There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon, Mr. “Iron and Wine” Beam sings in one of his songs (songs you can often pull over your ears like you would your blankie, back in the good old days).
If you’d ask me what I did last week, my answer would be very short. Not because I didn’t do much. I studied, worked, studied some more, had an exam. I could say a lot more about all this but it doesn’t really seem to matter in the light of last week.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to write about bombs, terror, injustice, fear – a lot has been written about it already, probably in a more eloquent manner than I ever could. Besides (as one of my friends rightly pointed out and is all too obvious): you could always write about any of that.
Whenever someone tells me we’re currently living in one of the longest periods of peace in a long time, I wonder what they’re talking about. I wonder if they’ve watched the news lately. War (terror) doesn’t have to blow up right in your face to be real. So that’s that. Let me rephrase: I’m not going to write about bombs, terror, injustice, fear – not any more than what I’ve written so far.
But if this isn’t about any of that, what is it about? Perspective, maybe. Realizing what really matters and what really doesn’t, maybe. Also, realizing that sometimes, even though something matters a lot, there’s still nothing you can do or say or feel that is going to change anything. And then, realizing that none of us is immune to pain and fear, no matter how much we’d like to believe it.
It’s about building a shell all around you to distance yourself (from whatever, really), only to find out it just doesn’t fall to pieces as long no one tries to break it – because as soon as they do, it’s falls apart all over you and it knocks you down or out right away. It’s also about how things like that often happen when we least expect them.
No, actually, I take it back. They always happen when we least expect them. Like that phone call happened just like that, this one summer day when you were simply having ice cream with your best friend (your grandmother died). You’re never prepared because there’s no way to prepare yourself for something like that. That’s what this is also about, maybe.
And it’s also about how life goes on, just like that. Because it’s that moment, when life just decides to go on (no matter how much you think there’s no way that this is how it works) and you’re not sure if you’re just dreaming and you decide you wish you were so you just try to numb all your senses (not temporarily, this is not something a couple glasses of gin could do for you; rather, you will your body to go numb – because there’s nothing else you can do) – these are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon. Thank you very much, Mr. Beam.
So this last week’s just walked by me – and if I’m really honest with myself: not just this week. And if you’re really honest: do you remember what you did last week (last year maybe)? It’s scary to think about how life slips by if we’re not careful; if you let your suffering, your fears take the upper hand. Life just goes on, that’s the way it’s always been and although it sounds tacky: this is how it’s always going to be.
We wake up the next morning, to dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, work, another day, brief moments (a fifty-fifty chance: meaningless or meaningful) and all of this is going to be there – no matter whether the times just walk by us or we try and walk with them.
That’s the challenge: to try and keep up. I guess that’s what this is about: keeping up. Even if this week, that’s the last thing on earth you want to do. Especially if it is; especially this week (and other weeks like this).