I just got back from a glorious motorcycle ride around town. I quickly forget how Zen it is to ride. On the surface the mind must stay very alert and active while the deeper parts of the mind, the wanderer (or the wonderer, depending your perspective) is free to wander. While dodging cars and debris, I replayed a conversation I had with a good friend last night over a supper. It’s been years since he and I have spoken but within thirty-five seconds into the conversation he had clearly demonstrated that he knew exactly how I was feeling. The minor variation in our vocabulary didn’t trip us up long and over a spicy meal of Indian food I found more comfort in understanding than I’d had since I could remember. It was divine.
We spoke at length about The Void. I’ve written about this “something missing” before, especially right after Maggie died. No, it’s not gone. It’s absolutely still here. It’s still just as noticeable. It’s most noticeable when I’m alone. But rather than try to break it into pieces, sweep it all up and dump it by the curb, I seem to have given it a space of its own. Its own space? Heck, I built it a room, gave it a nice bed, hung up some pictures, made space in the fridge, and even programmed some shows on Tivo for it. I think it’s here to stay, or at least here for a very extended visit.
My friend was insistent that instead of trying to fill The Void with something (again, just like I’ve written about before) that I should work hard on being ok with The Void, even becoming one with The Void. Preferably I’d rather pull a Neo and give it the ol’ “There IS no Void.” But no, it’s still here and I’m just going to have to be ok with it. Only then will it begin to shrink in size. Despite my best efforts, it’s not something that can ever be filled. Any attempts to do so will eventually fail painfully.
I imagine a situation, forgoing general laws of nature of course, where for some reason my body has been completely cut in two, head to groin, and one half is just gone. I, in my confused and shocked state, am hopping around on my one leg grabbing random objects – a rock here, a person there, a book, a workout routine – and am trying to stick them to my body in a sad but vain attempt to recreate what was once there. Of course, nothing fits and nothing sticks. But I keep trying, despite the sting of touching random objects to my open wound.
I’m reminded of this scene in a movie I saw a long time ago. I think it was
Pulp FictionWild At Heart but I’m not sure. The main characters had come across a fresh, horrendous car wreck where the boy in the car was obviously dead. But the girl, although bleeding badly from a head wound, was wandering around on hands and knees looking for her purse. She kept mumbling that her mom was going to be very upset if she lost her purse. She was fixated on finding that purse, picking up various items, looking carefully at them as if it ascertain whether each was or was not her purse. The scene was disturbing. It was if the whole situation was so overpowering that her brain had shut it all out except for the need to find her purse. That was all she could handle processing at the time. Seconds later, the young girl died, still mumbling about her purse.
Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to die any minute now but I can relate to that girl’s need to find that purse. It’s almost like she needed to find the purse first so could then move on to process the rest of the situation. I guess what my friend was trying to tell me is that, well, it’s ok if I don’t find my purse. In fact, I’d better embrace the loss of it. But it’s tough. I really liked that purse. It went well with all my shoes.