Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Beginning...

I have written a bunch in my journal. I have been doing this on and off for months and have found that I always feel better when I write, even if the subject is painful to recall. There's something soul cleansing about being honest with yourself on paper--though just to be clear--my journal is digital. Though I frequently romanticize about writing in one of the many beautifully-bound journals I have in my possession, it just doesn't happen. I'm too fond of the immediate gratification and tidiness of editing and spellchecker. Yet people continuously give me journals as gifts...and I continuously love each and every one. Perhaps it's because of what they represent. But I am already digressing...

As I was saying...over these months I have been brain-dumping about a plethora of different topics ranging from the minute-to-minute account of my near-fatal accident in September '09 to random thoughts about life, love and friendships. Again, there's something about writing that assists, or perhaps allows, you (well, me) to figure out how you feel and think about certain aspects of life. The difficult piece for me to date has been the disorganized manor in which I express myself...not that there exists some correct way to do such a thing. Nevertheless, I am continuously left with a shadow of wanting after my writing sessions are over, and (excuse the expression) for the life of me I can't figure out why.

Some background. First: a word about my writing style. You'll find that I often stray onto a tangent subject, so bear with me. I can't help it. Second: I am not a professional writer by any means, and therefore, I reserve the right to haphazardly abuse and apply the punctuation rules of the English language to fit my taste. Third: A strong disclaimer which will forever apply to this and all entries. I am not an expert on anything but typically express my opinions with fierce conviction. So much so that one may accidentally assume them to be factual, particularly if I am well-versed in the subject matter. So let's just be clear that I am not here to educate or represent anyone or anything, but rather to communicate, discover, and whatever else may follow. And last but not least, Fourth: I promise to describe my accident as some point; I understand that I mention it a great deal. For now, however, let us all just work with the understanding that I had a near-fatal experience which has left me temporarily (we hope) and significantly disabled.

Moving on...

As I said, I have had little organization in my writing. Though it has been obviously and ardently soul-searching in its context, something has been missing. Simply put, that condition changed yesterday through (what I think to be) a most unusual experience.

Since my accident (and it should be said that I was affected by these things in my pre-accident life, just not nearly to the same degree as post-accident) I have been quite susceptible to illness. I suffer often from fevers of unknown origin...not my term...that's what medical personnel call them. And just for the record, though yes, it's dead-on accurate, this phrase is somehow lacking in its description of the condition. Anyway, these fairly frequent down-days range from just lack of energy to downright misery, and yesterday, as I suffered through yet another nasty episode of cold sweats and indescribable aches from fever, I was also plagued with dizziness that left me unable to move even my eyes without issue. It's more than fair to say that yesterday was my worst sick day in the last 5-months.

And of course, not knowing what ailed me, my mother (my primary caretaker when I am unable to manage it myself) insisted on a professional medical examination--not unreasonable. Yet, the experience was entirely different than all of the previous bouts with sickness I have endured over these many months and not because of the horrible physical state I was in. No. Things were different because I couldn't get the topic of God out my head.

Again more background. I am not what anyone would deem religious, and although I do truly believe in divinity, I fully admit that I have neither celebrated nor investigated its presence and purpose. I have done nothing to show that I believe in anything, frankly. So to have this overwhelming concept fill (and I mean FILL) my head was a strange thing for me. Even now as I recall the experience I am shaking my head and wrinkling my brow in disbelief. I makes sense that I should have some sort of thoughts along these lines. I think its safe to say that it's rather surprising that I haven't gone down this road yet, all things considered. In all actuality I should have, do this long before now. Yet, here I sit, completely in awe of what changed my course yesterday.

Now before y'all start thinking that I had some sort of divine experience with light et al, let me just stifle the thought. No. Nothing of the sort happened. But I will tell you that what did happen was just as marvelous (at least to me...the classic case of non-believer). Yesterday, without warning, I started to have real questions about God. It was as though God was a real thing (i.e. yes, Virginia...there is a God). I mean, there I was minding my own business and wham! For the first time in my life, I was allowing myself to embrace the concept that God is real.

I had no idea what to do at that point. It was totally new ground. And sitting there...with real questions that deserved real mouth was unable to filter itself and out they came. I think it was luck that I was alone with my mother at that time, though she may not have felt so lucky to have been given the role of caretaker/spiritual advisor to her heathen daughter who is asking God-related questions all of a sudden. Sure, my mother is a better-than-average devout Episcopalian...on the board at her church; involved with many of their activities, yada-yada. But when faced with the absolutely left-field question of "Do you believe God trades souls?", she nearly drove off the road in shock. And she wasn't alone...I was horrified that the questions were (a) real and (b) coming from my mouth out into the world where people would know I was asking them.

Yet, the question I asked was real. I wanted to know, if perhaps, by chance, there was some sort of decision-making process/system where one person's life is sacrificed so that another may survive.
I got no answer to the question. We just sat together with it. I mean, there were other matters at hand. I was so sick I could barely open my eyes and hold my head up. Not to mention how cold I was. But
later on, when I was finally home and in bed, I shocked my mom once again when I said, as I sobbed uncontrollably, "I think I need to talk to someone. Not a counselor. Someone spiritual. I need to understand why I survived. Why I have to live like this."

Again we just sat with it (of course I was still weeping, so there was that). But I knew she couldn't answer the multitude of questions...questions that I could not (and cannot yet) form about this new chapter in my my life. In my head I knew I wasn't really looking for answers from her, and because she's my mother, she instinctively knew that before I did. I guess we both knew that I was simply admitting to myself that I had the questions...that they were real...and that it was OK to wonder. To truly receive guidance, I needed someone else's help...a "spiritual heavy-hitter", if you will.

And as the battle between medications and sickness raged inside me, she did her best to comfort me, lying next to me in my bed hugging me gently. This was the first time she had ever done really be with me while I was so sick and miserable that all I could do was sob. My mom, being a woman of few words in times like this, simply said that she was 'doing her best to help me through this'.

Then, almost suddenly, whatever she was doing...whatever it, energy-transfer, was enough. Enough to support me, both physically and mentally as I wept; enough to carry me through the hours of ache until I was finally freed from the grips of the illness. At least so much that I could sit peacefully for the first time in what seemed like a millennium.

As strange as all of this sounds...the sudden peaceful feeling I received from my mother's whatever-you-call-it and the onslaught of questions about God for the first time the middle of the writhing and sobbing at home in my bed, I actually had a realization about another subject matter. It was a realization about my writing and why I felt it wasn't on track, organized, whatever. Now, let's face is not a common thing to think about such things at a time like that...but it came to me like a lightning bolt. Truly.

Though all of my "journal entries" to date had been therapeutic in their own right, the question I needed to answer, and was now certain I would find through my writing, was right in front of me: Why did I survive?

It was so simple and so clear that I briefly wondered why it had been so hard to find. At that point all I could do was to roll over and quietly ask if my mother would bring me my laptop. Not that I could write...I just needed it at the ready.

And now here I day. Still bedridden, but writing like crazy. I know I need to figure out what happened yesterday...the mechanics of it all...and why it still lingers so strongly today. Why, for example, have I Googled all of the religious organizations in my city so that I, perhaps, find my aforementioned "heavy-hitter"? I have always had a curious mind that likes to delve into subjects for a bit and then move on, but because of its intensity and subject matter, even for me, this is bordering on weird. Do I actually intend to meet these people and ask them questions?

It is with and through all of the above that I have decided to publish this as a blog. An ongoing entry. I am a virgin blogger, so I have no idea how this will work. I just know deep down that I can't go down this road without putting it out there for others to share (there is a bit of background here, and I'll come back to it later). Perhaps even help me...who knows?

One last thing...kind of tangent, but not. Before my accident, I used to watch the television show I Shouldn't Be Alive now and again. I enjoyed it quite a bit. The intense series details true stories of survival against tremendous odds. Post-accident, however, I find myself unable to do little more than read the show's topic description on the channel guide. It didn't dawn on me until yesterday that I am in a mental knot about survival, particularly why I survived, and that this is why I cannot watch others' experiences. I guess I should have been able to identify or acknowledge that before today, but I was instead thinking that I was simply OK with it. Clearly I am not.

Again, no idea how this will work. But I do know, without a doubt, that I feel better when I write. And now that I have this "purpose", I find myself impatient to set forth on this journey to understand why I survived.

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