Life is liminal—we don’t know, think that we know, realize that we know, then grow wise.
Life is inevitable, yet undetermined.
Life is fabulous and fucked. These states of being alternate and intertwine like ill-fated lovers.
Life is exciting and mundane. Anticipating the next moment because the present moment becomes mundane due to its fleeting juiciness and zeal.
Life is to be lived until we die. Death? Gone? Lost? Forgotten or fading away? Do we ever truly die? We live on in the heart and minds of those who know and love us. Do we imprint ourselves upon them and them upon us? Or are we merely a collection of memories and shared experiences waiting to be triggered by an external stimulus?
We are disembodied by memory. When I reflect on my grandfather and my father, I hear them but I rarely see them? Why? Is it a symbolic reminder that their bodies were vessels for their souls? When we’re gone, is our voice the only thing that remains? I ask because I’m pretty visual in my leaning and communication style, yet I do not see these men who shaped so much of me. When I reflect upon their traumas and triumphs, I hear them but I don’t see them. Well, I take that back. I can see my father waiting for me to exit the stage as I was officially proclaimed Dr. Lyde. His smile lighting that blessedly overcast August afternoon in Bowling Green, OH. “My main man, hello Dr. Lyde.” I see his smile, only his smile. I feel his body pressed, against mine. The releasing of his tension as my tears moistened his left shoulder and his tears added a hint of salt to the patch of my black doctoral robe that shrouded my beating heart. This journey complete and we could both release our grips on that dream. I didn’t know what awaited me, but I thought I knew then. I came to know that I could not control what was to be.
What taught me this? Perhaps it was pain, trappings of success, failure, fabulousness, fears, trials, and ultimately wisdom. I do not know. Perhaps that is the point—the lesson to be learned. It is not one thing that makes life a life. It is a journey wherein we must learn to let go of what we know, so it can float in the ether and connect to other knowing. Knowing imprinting on one another like remnants of those long gone. Those knowings coming together to become wisdom. Wisdom that convinces us that we are living, learning, growing, loving, hurting, healing, evolving, and ultimately, dying. No time to terry here, life cannot wait for you. But why not, it’s my life dammit!
Time ticks as the blood pulses and pools in our bodies. It is safe, this blood. We know this safety, we are convinced of it. But wisdom tells us that while we may be our authentic selves and live, that we aren’t truly are. Bullets over Pulse in Orlando is a brutal reminder of this liminal truth. A dance with death. A cocktail that precedes and comes with blood-letting. Relief and guilt for those who left earlier because Sunday had an early start. Why were they spared? Was it luck or fate? What were they called to do that they had not yet done? What of the child with a fever who stayed home from Sandy Hook or Columbine? Were they lucky? Shouldn’t the people who show up every day like the rooster crows be so lucky? Should a perfect attendance award be celebrated rather than mourned? How does our understanding of life change when doing the expected results in your way too soon? I don’t know…now. At some point I will think that I do, but wisdom will tell me that more steps await me on my journey.