There are days when I just need to fold into the fabric of life and forget myself. To be one of the little cogs in the wheel of this city, getting shit done. However there are days when it is not so clear if I am folding into the fabric of anything, as I throw myself at the mercy of the clock praying it will soon be done. Today on what would have been our 10-year wedding anniversary I am reminded that there are days that are in-between those two extremes and today is one of those.
I very much depend on the inner workings of my spirituality. When I connect with something outside of myself and ask for guidance, I received it. Some mornings when I wake up frazzled even before I have gone out the door that certainty is the mast I to cling to as I set sail into the unknown. When I launched myself into the day it was with confidence, look, see, I said to myself, I’m fine. I’ve done this before and I will do it again. It wasn’t until the challenges started rearing their heads like sea monsters above the waves that I knew it was a different kind of day.
While I may receive guidance in times that I specifically ask for it, there are also times I receive it unlooked for and I guess I think of those more as signs. Like, hey over here, wake up, go left not right, buy that thing now or even more arresting, would you please just stop! Usually it shows up as a song, picture, or passage in a newspaper or even a literal sign! It’s not essential that I know where it comes from or why I am noticing it, it’s enough to know deep in my bones that I do.
When on the way to daycare my nephew had a poop explosion in the stroller and I had no supplies, but I knew I would be fine. It was a quick thinking scramble but I’ve been in the trenches of mommy-hood so I took it in stride and said,
“Yup, message received.” It will be this kind of day and I had shit to do, pardon the allusion. It was officially the kind of day that presents you with challenges. The ones you can figure out if you get your head on straight and believe in your own ingenuity. You can and will reach success with exhausted pride.
When I went into the post office I looked up to the August calendar that sported a large photograph of a sunflower, the flower Kara first brought me when we dated, the flower we made the symbol of our wedding, the flower my friend McKell stalked the city for in November 2012 to have at my wife’s funeral. This sign was not so much a kick in the gut but a gentle telegram that told me she was with me; this was because the word “Thrive” was scrawled across it accompanying a quote by Maya Angalou,
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”
If Kara could send me anything today this undoubtedly would be it. It told me, pay attention, you are not just surviving, you are thriving baby and I love you. It sent me out of the post office feeling loved, strong and calm. I continued on my get shit done mission, catching a streetcar to the vet to pick up my elderly cat’s pain medication. As I waited for another streetcar I envisioned getting onto one bound for the beaches, where I could grab lunch and head to the beautiful and unvisited library, reading the book I was engrossed in all the way.
I am not a rapid reader but I have crashed my way through several series this summer, two by Juliet Marillier a New Zealand born author of historical fantasy novels. The current addiction I was barrelling through was Seer of Sevenwaters the second in two trilogies about a family who usually has a set of twins that are telepathically linked, one healer and one who has the gift of sight. In this book the seer is Sibel who is destined to be a Druid and can read the signs of the ancient gods in many forms.
The beautiful simplicity of the universe is that it works with what it has to reach the people it must. Standing there waiting for a west bound streetcar on Queen St. I was disappointed as many northbound ones passed me by. I had reached the moment in my novel where the mysteries were unravelling, the leap of faith became a sprint and they were not sure if the sea dragon was going to rip them to shreds or let them live, when something happened. The brave scribe that lost his brother in the treacherous sea voyage to Ireland composes a song that was almost like a spell, there it was on page 375…
“Come here, come here, You creature fine, Oh come away with me, I will give you hearth and home, And children one, two three.”
As anyone who attended my wedding could tell you, Come Away With Me by Norah Jones was our wedding song. This was a sign from the universe to stop…and grieve. I retreated to the parking lot behind the vet before my sorrows washed out of me. When you most need it, it comes and I cried until I was empty and boarded a northbound streetcar. I had to go north anyways to pick up my son but it was more than that.
“Come away with me” I said to Kara. “Come sit and have lunch with me.”
“A date?!” I heard her elated reply.
“Yes, let’s go somewhere we’ve never been.”
Turns out that somewhere was closed and I ended up at Factory Girl holding a gin and tonic. Even though Kara thought drinking gin was like “sucking on a pine tree” I figured she would not mind if I used it to toast us. I cried anew as Nat King Coles Unforgettable started playing over the speakers and stammered out my toast. It was a toast to us, to our anniversary, to our beautiful son and the bravery that all one, two, three of us have summoned in order to thrive, apart.