Imagine someone lying injured and bleeding somewhere. Someone discovers them, surveys the damage and tells them, "You're alive. That's enough. Just keep breathing."
A while ago, I would have thought that was an insensitive thing to say. Everything we know tells us that just breathing is not enough. There is a way to fix things, to stop the bleeding, to bind the wounds, to speed the healing. Telling someone to just keep breathing, to keep living because you have to... That's not enough. There must be something we can do, that they can do. Because there should be more. There should be healing, and wholeness, and hope. At least there should be hope. They should be able to want more, and find a way to get there, and a true friend should help them to see that, and maybe even help them get it.
But now, I see what a relief it is. To have it put so clearly. When something terrible happens it feels like there are a million things to do. Let go. Never forget. Forgive. Hold it in. Let it out. Be grateful. Pray. Be vulnerable. Be strong. Let people help you. Learn to stand on your own. Cry. Smile. Laugh again. Be wounded. Heal. HEAL. (That's a big one.)
It's too much. It's a relief to focus on one thing. Keep going. Keep breathing. Keep walking. Keep living. If you can do that for long enough...
Someone said something like that for Mom a while back. She was out for lunch and someone asked her how she was, with that sad please-break-down-and-cry-right-here-in-public-so-I-can-comfort-you look that we are all way too familiar with now, and another lady replied for Mom, "She's fine, because she has to be."
And that's it.
I would love to lay down and stop breathing. I think about it often. Stop hurting. Stop missing. Just stop. But I can't. So I breath. And I do the things I need to do. Because I have to.
And that's enough for now. It has to be.
A friend burned this song onto a disc for me. I cry every time I listen to it. And I let go of all the other stuff that I, or other people, expect of me or want for me. I let it go and I focus. On breathing.