We’re not built to compare each year of our lives against the others; still, we do.
Or I do. Anyway, 2017 was a lenten adventure in loss, getting used to losing a leg and familiarity with my body, a series of considerations on who I used to be and who I became, measuring my manhood, my workplace persona, my skills, my worth as a human being, and everything else against the body parts I was missing and my own perceived uselessness.
I had a lot of people seriously come through for me and show up. And that’s why I’m still alive, walking, working 60+ hour weeks, and trying to be grateful.
And it’s still Lent, and I’m still choosing to give up things, and I’m still losing.
Tuesdays, I have two support groups; I co-run the first one virtually and tend to not say much in the second one, an evening in-person gathering at a local rehabilitation facility. I’m questioning the usefulness of these at this point for myself, but hanging on because I’m still trying to milk some form of understanding and acceptance from this gross thing that happened. I talk a lot and this defining awfulness set into my body; maybe someone else can learn a thing or two.
I find myself stuck in the above as a mantra. There’s something almost selfish to it that I can’t put my finger on.
Performative assistance sets my teeth on edge. “I’m pulling for you” became the “thoughts and prayers” of the ten or so of us with newly amended limbs; it’s a phrase and a way of life that says and means nothing. It says “here are some happy words, please feel free to let go at any time, this is meaningless and I don’t know how to make myself feel better via my attempt at you feeling better so I’m going to go now, ta!”
I have faith and faith in some people and prayer matters and means something, often, but you have to act. Loss comes in the form of the strength of character you apply to the things you believe in, too, and that sort of loss is the part of Lent we don’t always talk about. The relationships and connections that are tenuous and low on meaning fall away or explode violently. And that’s okay.
At the end of all this, we’re supposed to be reborn with a new understanding of what really matters. I hope that’s so. It would mean a great deal, this year, that the loss of all of these parts and people meant something.