From the journal:
“Why can’t I enjoy a warm, summer day? Am I so numb and apathetic that I can’t be invested in pursuing joy and finding contentment in things that once made my heart sing and set my mind free? Am I so tired that I can still feel sad on days like this? Am I so hurt that I can’t even take in how lovely life is?
“Maybe I just don’t feel happiness as strongly as I used to. Or maybe it’s still there just not in the same way it was before.
“The birds are singing. A few steps away from my bench a speckled orange butterfly clings to a purple allium flower, feasting to its heart’s content. Steph just walked by and we chatted for a little . . . A girl in a blue dress just sat down at the bench across from mine. She’s kind and I want to befriend her. My glasses cast a rainbow on the page.”
I know if I don’t write it down it’s gone forever. Hence the rush to document even the little things. If I don’t, it’ll pass me by. I’ll barely stumble my way through this life and not stop to pay attention to anything for fear of what I might find. I’m forcing myself to pay attention.
I’m forcing myself to pray.
Dr. Kriner asks me if I want to take a walk with her. She lets me know she wants to listen, to hear me, to see me, to know who I am and what I’m experiencing. She says she’s been praying for me (and each pilgrim on this trip) and God gave her the sense that something wasn’t quite right. So, she reached out.
Now we’re downtown, getting ice cream and talking about depression. We’re talking about strawberries and bunnies and golden hour and writing and what it means to suffer as an artist and a creative. We’re talking about adulthood, and how nobody is really good at it.
We’re talking about fear.
I choose to write my close-reading paper at 1am. Relationship and vulnerability are more important to me at this moment than a rough draft due at 7am before class.
The three of us talk about heartbreak. We want this pilgrimage to bring us healing. We want this pilgrimage to bring us freedom. We want this pilgrimage to bring us peace.
We’re not alone in this.
We can’t leave anything behind. All our baggage is coming with us. But I hope and pray that through our experiences, through our conversations, through the art we encounter, through prayer and journaling, we will be able to leave small packages of pain along the side of the road. I pray we will have the strength to let it go, that we will be ready to let it go.
I can’t hold on to certain things or people anymore. I think that’s a good thing.