In response to Daily Prompt “Take Care” https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/take-care/
That’s Mirror Lake at the Japanese Garden here in Buffalo. I go to the Garden to relax and reflect, to meditate and be one with myself. The last time I was there was over a month ago which is when I took this picture. Winter is here, and granted that there have been more mild days than usual, it’s still enough to put a damper on spending extended time outdoors. Soon the scenery will change too- no more green grass or flowing water. All will be blanketed with snow and ice. So a picture seemed like a good way to inspire an imaginary escape to my favorite spot to find some peace and quiet on days when I couldn’t be there physically. I’ve been working on this post in my head for weeks now, never knowing just how to articulate the emotions I underwent during my time away. Reading today’s topic for Daily Post and staring at this picture now, I think I’m finally ready to speak out.
Life hasn’t been easy over the last several weeks. I never thought I would one day find myself unemployed. With each passing day and with each new bill, I saw myself inching closer to the possibility of going broke. I was offered jobs but none that I could take due to immigration restrictions. I was trying to make things work, but the day after Thanksgiving all my efforts ran into a dead end, all at once. I always considered myself an optimist but it was impossible to hold on to hope that day. I wanted my life to end before it got any worse.
Sitting alone in a dark room that evening I started to find a morbid solace in the idea of death. For a fleeting instant I thought I could do it- take my own life. Then I saw Milo staring at me with his big eyes, like he was saying “I love you”. I remembered what a scaredy cat he was when I rescued him. He had been surrender by his former family. It took him a long time to regain his confidence, and finally feel secure and at home with me. Now he is a playful cuddlebug who is constantly purring. When I brought Izzie and Milo home, I made a promise that I would never abandon them; that I would love them unconditionally and look after them come what may. It suddenly occurred to me how selfish the idea of death was. How could I abandon my babies? How could I take their home away? I spent the next hour lying on the floor, wailing, begging for strength to face life and honor my promises. I remembered the closing paragraph from Robert Frost’s Stopping by woods on a snowy evening (source: PoetryFoundation.org)
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep”
So while I may have rescued my cats, they are the ones to save my life…
I have friends I could have reached out to that evening, or called my family. But the one thing I’ve realized is that in that dark moment when a person succumbs to believing that the pain of living is far worse than pain of dying what one really needs is a reminder that life is worth living, even in its darkest hour. The journey to rediscovering the joy of living is something one must embark on alone. People can only talk you out of a decision momentarily. No words, no matter how sincerely said, can make a difference if the heart isn’t at peace.
In a way I was unwell that evening, and I did need help. But I have always hesitated asking for help, especially from those I truly love and care about. Perhaps it is unfair to them that I shut them out when they really want to be there for me, but it’s something I have never been able to do. It could very well be some form of pride- I don’t want people to see me in my weakest, most unattractive moments- I want to be seen, and remembered, as someone always full of life. Or it is my way of protecting people from harm. I could not bear to see them worried on my account. I will let the jury call a verdict on that but the simple answer to today’s question is that I suffer alone and I don’t ask for help. I find inspiration, faith, courage, or whatever else the situation demands in my own way and, almost always in my own heart.
PS: Things are finally beginning to look up again. I have a job offer that should check all the boxes for immigration. Although it also means it’s time to sever the umbilical that joins me to Buffalo, I’m excited about the brand new possibilities in a brand new year! Buffalo is where my heart is, maybe I’ll find a way back eventually, but for now an adventure is beckoning me and I’m answering the call in highest of spirits 🙂 It also means I will have a lot to share and write about!