I write this post from the center of Kansas in Wilson, which is close to the center of the continental United States. I sit in the center of a handsome leather chair while watching Oliva Newton John shock John Travolta by showing up at the fair in black leather. A yippy yappy dog barks outside, and I wonder if I’m going to hate that dog by morning. Everything is happening at the center of everything which, depending on what edges you’re measuring from, could be anywhere. By this same logic, the center could easily be the edge also, which is also true.
This week has crazy quilt of centers and edges. Driving through the Flint Hills this morning, I was so exhilarated with the beauty of the bright blue sky against the rise and fall of hills that I had to wonder what was wrong with me, given that Lou died two days ago. Since then, I’ve been crying on and off, unable to concentrate, and feeling that crazy ache that comes from grief. Nothing made sense, and everything seemed inexorably scattered and tangled. Until it wasn’t.
The other day at Z’s, Stan gave me a hug and told me that when loss happens, everything is more vivid, and you can see and feel into the center of each moment. It’s true, but of course, having grieved, we now know the pathway to that rich, tender, heart-breaking and alive moment available when we’re in the center of joy or at the edges of despair. I will try to remind myself of this when, about 3 a.m. or so, I wake cursing the barking dog, and especially tomorrow night when I gather with others at the center of our community to say Kaddish for Lou.