Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The perfect thwack . . .


The other day I shot my bow. We are in our January thaw here in Wisconsin, so I took advantage of it. It felt good to pull back the string, relax my breathing and let go. It’s my new happy place. I was surprised how natural I now feel with the bow in my hands. For some unknown reason, I have an instinct for this. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. But, it feels right. I draw the bow string, inhale, aim, release. My heart slows as my breathing cleanses my nerves, body and mind of its clutter. And, oh, how I love the thwack!
Thwack? Yes, the thwack. It’s the sound the tip of the arrow makes when it connects with the target. I know where on the target my arrow has hit just by the sound. It’s louder around the edges, but the closer I get to the center, the sweet spot, the thwack is solid, fluid and reminds me of the sound and splash a diver makes when she hits the water at just the right angle.
I had had a couple of days of blinding sorrow, sideswiped by grief and longing. Unfortunately, I have discovered that year two of mourning the loss of my husband is no less painful than the first year. It just manifests itself differently. I had been made painfully aware in the last few days that this life I now live is permanent. Gary really isn’t coming back. Of course, my head has known this all along, but somewhere hidden behind my heart was this hope, this unrealistic, fantasy-type hope that he would. We did the hard stuff, now we get to move on with our life together, right?  Sadly, no. The right side of my bed is still empty. And, every morning when I open my eyes, it all begins again. Where am I and what has happened to my life?  I spend the rest of the day trying to figure that out.
But, the other day, when I released that first arrow and heard the thwack, the bull’s eye thwack, the perfect thwack, something inside of me broke loose. I stood very still with the bow at my side, my quiver full of arrows and my left shoulder still in position toward the target. Then, it dawned on me what it was. For the first time in fifteen months I felt alive.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to cry some more, long some more, and wish him back, but it won’t kill me. And one day after I’ve shot a thousand arrows or more, my heart may hurt just a little less.
God still keeps watch.

~ deb

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