Sunday, July 1, 2012

You'll Walk Alone, but...

This picture was taken just about a year ago in Boulder, CO. I took the trip to Boulder completely alone, and despite a rough morning that involved leaving someone behind who was the absolute last person that I wanted to leave behind,  I had an amazing day taking things at my own pace, exploring...breathing in the mountain air and finding my own way through a new place.

These mountains are burning now.   Less than a year later, much of the state I was born in and the state I found home in are on fire.  The day I arrived in New very first day there, I was just getting into Santa Fe when I spotted a small plume of white smoke off in the distance.  I'd stopped to get gas and try to stretch my legs a little before the push to Los Alamos, which was a little over an hour away.  As I drove out of Santa Fe, that small plume from 20 minutes before had become a full force wildfire- I'd gotten on the road just before they started to close it behind me.  I'd never really understood "spreading like wildfire" before I saw that.

The truth is, things burn.  They burn out of control, and sometimes there's no stopping it.   The wind keeps blowing gale-force, the heat is intense and it won't rain.  The truth is, when it gets to a certain point, you can't fight the fire.  The truth is even the firefighters can't stop things from burning to the ground sometimes.  The memories you had can be engulfed by flames, and the thing you've dedicated your life to can be nothing but ashes in the wind. 

That's the worst truth there is.
You'd like to think that with enough water...enough firefighters...maybe fight fire with fire...maybe you could save it.
But you can't.

This weekend something like that happened in my own life, my own family.   Suddenly there was something that just...happened.  There was no fixing it, there was no way to help even.  There was nothing that could be done except to watch something sacred, beautiful and amazing suddenly disappear.

Truth is, it's not the first person I love I'm seeing lose something like that this year.

So you watch the fire burn out of control.  You watch walls of flames block people in, you watch the edges curl in, the darkness spread, and the pieces get taken by the wind.  

The truth is sometimes you won't even have an eyedropper full of water to throw at it.  And you'll want to dig with your bare hands til they crack and bleed just to have a bucket to toss at a firestorm.

The truth is sometimes we can't do anything about it.  There's loss and there's pain, and as much as you want to take it away, or make it better, or even to just be there for someone...sometimes they're going to be walking alone.  Sometimes the only way they can face it is them and the storm.    Sometimes it's all they can do to keep breathing and you can't be a part of it at that moment.

A few years ago, I said this to someone

"You don't have to walk alone if you don't want to."
Something I've held onto is "You'll Never Walk Alone."   I took it to heart.  I took it as a challenge to always be there for the people you love.   To value your friends and family as highly as you can, and to make it more than words.

What I'm learning is...sometimes you have to walk alone.   Sometimes, something happens and you can't hold on to anyone.  

Sometimes you have to watch someone you love suffer, and sometimes they have to suffer alone.  
You have to learn to trust that the love is there.  

You have to realize that you can't do anything.   Sometimes you'll be one place and they'll be someplace else, physically or elsewise.

So the truth is... you will walk alone. You'll face things on your own.  
The truth is, you'll watch people you love go through things and you won't be able to do anything.

But the truth is also....
You don't have to walk alone if you don't want to.

And all you can hope, when there's no words to say, and no water to throw on the fire, is that that's enough.  You can't stop the world from burning , but you can offer a hand to hold.

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