My biggest question?
Where did you go.
It isn’t even a question anymore, actually. It reads more like a definitive statement. It’s my current definition in my waking life, to which I am steadfastly beholden.
That thought runs through my mind dozens of times on any given day.
When did you turn from this living, breathing being into the still photos on my mantle?
How does it seem like it just happened? The same way that rain falls from above. The same way sunlight streams in through uncovered windows and washes across the floor.
It feels like everything just happens now. Silently. Unnoticed. Expectantly.
If they told me tomorrow that I was dying, would I even be surprised? I don’t think so. Not the same way I was surprised on the day that you died; when I finally saw that we really are just beings wrapped in flesh who all go away the same way that even summer heat eventually gives way to winter cold.
I was disheartened when I saw for the first time that we are all reduced to lines on a screen that turn flat. No more rhythm. No coursing. Just lines being drawn inexplicably to an end.
And that’s what terrifies me. I used to not be afraid like I am now, because I hardly ever thought about it. And now that I do, I worry about what you felt. What you sensed. If you felt panic or fear or loneliness.
What does it feel like to slip away?
And what was there when you opened your eyes on the other side, and breathed in for the first time again? The breath of one whose burdens are removed, who feels complete freedom from turmoil. Who sees perfectly now, as we were meant to. Is that the place where you are?
I don’t know if it would surprise me if I were to learn that I was going to die. I breathe in and out now like I’m expecting it. Like I will lose it all tomorrow. Silently. Unassumingly. Without care. Like it will happen the same way those white lines flattened.
When did you fade into just being these fractured memories from my childhood? I try not to box those memories in too gently, the way you would fine bone china. I try to hang on to them as tightly as I can, to not recast them as something more delicate than they were.
But they’re still mine.
And even though I promise that I’m looking, I still can’t find you.
Even though I’m living this life backwards, and all that I see now is what has transpired, I can’t find you amidst those waves of memories. They’re like shadows dancing on a wall.
What was really real?
I am this empty space trying to absorb the chaotic dust and particles that are floating by. I’m waiting for gravity to take hold. For it to help form something, for the elements to meet and fuse and bond. So that I will eventually have something solid to stand on. Sometimes, I would rather just wait than move on.
But so many things have formed from and in the depths of blackness. Gases and poisons; heat and ice. Cratered surfaces and oceans of lightning. Hidden moons and distant planets spinning in the dark.
So many things are born when something else shatters. They are beautiful and volatile; terrifying but majestic.
But not every thing that forms right under your feet is a place that you should stay.
I’m caught up in waves of thought; of how things begin, and I stand eagerly trying to reconcile them to the way that things end.
Beginning – end. Beginning – end. My mind turns it all over, once and again. The way that bones grow hard in the womb, the way that they weaken and give way to age and illness.
Strong to weak. Something to nothing. Alive to dead. Born to die.
What is out there, exactly? Do we ever really die? Tell me it’s not true.
I’ve become a wanderer. I’m not trying to find my way – I’m trying to find out why. My world was shattered, and now I want to know where the pieces went as they were flung off into the darkness of space after impact; I want to see the things they made, the things I hope they formed.
These are places I need to see, even though I know I can’t stay. I just want to know that the hurt was worth it.
The stars and blackness become a map to me. It’s out there that is the most wild and yet, feels the most comforting – in those places where I would be the most alone, where no one can find me. Where no one even wants to look.
But God says those stars and planets, galaxies and hidden moons, black holes and lost things are already named. He already knows where they each are. Every cratered surface. Each red storm. Every piece of rock, ice covered, hurtling angrily through space, bent on destroying something else, the same way it was dislodged when destruction came calling.
Even burning stars, whose lives gave out long ago, but whose light hasn’t yet reached its final destination, He knows where each lost thing is. Because whatever is out there in the dark is still not lost.
It still matters.
Each hurt that filters through me, that chips off pieces of me is named and counted, grief upon sorrow. It isn’t unknown where they will land; where they will collide; where they will begin to orbit.
As I wander, and I discover and confront each of them, I find that He was present all along. I wasn’t alone in the planes of space. It’s almost palpable, each time I find myself somewhere new; the feeling that He’s already marked it. That it already belongs to him, no matter how vast. No matter how far removed.
Those lost pieces – He has already set them in place. A solar system, a galaxy of hurts and loss, hate and burning love, turned into ethereal beauty for the ages. Fixed but always moving, always rotating, always going onward, unafraid, into the blackness.
Affixed invisibly to the sun.
A river of stars, light still being given off from pieces of me that have already gone. Still there to help chart where to wander next. A sea of black above, full of spinning, giant planets and moons. A trail of tears in the dusts and particles.
A forrest of hurt, and yet a map of hope.
Each lost thing named, not forgotten. Charted.