On Ducks and Water

Reader Contribution by Angela Pomponio
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After two semi comatose days unpacking, laundering, cleaning and Christmas decorating this morning I was faced with the cold slap of what my friend Claudia termed ‘post India stress disorder.’  While in the duck yard of all places, perhaps in this moment my overloaded senses allowed a gap for entry, I realized I don’t know what to do with my India experience.

My last few nights have been a slow motion nocturnal slideshow of hallowed eyes, babies in miniature, petite mothers sculpted down to the size of middle school children and roving forgotten animals.  The nightmares aren’t really, as the reality is so much more foul smelling, hopeless, and unjust than any manifestation of my brain.

The sweetness of home, joyous nature of children and feelings of time well spent are a tentative thread holding me above the precipice of abject pain and neglect.  I am moving through my home and conversations thoroughly disbelieving of my own worthiness, yet secretly profoundly thankful.  I feel as if I somehow cheated and walked away with a lotto win.

The gifts of food and personal security, self worth in the greater world, hope for my child, career and family choices, and the safety nets that have given me freedom from true fear and loss are like luxurious fat enveloping and cushioning me from reality.  The seemingly random nature of the universe, never so obvious as when looking into the dull eyes of a child on the brink of death, does not make me feel lucky.  Instead I am home to my loving and healthy family, on our dream homestead and left feeling that I didn’t earn this, do not deserve this in the narcissistic way I had formerly thought.  By accident of birth I was afforded confidence in my place and opportunity in the world.  For me it was a case of get up and go fishing, where for many there is no pond in which to cast a line.

With a clarity born under an equally clear Idaho sky I realized my road had only two possible routes at this time.  Like the encapsulated droplets on the backs of our ducks on this 8 degree F morning; I can protect myself.  I can pull into my warm dry center, letting the sorrow and injustice roll off and take the joy and beauty with.  The path that demands jumping off over the edge and committing is less clear.  To drink it in, pathogens, neglect, hope and scarred beauty all becoming one with my cells invites the sadness in.  But with it, a bit of the God that is in each of us.  

This morning I choose to drink of life, and feel myself to my very soul become a child of this world.