I’ve been traveling a lot lately and last week, I went looking for a belt that I bought years ago, for like $10, that I later saw at Fred Segal for $150.
I couldn’t find the belt, and I was so mad, but I let it go. I mean really, it’s only a belt and if I’m going to travel and be out in the world, these things are going to happen.
Last night I was talking to a woman who told me that 3 months ago she lost her husband in a motorcycle accident. The two of them had just gotten married a few months before and were going on weekend getaway when the motorcycle they were on, crashed.
She broke a few ribs and a collar bone and he was brain dead.
She had to pull the plug on him.
As I sat with her, I stayed in my body, I said to myself, ”Sue, be present for this woman. Listen to her, don’t try to fix her.” She is a human being who just went through something so incomprehensible, that to pretend that I have the answers, would be insulting and a block to just being there.
As we sat there, she talked about how she didn’t want to live anymore, but she didn’t believe in suicide, so she was going to choose life.
She said “Sue, I don’t want this to make me bitter.”
My eyes filled with tears and I told it was OK to be mad and to be depressed and to do whatever she needed to, and that her joy would come back but I think in order for that to happen, she needed to go through it.
I don’t know, I just wanted to sit with her. To listen to her, to look in her eyes and have a moment. to acknowledge a human being who just went through something so beyond me that all I had to share with her was my humanity and my own powerlessness.
That was the connection, not that I had answers, not that I had reasons for why things happen, not to talk. The connection was to sit there and look into her eyes and feel that we have no control.
When I walked away from her ,I went to the bathroom and cried really hard.
Then I went to work and made people laugh.
Because life goes on, but it’s not life unless you are sharing it with people.
When I got home, I looked at the place where my belt used to be and thought that women probably went home and looked at her bed ,to the spot where her husband used to be.
I couldn’t believe that I was so tight about a thing, that because I traveled I lost it, what’s my alternative to stay home with all my stuff and not live?
Here was this woman who lost a person, because they were out in the world and here she was, back out in the world, talking with me, having a moment, all the while saying that she didn’t want to become bitter.
People are way more important than things, and experiencing another human being through your own, is what makes and keeps us alive until we are gone forever.
But even then, we leave a little piece of ourselves, not through our stuff, but through the experience that the living can carry around in their hearts.