The lyric I almost pulled from Norah Jones’ latest asks, “are we broken?” That’s a question that has camped in my brain far too frequently this past week. In America, we’re taking our own lives with increasing frequency the CDC reports. At the same time as that news was breaking, the lives of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were ending. They join other prominent names of the last year or so that have killed themselves.
The language of suicide is blunt. I want euphemisms, but there are none that don’t mask the harshness of the act. Like many others, Bourdain’s death has thrown me for a loop and, like many others, this is not the first time suicide has come through the door with its terrible chaos. Every time it hits close, I cycle through anger and empathy and wondering why. The answer to that one is simple though even if it isn’t satisfying: they were hurting.
This time, I’ve tried to be different. I read and remembered. Serendipity was having a breakfast planned at Petit Trois Le Valley early Saturday morning where I had the best-scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten and hugged my friends. I visited with my barber and listened to her talk about her impending nuptials while she cut my hair, a reminder that life keeps moving. Her excitement and anxiety showed me that hope and possibility still live here. I went in a darkened theatre and watched eight women fill the screen with charm and an unusual lack of bombast and enjoyed the pleasant romp.
Today’s meditation, The Joy Lens, suggests taking unadorned appreciation for the things you and others enjoy. The sexual. The sensual. The delicious. The physical. The experiential. The simple. The complex. The Joy Lens would have us not lose sight of those things even when things are hard.
Even when we’re sad. Even when what’s happened fails to make sense.
I’ve tried to do that this weekend. To fill my heart with joy to take up the space that has emptied as it cries out for losses felt deeply.
Are we broken? Maybe. But we’re also beautiful. And still here.
And I’m grateful.
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