Approaching the limit

early survival is always a life or death matter

When I think about survival, especially in it’s earliest incarnations - I’m not sure whether I needed to breathe more or to read and write more: that’s the absolute urgency I felt.

I don’t know if I would have been able to continue had I not been able to read how others had survived the unsurvivable, and lost that which couldn’t be borne to lose. I came upon poetry and survival stories in much the same way that a drowning person gasps for air when they breach the surface.

The conventional wisdom is that we should only write something when we’re far enough away from it that we have perspective. But I don’t think it’s always that simple. That’s a (finalized) story that we’re telling - something stacked safely on the bookshelf of our lives when it’s convenient to revisit.

The truth of some experiences only exists while they are happening. It’s a lot easier to talk about navigating a storm when the storm has passed, and we’re safely onshore because we’ve not only survived, but been transformed by that process.

Evidence-based faith is a bit of a tautology; it’s easy to trust when we have proof.  I have nearly a decade of evidence that recovery works and six years before that using doesn’t. But explaining that to someone who’s on day 4 is an impossibility. I’m still not sure if my job is to act like a lighthouse or the coastguard - I think it’s a bit of both?

What I’m interested in is how to take those leaps without expecting specific results, especially when I don’t have the experience yet. There’s always a new mountain to climb.

What’s sustained me, what’s made me write, and drove me to pursue, practice, and continue therapy; was that I knew I had to survive - but I didn’t know how.

Now that I know how to live, I still tap into that absolute necessity with my work, how I transform my life, and how I equip others. When I think about purpose, I’m merely making the poem more and more of what it needs to be. And I’m ok if that’s an abstraction; I desire a future that’s complex, uncertain, and filled with possibilities — a place where grief and hope can co-exist without counter-acting.

My hands are stained with the belief that this life can be rich like the soil.

Nourish it with me.