There is the old Zen koan about a drinking glass that contains half of its internal volume in water. Is the glass half-empty? Is it half-full?
Sometimes, there are days when that glass could be filled to overflowing, and I’d still swear it was empty.
And this is something that, even at 56 years of age, I still deal with.
It’s the emotions of fragility. Of loneliness and desperation, of solitude and silence.
And every time I think that I’ve climbed out of that figurative emotional sinkhole…
I fall back in.
Maybe it’s because, for so many years, I’ve expected the worst out of situations. Because, for all intents and purposes, I’ve received the worst. So I know that it’s coming. It’s not waiting for the second shoe to drop. It’s expecting someone to take the shoe out of my hand, whack me in the face with it, and throw it at my toes.
I know, I know. I shouldn’t let the past affect my future.
But there are days… when all it takes is one act, one moment, one seemingly insignificant instant…
Yeah. Insignificant. Those moments that make me feel insignificant. Unwanted. Unneeded.
I want to cry out for help. I want to ask someone for a shoulder to cry on, and I can’t find anyone. Or I’m not sure if anyone will listen.
Yeah, I have this blog. And yeah, I’ve talked about many things in my past. And many things in my present. And every one of them is a drop in a glass. Until that glass is filled to the top with toxic tears and terrors and teeming torrents of torments.
And in those dark, decrepit moments…
I just wish I could throw the glass away.
But it won’t leave.
I could go through the litany of everything I’ve survived. There’s at least ten years of blog posts you could read if you so desired. Posts about 49th resolutions and chestnut prisons and everything else.
The fact is, though, it’s a Pavlovian thing. Pavlov put his dogs in electrified cages – and then he would shock the dogs in the cages. At first, the dogs would leap around and howl in pain. But eventually, the dogs just laid down on the cage floor and took the shocks and never barked.
Maybe after all the wounds I’ve taken … I’ve finally learned that …
Right now I’m dealing with the results of COVID-19. I don’t have COVID-19 or the Coronavirus, but I have seen its devastating effect on the community. And as much as I want to keep a brave face during this time … it’s getting harder and harder to do so.
But I know there are readers of this blog who are dealing with their own crises. They’ve been laid off. Or they’ve been furloughed. Or their job just completely disappeared. And the bills are coming. And there are no new jobs to find – and we don’t even know how long this crisis will last.
For New Yorkers who are in need of support – mental or emotional – during this time of challenge, Governor Cuomo just announced a hotline for those dealing with these issues due to COVID-19. (844) 863-9314. And, it’s free. Over 6,000 mental health professionals have volunteered to help.
Prayer helps as well, I guess. We have to keep believing in something – not that COVID-19 will go away tomorrow, but that we can hold it back enough so that the hospitals and medical professionals aren’t completely overwhelmed. When they say we need to flatten the curve, they’re talking about how to keep this from just completely destroying everything and everybody.
I don’t want to live in a world where the living will envy the dead. And I’m frightened.
And if you’re frightened too … that’s totally understandable. I get it.
I hope we can get through this. Both you and me.
Because there has to be an answer through all this. There has to be a reason to fill the glass with water once again.
If for no other reason, than to at least celebrate and toast L’Chaim.