Wholly Strange and New by Bridget Pilloud
When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?
Write about that moment. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, let the miracle play out in your mind’s eye and write about that moment in your future.
(Author: Bridget Pilloud)
I remember a day, about a month after Roby died. It was February and the sun was shining - it was one of those teaser days where the weather turns spring-like and we all take off our coats for a week and then it goes back to being all gray and gloomy and winter-like. I went out to lunch with a friend in NW Portland - I think we went to Santa Fe. Roby and I had eaten there together a million times and at Maya's (the sister restaurant downtown). It was a Roby place.
My friend and I both worked in K-12, so I'm thinking we probably met on President's Day or something like that...maybe MLK day. I remember sitting at the table talking to John about how things were going and I smiled - the first genuine, non-tortured smile, the first smile I didn't feel all my grief rushing up through me. He noticed and asked me about it. It was that moment - a brief lunch with a friend - when I realized that it would all be okay. It wouldn't be easy, but my life wasn't over. We started talking about walking the path alone - that afternoon, I started to realize that I didn't really know myself anymore - incremental changes had really obscured my own preferences. When Roby started getting sick - actually showing some symptoms - everything tasted too salty to him, so we changed where we ate when we went out. He liked horror movies, so we saw those. I knew our time was limited together, so I accommodated. I didn't mind, but after years of that, I realized I didn't recognize myself.
Sometimes I still don't, but after all these years (it will be 16 years this January), I'm mostly settled into myself and who I am.
Even so, there are things to discover that are wholly strange and new. That's what keeps ups coming back for more, right?