She hits the nail on the head (oy, again with the cliches), driving home her wonderings, speaking exactly to what my quandary is:
I was saving it, her newest book "Stitches: A handbook on meaning, hope and repair", having forgotten the title I pre-ordered it so long ago, saving it until i finished with the library books attached to a due date and the pile of magazines overflowing in my closet. But for some reason, for the seven minutes of a morning cigarette, I pulled out Anne Lamott's newest book and settled under the burning sun in the end of December, slowly forcing my jaw upward after dropping open on her first paragraph.
"It can be too sad here. We so often lose our way."
I want to highlight each sentence, underline paragraphs at a time, raise my hand and say "yes, here I am, the one you wrote this for."
And the silver lining is that my favorite author wrote this book, so that must mean they're not just my troubled musings and depressed hopelessness but hers too. Because we write what we need to hear, what we need to learn, what we are dying from if we do not say. So Miss Lamott and I are branded with the same hollow hole of longing, she just further ahead, wiser, older, still struggling with the same existential unknowables, but finding some energy to keep trucking.
Am I willing to do that? To hold on to this senseless, messy, often meaningless life? Just keep holding on, dog paddling along even when there's no shore in sight?
I don't know.
Do I have the courage to seek answers and purpose even when fibers scream in protest that it's all an act, faking smiles to hide the grey vortex of emptiness that swallows me whole?
I want to say no. I want to say I'm too tired, I give up, I give in. I want to say I surrender, I'm done. I want to say enough. I quit.
And yet, I'm still here. Despite my overwhelming struggles and dark hours, I'm still here, waking up to a new day, reading books and folding down corners. Maybe I've had enough. Maybe I've given up. But for the moment, it doesn't seem to matter. For the moment, I breathe in and out and wonder what to fill my hours with and if any of it will make a smidge of difference when I wake up tomorrow. Wonder if there is anything, any one, any action that will cause an inner tetonic shift to match up my uneven parts and make living a blessing rather than a curse.
I quit...and yet, apparently I'm still rolling the dice and plodding along.
I quit...as I reach out for a hand, a hug, printed inspiration, a warm puppy lick.
Oh yeah, prove it. Perhaps I'm bluffing. Perhaps I just want to quit this particular definition of life and not life all together. Perhaps I'm not.
I quit...as I sip my coffee and crack open the spine of my book.
I quit...as I take a deep breath.