Saturday, 25 January 2020 14:20

Then You Didn't

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti
Then You Didn't Photo by Bill Davenport from FreeImages

Once upon a time, you had it all beautifully sorted out. Then you didn't.~Sarah Bessey (From Out of Sorts)

The week felt long, even though it was four days of work instead of five. I'd meant to be extra productive on the MLK holiday--feedback to the artist regarding the website, a vigorous walk, recording quotes I'd discovered from the books I've read, emails to loved ones, researching potential submissions...I did none of it. I had such good intentions, and I'd started out well. I'd gone to Lab Corps to have my blood drawn for a physical later in the week. I'd fasted prior to the labwork, my growling stomach acting as some sort of gold medal that I was doing all the right things that morning. Yet when I got home, I felt exhausted, even after eating my healthy flaxseed muffin that I make almost every day. It was as if that blood draw had sucked out more than blood, draining my energy and psychological resilience as well. "Okay," I said to myself, "Let me sit in this sunny corner of my house and read--just two articles from the Paris Review (I'd bought the subscription for a personal Christmas present). Two articles, then two more, and then I picked up a new library book. I'd meant to get up from that chair and begin my list, the "tik-tok" of my clock like a calming presence there in the sunlit corner. I didn't want to get up. So I stayed until the sun set, until it was time for bed. Then I moved three feet and crawled under the covers and slept, warding off feelings of guilt that I'd gotten nothing done.

That next day I analyzed the guilt. I've learned not to dwell in that negative space too long. What was the emotion trying to articulate? 

I thought I'd decided on a plan for the future, a paradigm for retirement--had it all laid out. But over the last several months, I'd decided on some major changes about where I'd live. I felt as if I was standing near a precipice. I'd backed away from the edge to gain a running start, garnering strength and courage to make the leap to the other side. Could I really do it? It felt like a gallon of adrenaline surged through my limbs. I felt the fear. The doubt. Was it no wonder that I spent the entire day avoiding the enormity of my ambivalence regarding this decision? My silent prayer, "Oh, God how will I ever make that leap on my own? How will I ever do it?"

Then a peaceful realization. An answer. Comfort. "You won't need to make the leap. I've created a bridge. I'll walk beside you. There will be pauses and time for reflection amidst the steps you'll take. No guilt. No shame. A passage to the other side."  

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.