Warrior recently reminded me that part of the pain of my grief is like physical therapy. I’m not just dealing with loss. I’m also pulling on the scar tissue of past wounds that may have healed improperly having been joined as one flesh for so long.
Loss isn’t just caused by death. A partner can go missing in other ways. The pain of life can prevent one from showing up, leaving the other to ponder, “where did they go?” Death finalizes that question and renders it moot.
All loss isn’t equal. But all loss must be grieved.
As I mentioned yesterday, this stage in my process has me contemplating who I am now that I no longer am intertwined with another person. I am coming to some significant conclusions.
Since I am stuck at home, being out of work for almost a year, I don’t have a job telling me who I am. A profession is a safe way to describe to others my place in this world. I still tell folks I’m a chef when asked in conversation what my line of work is. Mainly because it’s easier and I was one for a long time and I may still return to that work once the country opens back up.
But what I do does not define who I am.
I am known by many names; chef, baker, author, gardener, musician, poet, caregiver, etc. All are descriptors of things I do that would make that name line up. I built a restaurant and worked in its kitchen for 10 years, therefore I am a chef. I love baking bread. Calling me a baker isn’t a stretch. A distinction I am learning to make with my grief counselor is this; I define these titles. They don’t define me.
I don’t know how long I’ve got til the Number of My Days is complete. My dad passed when he was 75. Using that as a benchmark, I’ve got 19 left to go. I don’t want to waste a single one.
There is a central reason I am known as chef, baker, author and so on. These are correct because they are planted, rooted in and grown out of my truest identity. I am a Creator. I have an obsessive drive to build and make things that did not exist previously. Food gave me an ideal workshop for this identity to flourish. It was extremely rewarding to take a wagon full of raw vegetables, and with the help of a few others, create a menu and dining experience unique to that one Saturday in time. That was more than the act as a chef. I was a Creator.
Another way this identity is manifested now is through my writing. I have been given some type of gift to create new thoughts with words that grow out of feelings and experiences. Based on your comments and feedback, what is very natural and second nature to me is received by you as deeply kind and profoundly reassuring. This is more than being an author. I’m continuing to create something that would not exist without me.
I’ve got some gas left in the tank, and I plan to ride hard til The Number of My Days says I’m done.
This is the force that is shaping me today. It is why I am compelled to get up and write something daily. It’s not my job. I don’t get paid to do this. I’m at this keyboard this morning because of who I am. I’m creating Hope.
It’s not enough for a Creator to merely create. That’s the easy part. The risk comes in the act of sharing that creation. Any artist knows this trepidation. I’ll admit every time, without fail, I hit “publish” on the WordPress tab, self-doubt is lurking nearby. I wish I could eradicate it. I just don’t let it keep me from posting.
I’ve started creating music again, and I am in this same dilemma. Why am I exterting this effort if it’s just to stay on the hard drive? Creators don’t build to hide. We do it to bless. So here’s a new creation I will offer. As a person of faith, this coronavirus circumstance is testing that faith. What do I believe? Will I allow these circumstances to hinder me, or is there Substance on which I can actually rely?
In this time of scarcity, I choose to live and create abundantly.
Make today count.