So. This year has been hard. Like…really hard. I’ve been plagued by health issues which, while not life-threatening, have been debilitating and, frankly embarrassing. (It’s one thing to tell people about your torn ACL or migraines. It’s another thing entirely to have to decide whether or not to tell your boss that you have an anal fistula as a complication of a Bartholyn cyst…).
So I say again: this year has been really hard. I cried a lot more than I had planned. At the end of 2020, with the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine looking like an increasingly likely thing, it seemed like brighter days were ahead. I couldn’t know that on January 6, 2021, I would walk into my gynocologist’s office and learn for the first time what a Bartholyn gland was.
That has been the defining point of my year. My autumn took another huge hit when a colleague (we’ll call them VWT) was suddenly gone without explanation, leaving me to do the jobs of two people with only a sliver of the information that would have made the process easier for me. The slow trickling of information over the past six weeks has left me feeling very abandoned, angry, and betrayed by someone whom I trusted a good deal. At the risk of sounding like a broken record…2021 has not been my scene. I have been barely clinging to a lifeline for the past ten months. It has not been easy. I haven’t been able to do so many of the things I long to do.
So. Fast forward to this weekend. I sing with a choir in my home city, and yesterday we performed a piece called The Sacred Veil–an intensely personal work about the love of a couple before, during, and ultimate surrender to ovarian cancer. And the lyricist, Tony Silvestri ,said something that touched me profoundly, “I think we really underestimate the role of creativity in grief. When you have trauma in your life, I think you need to create something–write a poem. Paint a picture. Bake something. Do something. Create something that you can pour your grief into and then put on a shelf and say, ‘There it is. I can let it go now.'”
And I think that is really A Word to me right now. I am grieving. I am grieving a loss of a year that wasn’t what I wanted. A year of watching people get what I longed for–a baby, a job, recognition, fresh starts–while I struggled just to keep my head above water.
So I guess that brings me here. To this place. To try to create through my grief. Through the anger. Through the disappointment. Through the loneliness. I know that God has been beside me through this journey, but maybe this is how He wants me to speak. To give voice to the pain and the agony and to look up toward the sunrise to a new dawn.