FEBRUARy 6, 2020
I am weeping hysterically. I am smiling ecstatically. I am struggling to breathe. And I cannot stop doing any one of those things, even as I type this right now (which would be quite the sight for any one of you to see, I am sure). I just finally dared to click a link to a video that has been sitting in my inbox for weeks, though I could not yet bring myself to open — because of the unbearably painful place and dark headspace I’ve been struggling to escape. The 18 minute and 18 second video which followed brought me to tears immediately and then evoked pure laughter, as I was overcome with startlingly powerful emotions, seeing the faces of some of my best friends on planet earth, hearing their voices speak, sing, tell stories, looking at images of amazing moments frozen in time, reading quotes from heroes and leaders, including sage wisdom from my friends themselves.
Through their words, I saw myself through new eyes, as I do with every beautiful message from souls the world over. I cannot believe the goodness of my community, strength of the bonds we share, resonance of my words, beauty they see in me, and degree to which my closest friends (and strangers alike) support me eternally — and live that, prove that, mean that. What a privilege to call these humans my chosen family, having been by each others’ sides for years, in every place and context and setting imaginable. Thinking about cherished memories (wondrous, ridiculous and in between) and unbreakable ties makes me feel reconnected to the life I once knew, while also giving me bright lights to look forward to — WHEN I am ready. These are my people, who know my ins and outs, inspire me, support me, and remind me of better days, fun to be had, work to be done, life to live out side-by-side in all its crazy glory and wild unknowns. With both what they said and how they said it, I had this sense of rediscovery of self — of me.
I sat shaking, crying and entirely overwhelmed — and then reached for my phone. I had a sudden urge to call one of my friends, who had sent the email with the link to the video, wherein he sang to me (horrendously) beside his vivacious wife, his sister channeled energies and sprit in profound ways, his parents humbled me with their love and respect (as the art supplies they mailed me sit just across my table). And so I pressed his name in my recent missed call log. I didn’t think twice, despite the fact that I haven’t made a phone call to a single friend in many months — and have only picked up maybe three or four at random good moments, including once today, which perhaps built momentum.
He was clearly stunned to see my name appear on his screen, despite the fact that he called and left another voicemail just this weekend, records voicenotes regularly, sends texts, emails, is on various threads, comments, messages, sees my name and communicates with me all the time across many platforms. But he has not heard my voice, nor have I called since my accident. I didn’t have adequate language to express how I felt, only incalculable love and immeasurable gratitude — which he felt, he sensed, he reaffirmed. We cried, we marveled, we mumbled, as I clutched my pained jaw. Even now, as I write to try to process the flood of emotions, feelings and thoughts that this video generated (which he told me to go do, because he knows me so well), I am at a loss for words.
Everything has meant and means so much to me: each text and voicemail and comment and message and emoji and DM and email and and and from everyone, individually as well as all together. I really truly mean that with every fiber of my being. I read them in random orders at odd hours, crying and beaming and counting my blessings, often screenshotting content so I can relive its magic at a later date. Never underestimate the power of a gesture or note — setting the intention, taking time and making it a reality.
I haven’t a clue what tomorrow will bring, or even tonight for that matter, but this is a feeling I haven’t experienced in months — and, dare I say, feels… good.
On some level, opening that video now feels like an unconscious opening of a door that my friends can now begin to step through — an opening to humans I love, to relationships I treasure, and to the greater world I’ve missed — five months to the day after my accident. When I tried to put the beginnings of that idea into words, my friend simply said: “Keep listening to that opening.” I watched the video at the exact right moment, even though they began to make it months ago, compiled clips over time, sent the link later than expected, and then the email sat unopened in my inbox for weeks. It is b’shert (“meant to be,” for the non-Yiddish speakers). I clearly needed this, but only now that I am able to receive with an open heart and feel the reignition of a spark within that is both fueled by and radiating outward toward something greater — you, fam, peoplehood, humanity.
I am still crying, still smiling, still short of breath, still overwhelmed, and somehow kind of want to remember this moment forever.