(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)
I’m living a borrowed life at the moment, staying for a few days with a lovely woman in her lovely home. I try to imagine what it would be like to have such a house complete with husband and grandkids, but I can’t. It’s as if I have passed some point of no return — my old settled life is truly gone and my new life as yet unimagined.
Where will I go? Will I feel as unsettled in an unsettled life as I did in a settled one? Will I be able to just let my life happen without trying to fix things or worrying over whatever imperfections I find? I do sometimes ruin things by trying to fix small flaws. For example, I wore my white t-shirt with the dance studio logo on it to the march on Saturday, and I got a small stain on it. In trying to remove that stain, I got a larger stain, and when I tried to clean that . . . Well, all I can say is I now need a new shirt for dance performances.
I try to fix small flaws in myself, too, though I am learning to let myself be. Life is messy, and it’s impossible to remove all the irritating stains that appear on the fabric of our days. The days take care of themselves anyway, disappearing one by one, and all the messiness of those days disappears too.
So much is gone from my life now, but much is still to come. I used to worry that I can’t see the shape of my future, but it doesn’t really matter. If life is unfolding as it should, the future will show itself to me as I move forward. If we create our own destinies, then I will create mine with each step I take. Either way, the future will take care of itself the same way the past did.
One day at a time.