This is the mind-numbing mourning. Unanticipated, fumbling with how to deal. I’ve learned to let myself be sad, down, and perhaps zombie-like at times. It is a sorrow that has to be volunteered, really, instead of shared. Nobody else in perhaps the whole state of AZ knows Austen Dunn. So there is no built-in shared/togetherness in those around me. Never have I been so grateful for text messages from the east coast. I have to volunteer this despair so that it can be shared and alleviated. I have been loved and allowed to mourn. And today I am beginning to see beautiful things again. As Austen would have. The rain clouds, the coffee-shop people, the golden aspens swathing the mountainsides.
Joel 2:12 “Even now, (during and after the shit storm)” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Psalm 51:17 “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite (and drawing blanks and numb) heart you, God, will not despise.”
This is not the life update I thought I would give, but that’s kind of how updates work, I suppose. It’s not news if nothing changes. Nor is it life.