Friday, May 7, 2010

Faces of Africa

Sitting outside enjoying the cool evening air at a restaurant in South Africa, Terry warned me that it would be nearly impossible to share my experience with anyone. "They mean well, and are interested, but their attention span will be about ten minutes and you will be frustrated at your own inability to capture your experience with words and even photographs" is the gist of his wisdom.

The stories I have. Entertaining, insightful, pithy - well under ten minutes. The photographs prepared - set to music even. The sincere and loving openings from friends and family to share - all there. I am profoundly living in the 'own inability' part. Jet lag long gone, I am wandering around in caverns of exhaustion just underground. Poking my head up, squinting at the shards of light to make conversation, dinner, piles of clean laundry, then sinking - relieved - back into the cool dark. In between, or perhaps lurking in yet deeper caves, is grief I think. And a choice.

We hang on so tight don't we? To the part of our experience that we just call memories for short. That damned time-space continuum thing that makes us perceive the past as gone. The unsettling knowledge of just how untrustworthy the conscious memory banks are, forever losing our most precious deposits.

I can't really tell you how it was for me. Sit here totally humbled by my lack of words for how it is for me now. But I am grateful that you were willing to sit and listen. Because I am now clear on this much at least. I can choose to float in the sweet quiet of the middling caves, or I can truly face the ferocious depths of dark and loss and warm myself in the light of living and trust that it will be alright.

This is five minutes of what I miss...