I have been, off and on over the past several months, sorting photos and correspondence and videos. Preparatory, perhaps, to the Huge Purge that will have to take place (over several years, I would imagine) before we can downsize and move from our spacious family home to something more manageable. It's a task from which the pleasure I might have anticipated a few years ago has seeped into pools of sadness and heartache.
Tonight, procrastinating the completion of the major work project remaining to me this week, I printed out the correspondence that has passed between my son Josh's girlfriend and me over the past four years.
A woman in her twenties, a woman in her fifties. Each trying to help herself and the other. Dealing with practical matters that caused us to stagger backward. Standing against the wind, crouching as the tsunami poured over our heads. Sorting, seeking, longing, wondering, piecing, piercing words and thoughts and music and dance together into a puzzle which will not form.
I read quite a bit of it, of that correspondence. If I were to order it into a novel, readers would insist upon calling it a work of fiction without credibility.
I am stunned. STUNNED. By the fragility of the human spirit. My son. By the strength of the human spirit. The two women, one of whom is me.
The work from which I am steering my attention is Sunday's sermon, about Elizabeth and Mary, told from the point of view of Elizabeth's son, John. An older woman, a younger woman. Two sons, in the end, who will not survive.
I'm not sure that I can write this sermon. I know one of the back stories. I live one of the back stories.
I have decided to stake my claim to the word wisdom.
No one could have written or read those emails and failed to shatter into a thousand shards of wisdom.