– Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971)
The last few weeks have been blissful, I swear.
You see me at function X and you worry. You say these things; and I assure you: everything is okay.
It isn’t lip service.
It is okay.
The navigation is a process.
Getting from “sick kid” to “sleeping well” is a journey.
I lay in bed and instantly drift to sleep.
Under the influence or not.
It doesn’t matter.
My heart is at rest.
* * *
I walk now.
Miles a day. Red rocks and dust at my feet.
The desert sun burns my head.
I like it like that.
Reminds me of the place I’ve decided to call home.
Step by step, I process.
Step by step, I move on.
* * *
Tonight, I ask my wife, Heidi: “Why do you put up with this?”
Her answer is aloof, lost, confused.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
That’s not what she said, but I’m too dumb to capture it.
She loves me because she loves me.
I’ve gotta’ figure out why; or at least make sense of why.
I don’t deserve this.
But a friend says my kids love me, and I have a home, and I pay my bills, and I have a job, so I must be doing something right.
So there’s that.
It’s nice to hold onto that.
Especially when I want to slip away.
It’s also not true that Heidi’s answer is aloof.
Truth is: it’s firm.
She loves me.
I have to reconcile that.
Make sense of it.
Understand my place.
Be the person I’m supposed to be.
Damn, if that ain’t a challenge.
(I wanted to use the F word, but my dad says I swear too much.)
* * *
So, I swim.
At least right now.
It’s allegorical. I’m not swimming, per se, I’m treading water, wondering where I go next.
I see the exit sign; run towards it.
And almost push the handle.
But what next?
* * *
Can I be completely honest for a second?
I don’t know what I’m doing here.
I’m just spilling it all into a keyboard, alone, late at night, hoping something resonates.
I’m trying to figure out what I’m all about – utility, nonprofit man – looking for a sign.
What do I stand for?
Why do I do what I do?
And, quite frankly, how did I get here?
It’s that ridiculous. It’s that lost.
Sometimes, I swear … what’s inside is an endless dialogue of searching like that.
There is no definitive answer.
It’s all vacant and empty and nothing makes sense.
* * *
Except, sometimes it does.
That’s what you want me to say.
Sometimes it does make sense.
Sometimes, there’s something you can glean from the unease.
Sometimes you go to bed empty.
Knowing enough to let you sleep peacefully.
Knowing nothing of where you want to go.