Sometimes, I'm convinced that I am cursed. Sometimes, I'm absolutely certain that my Higher Power, whom I mostly call God, but occasionally call something more suitable for an R-18 rated essay - I am certain that S/He is, in actuality, God's evil twin, and S/He is definitely out to get me.
I know this because life can be really crappy. Not just the every day crappy of traffic jams and paper cuts. I'm talking the huge, almost insurmountable crappy that can seep into all the cracks of your life, spreading over everything, until it's just ooze, from here to infinity plus three. It's all that big stuff that tears you apart, fills you with shame, tastes like despair. And after two or three or six times you realize that the bottom you swore you had finally landed on turns out to be just another trap door - all of that crap seems to wrap around you like cotton, muffling all the sounds, and blurring all the light.
Hard to see blessings through all that cotton batting and those loose trap doors.
So I curse, from the depths of whatever sub-basement of the six kinds of hell into which I've fallen. And into that echo-y, empty space that contains no light and holds less hope, I cry and mumble and dream and yell (depending upon the day, or the phases of the moon, or just how depressed/angry/ scared I really am) a string of invective that could blister ice. I swear - really, really swear. And I curse. A helluva lot.
There's not a blessing to be found.
This is what I tell myself: I must be cursed, and since this must be true, I only have curses to give. And I give them all to God. That's what fills this basket I carry with me - my anger. My pain. My despair. All the broken bits and open wounds. I carry it all with me, cursing God, cursing me, over and over, again and again.
But at some point in my twisty, winding, stumbling life, I learned this one holy thing: this, too, shall pass.
It is a holy thing. Trite to be sure, but no less a holy statement for all of that. This will pass. I know this, I have experienced is time and again, yet I wrap myself in that cotton, I slog through that desert of ooze that sucks at my feet and swallows my shoes, I curse and I moan and feel lost in forever. And I am surprised, still (always), that it does. There are times when I have no idea why it passes, just that one day, I felt buried by a mound of fifty-seven things that I couldn't climb on a good day with every superhuman power anyone could ever think of, and the next I wasn't.
Don't get me wrong. The crappy stuff, from tiny and stupid and annoying to the huge stuff that crushes your spirit and sips at your soul - all that crappy stuff is still there. The job is still lost. The bills are still stacked and overdue. People you love still die. Life is still hard.
What changes though, is not the stuff. What changes is you. Perhaps it's all the cursing. I am convinced that it doesn't ever matter what you pray, only that you pray. It is my continuing conversation with God - whatever God's name I call Her/Him, whatever mask I demand God wear - that makes a difference and changes me.
I don't know the mechanism for this change, or the equation that solves for X, where X is my pain, traveling along the Y-axis of my doubt divided by time and intention. I have no clue, and I am, much to my surprise, okay with that. I am learning to let be, let go, breathe. And you know what? That, too - that enlightened, spiritually wonky place of serenity and being-ness - that, too will pass. No matter how tightly I hold on, they pass.
Here's what I do know - when I stumble, when I stagger under the weight of my despair, there have been people who have caught me and carried me until I found firmer ground to stand on. There have been hands to hold in the darkness, shoulders upon which to lean and hearts to shine a light on hidden paths. I have been offered kindness, I have felt love. I have seen my son smile and heard him laugh as if pain had never been invented.
I may carry my curses with me, lugging them along as I trudge from place to place. But I carry my blessings, too.
I am blessed beyond imaging.
Once we were slaves, now we are free.