not the first

"Come in and trade your tears
All worry and ease your fears
Your burden is not unknown
Don't run friend you're not alone
For all confined come be set free
For all the blind that long to see
Come and receive the perfect relief 
Come and believe He bore your grief
Rise up as the war has ceased
No bondage you have been released
Come all you weak and contrite
He'll strengthen and clothe you in white"
Relief--Wolves at the Gate

[ I am not the first ] whispered it's way into my mind along with the pressure to let go, to rest.
I'm not the first to be here, in this seemingly never ending winter-desert. 

I was crushed under the weight of all the people i have lost. as if memory were a blanket made of steel wool suffocating my heart. it's been a long time since I've felt so desperate for my grandmothers' prayers & laughter. my grandfather's steady safety, great-grandma's delighted treasuring, Aunt Phyllis' remembering, Uncle John whose far too young death still surprises my memory. Grammie, who shaped me more than I knew. the little brother we never held. my mom's best friend, the only one who knew her heart as a sister in arms. the list is too long. 
my old companions the stars hung in the sky like traitors, trading their usual comfort for mockery. they appeared to represent all my goodbyes: small farewells flung from this rock of Earth into the universe across a distance farther than that between the known galaxies. even though it's not forever, if the promise of eternal life I'm staking my existence on is true; right now it's too long away. too much, too far, too long. 

but I cling to this whisper--stories & songs & poems & art serve to remind me this ache is as familiar to the humans as our need for oxygen. I'm not the only one who has looked into the night sky and longed to fly away. or wished my lost ones were as close as a visible star. not the only one who has felt others' pain and carried it. not the first girl to think she can't go on. to wonder just how long she can hang on this edge of breaking. 

and we still keep on. we keep on living & fighting for truths & breathing & working for a future. we strive towards the light. some of us protect the tiniest coal of hope still glowing within. others use their own flaming abundance to ignite the cold hearts around them. always, always we strive towards the light. towards Hope, the Light above us with waves running farther, faster than any of our darkness. towards the smallest reflection within us, the sparks we see in each other's eyes that remind us there is Light above the clouds & beyond the galaxies. a flame that never dies. one that cuts deeper than pain, strong & pure & bright until even the deepest rending the human heart can endure is repaired. 

[ i don't know how to rest. i don't know how to let go, because when i consider relaxing my grip, i crack like this. pain seeps out messy & ugly. so shattering that i lock it away. i'm scared i'll fall into pieces so minuscule i never find them all. help me rest. help me be ok with collapse. promise you'll give me new pieces & make new seams; so i am not all left to jagged edges and missing slivers. ] 

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