"I don't get it."
Val says this to me sometimes, in conversation. She's earnestly trying to understand something and I'm just as earnestly trying to explain but sometimes I can't explain adequately and we have to accept that she doesn't get it, for now. And that's okay. Experience and time and growth will teach and make sense out of what doesn't make sense to her now. I trust and know this but it's difficult for her to grasp. She wants to know. And if she wants to, why can't she? I know how she feels.
The last time I remember her saying this to me was as I tried to explain and why and how a heart attack happens.
"I don't get it," she said, "why can't the person know when it happens? How come some people live and some people die?" To her this seems incredibly unjust. To me, too.
I could see her working through the concepts I gave her -- thinking and reasoning... maybe trying to find a way to guarantee heart attack prevention in herself or people she loves. I do that, too, on more levels than just heart attacks.
I explained what I know about human bodies and that a heart attack can happen from a combination of things that can be controlled and sometimes a heart attack can happen because of something outside our control, even when we're doing the best we can. Even when we're doing it "right." Bodies can break. Some bodies are born broken. They aren't always fixed. This is a difficult truth for her to understand. It is for me, too.
She had a hole in her heart when she was born. I forgot to tell her that. She doesn't have it, now, and I am thankful. I was thankful before, too. It seemed nothing at all compared to Trisomy 18, which seemed briefly possible.
Life is a gift however it's handed to us.
But I still don't get it.
I feel like Val, sometimes, when I talk with someone who is more emotionally whole and healthy than I am. My sponsor and other friends in recovery, mostly. Some people go to my church and some go to other churches and some I see at my weekly 12-step group. A completely fascinating bunch of people. (I think maybe I'm easily fascinated by people.)
They answer my fumbling, awkward questions and talk and open their heart and share experiential truth that makes them practically SHINE with peace and love and grace and acceptance. It's what drew me to them in the first place. And I dutifully listen and sometimes take notes but a lot of the time, especially initially, I sat there feeling confused and slightly stupid.
"I don't get it. How come? Why? I don't get it." I felt dull and thick-headed."Can't the person just know when they're going to hurt and prevent it? Why do so many people hurt?"
I want what these strong, grounded, loving people have. I want to be like them. I want to listen and hopefully learn.
They smiled and encouraged and didn't judge and returned my calls and listened to my words and didn't try and fix me and listened reflectively, again and again and again. They continue to answer my questions and not once have made me feel stupid for asking the same thing or for being in the same situation again and again and again. (I've made myself feel stupid.)
I can see my progress, though. Today, this minute, I LIKE myself. I like me, beck, who I am right now. I've stopped judging myself constantly. (!!) I've learned so much about me and I've accepted it and I've taken different actions than I used to. Actions that sometimes lead to... serenity! Now? Well, more than there used to be.
My current struggle has to do with feeling and experiencing a personal connection to a loving Higher Power. I struggle with God. I know a lot but I haven't experienced a lot, personally. I love to listen to people with a strong, healthy connection to God. I love to hear how God works in the lives of people I know and I love to read about God working in the lives of people I don't know.
I'm starting to experience more. I'm starting to make progress and SEE progress. I'm learning to trust. I'm learning to be grateful for a power outside of me, who restores me to sanity and provides all I need.
I still don't get it, a lot of the time. And that's okay. Experience and time and growth will teach and make sense out of what doesn't make sense to me now. If the apostle Paul can learn to be content, I suppose that means it's possible for me, too. In the meantime, I have ample opportunity to practice trust.