We all have those days, and mine came on with a vengeance. I was prickly, I literally could feel how sharp I was to people, and my anxiety was wearing me thin in all of the wrong places. So I did what I knew I needed to do, I set myself straight.
When I got home I was still sulking about nothing in particular, but my mood was glum and crass. And to make matters worse I was making my favorite meal, grilled cheese with tomato soup, at the request of my sons. It made my mood even darker because I knew I couldn’t have any of it until I ran that night, and with a little encouragement from my positive thinking husband, I dressed in neon and plugged in the ear buds. With a not so quiet “harumph” I started out on another route, one that I hadn’t traveled in a very long time, and I waited for my mood to change.
The first mile was painful as it usually takes me that long to find my pace and stretch my stride to where it needed to be instead of where my lazy legs wanted it to be. I rounded the corner at Ave N and started uphill northward and my breathing slowed again.
I started to reassess the day, find out what happened and where my attitude took the wrong turn down Dumpy St. I eased my way to the parking lot just south of the cemetery, and I watched the headstones pass slowly. I noticed the beautiful contrast of green against the weather worn monuments, and I felt a strange pull to go into the field of reminders and markers.
One of my all time favorite songs came on over my little iPod Shuffle, Bush’s Glycerine, and I felt my eyes close and relax. My breathing was not labored, and my muscles didn’t scream at me anymore. I felt…peace.
“Must be for real ’cause now I can feel-And I didn’t mind, it’s not my kind-It’s not my time to wonder why” my iPod whispered. Deep breath.
I rounded the western corner where the lots are mostly empty and admired the lush green grass and the simple cement pathway I followed in silence. I rounded the corner again after cruising north for a while, and turned to the east and continued to breathe and relax even more. I guess I have always been at peace in cemeteries, I find them serene and welcoming. I passed by a headstone of someone that I actually recognized which I felt wouldn’t happen as I’ve only lived in Kearney for 10 years and never knew anyone who’d passed from here.
The stone was simple, of average size and height, but it held the names of someone famous to our town: Cope. Carol Cope had just passed, and it struck me that soon the earth would be broken and her body would lay resting beside her husband there. I couldn’t help but think “That’s it?” I expected so much more from this family, but then I chided myself. All of the things I’d ever heard about her, ever understood about her, were generous and humble. I promised myself to never assume anything, and apologized for my stereotyped judgement.
I rounded the next corner and began to notice the headstones shrinking in size, decorated with angels and toy cars and all sorts of trinkets. I’m sure my pace slowed as I read the messages from grieving parents, “in Heaven where I belong” and “Together Forever” on the tombstone of a set of twin boys.
My eyes clouded, I choked for breath and I had to stop and process my thoughts. That could have been me, that could have been my boys and my heart broken at the thought of them together, away from me.
“Every thing’s gone white and every thing’s gray-Now you’re here, now you’re away-I don’t want this, remember that-I’ll never forget where you’re at-Don’t let the days go by…”I started running again. Whatever this funk was that I found myself in, it was no match for the worst of the worst, the bad that could have been. I vowed that this funk was over, and an overwhelming wave of calm washed over me.
And I thought to myself, “there you are Father, I’ve been searching for you”.
I can’t say that I will ever stop having bad days for no apparent reason, that I won’t make assumptions about those around me, but I can for sure say that I have found my outlet and recognized my peace comes from a passive understanding. Sometimes, we just need to shut out the noise to hear the praises we should be singing.
I have a quiet shouting faith.