I've spent a large amount of my life in between. I am stuck in the past, re-reading it, dreaming it, mourning things, missing people, trying to figure it all out. My mind stretches out to the future as well: my girl being in elementary school, when she stops wanting me to hold her and breathe in her smell, her going to high school, my parents getting older, imagining where I will be 5 years from now in my professional life. I rarely stay in the "now"; it's next to impossible for me.
During one of my most memorable times in my life, I hung out with a group of people (mostly males) that I really enjoyed spending time with. We were lazy together, watching old movies and making runs to Jack in the Box at 2am. We were silly together, toilet papering each other's houses and drinking until we were giddy with laughter. We shared private things with one another on a regular basis-We would sit in the dark of John's room, all in our own spots-me in a comfy chair, John on his bed, someone spread out on the floor, someone else curled up in another chair. We would play a "truth or dare" of sorts, but without the dares.
(It's funny for me to just now realize that another group of friends I had my senior year of high school did the same thing, except we did it in a friend's truck. We all sat in his truck in the dark, in the middle of a large pasture, and shared fears, dreams, worries, secrets with one another. This just came to me now.)
In the dark, our secrets were safe. Our truths came out so easily. There was very little stuttering hesitation. Sadness over losing a friend was easier to bear in the dark. As was the loss of a long-time relationship or a relative. Complaining about family problems bonded us together as well.
One night, we were all a bit tipsy when we decided to go to a set of railroad tracks. I still cringe when I drive by them, as I was the one who introduced them all to this place. The tracks cut through pasture land, and eventually ran over the local highway. Just before dropping off over the highway, there was a church. We drove behind the church, did a little off-roading in the dirt to get to the tracks, which happened to have a 40 foot drop to a creek below, right behind the church.
We were all in melancholy moods that night; I do remember that. We sat on the tracks for awhile, legs dangling over the bridge, throwing empty beer bottles and rocks into the creek below. It was warm, and I remember wishing for something colder than the beer.
Someone decided that we should do our nightly "Truth or Dare" out here; it was dark, save for the thousands of stars spying down on us.
As we each brought up a truth, the fog over our moods lifted. Except for John.
When it was his turn, instead of speaking up, he stood up. He was extremely drunk by that time, and we didn't know it until we saw him staggering and swaying on the tracks. He didn't drink often, and I had never seen him drunk before.
I don't even remember what he was upset about. I only remember that his truth was that he wanted to die. And he started walking down the tracks, towards the highway.
We had to tread lightly, because if he pulled away from us, it was a good 40-foot drop to the creek below. He made it to the highway, with all of us following behind, begging, comforting, pleading.
Only one of us walked out over the highway with him. Only one of us sat down on the tracks, legs dangling over the busy highway, to talk with him. Only one of us grabbed his arm and talked him into walking back to the safety of solid land.
We drove back to his place in silence. We walked into his dark bedroom, and we all laid down on the floor, while he got in bed. None of us spoke.
I no longer talk to anyone in that group, from that summer. I saw John and one other good friend from that summer, about 8 months ago. They are both well, married, with kids, happy wives, beautiful smiles.
I marvel that none of us knew each other that well, but we shared dark secrets with one another. Our secrets were safe with one another; there was no judging, questioning, or confusion. There were no boundaries, yet, all of us had an unspoken understanding that this was sacred. There was a freedom in sharing with one another, a release of sorts at letting the secret/fear/worry out into the open air.
I drive by that spot where the tracks and the highway meet sometimes, and I think about the girl I was back then. I think about my secrets, my "truths" that I shared with people who are nowhere in my life now, and I wonder what life would have become for all of us if we had never shared with one another.
This is how I feel about the blogging community as well. I think about the strength that comes in numbers, the miracles that happen from people all over the world praying, the things I would not have experienced if I had not begun blogging. I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful people. I marvel at the simple fact that I can truly say I have friends all over this country (and even a few in other countries!), who really know me, in spite of never meeting me. We have shared secrets, fears, truths, griefs with one another, in the dark of our living rooms, taking turns holding one another's hands, lifting one another's chins. I have found people who make me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have found people who help me realize that I am not alone in my experiences. People have found me that lift me up, as I do them. That same freedom exists here, that same release, and I am so thankful, so blessed.