What Resembles The Grave – Letter no. 4

A couple of weeks ago I couldn't get these lines out of my head:

This is the life, hold on tight. And this is the dream, it's all I need. 

Yes, this is a Hannah Montana song, which I swear I haven't watched in years. I told my friend Emily the lyrics felt so real and tangible to me. I sang them on my morning commute to a job I enjoy and on the drive back to the city and my home. I told her, when I think of my church and my friends and the Trader Joe's down the street, the Kennedy Center ballets and Rock Creek Park and the Georgetown waterfront, I'm just so grateful.

Only days later, I started slipping again. After months of steady progress. How can one bad turn so easily shoot me backwards? It's like I drew the Candyland card for the Peppermint Forest when I had almost made it to the Ice Cream Sea.

So here I am again, learning the basics: this is how you feed yourself, this is how you live. This is how you tell someone who knows what you need that you need them, who knows what to do and does it. This is how to rise when you fall.

My friend Tanner shared with me the following poem of comfort — many thanks, friend. May we always remember Who delivers us from the power of the grave.

What Resembles The Grave But Isn't by Anne Boyer.   

Always falling into a hole, then saying “ok, this is not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of the hole which is not the grave, falling into a hole again, saying “ok, this is also not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of that hole, falling into another one; sometimes falling into a hole within a hole, or many holes within holes, getting out of them one after the other, then falling again, saying “this is not your grave, get out of the hole”; sometimes being pushed, saying “you can not push me into this hole, it is not my grave,” and getting out defiantly, then falling into a hole again without any pushing; sometimes falling into a set of holes whose structures are predictable, ideological, and long dug, often falling into this set of structural and impersonal holes; sometimes falling into holes with other people, with other people, saying “this is not our mass grave, get out of this hole,” all together getting out of the hole together, hands and legs and arms and human ladders of each other to get out of the hole that is not the mass grave but that will only be gotten out of together; sometimes the willful-falling into a hole which is not the grave because it is easier than not falling into a hole really, but then once in it, realizing it is not the grave, getting out of the hole eventually; sometimes falling into a hole and languishing there for days, weeks, months, years, because while not the grave very difficult, still, to climb out of and you know after this hole there’s just another and another; sometimes surveying the landscape of holes and wishing for a high quality final hole; sometimes thinking of who has fallen into holes which are not graves but might be better if they were; sometimes too ardently contemplating the final hole while trying to avoid the provisional ones; sometimes dutifully falling and getting out, with perfect fortitude, saying “look at the skill and spirit with which I rise from that which resembles the grave but isn’t!”