light prevails.

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“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
― John Guare

I’m sitting in a diner, the light brown wood of the tabletop familiar under the standard placemat of bright squares advertising local businesses. No overwhelming feeling of hunger has gripped me, no feeling of anticipation of my order’s arrival has slipped into the corners of my mind. I sit, contentedly, taking in the slight hustle and bustle around me.

I glance to my right, and tilt my head, confused. A familiar face I was not expecting to see meets my gaze steadily, with a smile. I smile back uncertainly.

“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I respond hesitantly. “Is it, ah, is it okay for you to be here? Can you be here right now?”
“Yeah don’t worry, I can be here. How are you?”
I relax a little. “I’m great,” I say happily. “How are you?”
“Really good, I’m doing great,” he says, a tone of sincerity backing his words.

This response fills me with joy. We fall into the happy, comfortable conversation of two people with no walls between them. I couldn’t say if it lasted for minutes or for hours. If you ask me what we talked about, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Something gently warns me our conversation is coming to an end. I look into his eyes, mine suddenly welling with tears. I’m not sure why I’ve just been so overtaken with emotion.

To my surprise, I say, “I’m so scared I won’t remember this. I’m so scared I won’t remember that I talked to you.”

“Don’t worry,” he assures me. “I’ll make sure. I’ll make sure you remember.”
His words comfort me. Everything seems a little fuzzy.

Blackness. I realize my eyes are closed, slowly become aware that I’m laying in my bed, the darkness of night still covering my side of the Earth. I roll over, confused. I realize I’m crying.

It’s been almost five years since I’ve spoken to Chris, five years since any of us have. And yet, I feel it hasn’t even been five minutes. Maybe it hasn’t.

I think about the dream and am overwhelmed with a sense of calm, of comfort. I’ve spent the last five years like my entire family has- keeping my cousin alive in my heart, in my memories. Carrying around the medal of St. Christopher as a token of love, of luck, of protection, of whatever I needed it to be.

Who can say for sure what dreams are? Imaginations run wild? Doors to another reality? Neither of those? Both of them?

I am not sure what I believe about most dreams, but I believe that Chris is doing great. I don’t know why he chose me to share that with, and I don’t know what I think happens to our souls after we leave this world. I don’t think we spend eternity in diners where we never eat, but I’ve come to believe we can meet our friends and family there and tell them how we’re doing.

And although I’m unsure where or when or how or who I’ll be after I die, I very much believe Chris will be there to greet me.

That alone makes me unafraid. That alone makes me hopeful. That alone is enough.

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don’t you (mis)define

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“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” -Allen Ginsberg

Whatever you do, don’t misdefine yourself.

Don’t you dare think that wandering and being lost are the same thing.

Wandering is exploring, learning. It’s a relentless calling to know more. To have no clear destination and not being very intent on arriving- there’s a sense of freedom there, the fundamental hope that anything can happen. There’s a will to experience, a will to enjoy life.

Being lost is desperation, is being afraid. Being lost is panicking in the dark instead of letting your eyes adjust to see what’s around you (because there are things you learn, in the dark, if you choose).

Don’t you mistake letting go for giving up. 

Letting go is knowing that holding on is selfish and destructive, and being brave enough to act on that realization. It’s acceptance, and it’s the truth that the only way to grow is to release what’s comfortable and take a chance on the things that scare you.

Giving up is cowardly, it’s running away- It hurts everyone more than it heals. It leaves people in a lurch instead of setting them free. It’s a lack of conviction.

Don’t you even for a second confuse breaking and being broken.

Breaking is choosing to feel pain so that you can move past it. Embracing everything it is so you can remember how it feels.  It’s the short term destruction that sets up a more solid foundation. Breaking is something you do as opposed to something you are.

Being broken is fighting the pain because you’re clinging to the past. You’re too afraid of what you’ll see when you get up to do anything but lay on the floor. It’s something you let take over you instead of something you own.

I may be breaking, but don’t you dare think I’m broken.