I’m writing a post that I hope to put up later tonight, so I can have it out of my system before the New Year starts. It’s the result a tough couple of months, and contains no discernible humor or references to Madonna’s obsession with Kabbalah. It’s a totally different beast.
The last time I posted something personal, my brother suggested that I take it down, not because it was about him or my family, but because he thought that it shouldn’t be out there, proclaiming my darker side for anyone (who might Google me before a blind date, for instance) to see. I was then at the beginning of forging my blog-identity, and saw his point. I took it down. (No one missed it.) And this piece may be even darker.
Over the last few months, there has been a barrage of bad news: young people in their twenties die on foreign soil, during war, and in our local communities, men and women in their twenties and thirties fall victim to undiagnosed and unexpectedly fatal ailments. Add a few terrorist attacks and an earthquake/tsunami combo platter of destruction that somehow seems even more random than a suicide bombing and claims over a hundred thousand individual lives, and you’ll understand that this world is far from being a shiny, happy place. War’s responsible for some of it, and it’s easy to blame the government or terrorists for acts of violence, whether they’re legislated in the name of freedom or subversive in service to chaos. But dealing with the randomness of illness and the inescapability of natural disasters was too much. Safety was a myth. I started writing because I really didn’t know what else to do.
In talking with a friend about these issues, I expressed reluctance to publish what I was working on. She encouraged me to go public, revealing that she’d been feeling the same intricate, rootless kind of funk that I had been experiencing; maybe blogging about it would help us both and give voice to others who might be feeling something similarly hopeless and unnamable.
My goal isn’t to make anyone cry. It’s to try to find the meaning within the great futility, to find that one thing that makes all the pain bearable, because there’s happiness and meaning to be found—somewhere, if not here. Maybe it’s to reach that other person who doesn’t have the words to describe why this season has been so hard. Maybe it’s to tell him or her that he or she is not alone.
Once you read it, I hope you’ll see it’s not a cry for help, or an announcement of some well of depression I can’t climb out of. It’s a discussion, an exploration of faith and meaning. And it’s not a discussion that I feel is over. In fact, maybe one of you holds an answer I’ve not yet considered.
Most of the time, my writing angles toward humor. And it will again, probably sooner than anyone might expect after reading this next post. But this, the exploratory search for meaning through unanswerable questions, is another part of my balance as a writer. It’s raw. It’s risky. And I hope everyone, even my family, will understand.
Stay tuned. (Or skip the next post. Totally up to you.)