Hopelessly Human

"I just can't pour from an empty cup," he told her.

"But if you let me," she said, "I will hold the cup while you fill it."


I came home from work last week and couldn't find my cat anywhere. Unusual, considering he is always waiting for me at the window or by the door as my car parks, I didn't think anything of it. Figuring he was lounging around my house or investigating a new house guest that had just checked in, I went about unwinding from my day. But I was scared he was gone. My eyes welled up and I was crushed with the imaginary thought of losing him.

As I went to pour a glass of wine and planned to finish reading the last few pages of a book, I turned around and noticed a small black cat at the back of my legs. I breathed a sigh of relief, maybe the first all month, and took a sip of wine. 

October is a hard month. A month where loss seems so close. In all honesty, as I look back, October has always brought a flood of emotions that have neither been welcomed or expected. The cold comes. It gets dark and warmth fades. The drop into fall often leaves my bones tired. This October seems to be no exception. And like Octobers of the past, I entered the month seemingly unaware that heartache was waiting.

Almost exactly a year ago I took a trip to Puerto Rico. I had been desperately struggling with my health and falling deeper into a cycle of constant busy-ness that did not allow rest or healing. Four days before the election I boarded a plane and soaked in the humid salt air, ran along the blue-brick streets in the rain, and swam in the cool autumn waves. I arrived home just in time to be devastated by the results of the election. I think many will agree that we haven't quiet been the same since that night.

One year later, I sit on the first dark night of daylight savings, wondering where a lot of the light has gone. Of course, there is much joyful light that has beamed in over the last year, but the crushing weight of sorrow has felt like the the pages of calendar are heavier than they have been in the past. And this October, especially the last few weeks, are ones I would not choose to relive. My cup has been incredibly empty, and I've been working real hard to get to know the bottom of that cup without judgement or hate. But it's been hard.

Sometimes I think that we fill our cups with stuff that just isn't right. But fullness, even not-right fullness, is less frightening than discovering what lives at the very bottom. It is less scary than that moment when you pick up the cup, thinking it is full, and have the disorienting realization that the cup is weightless with what one can only feel in the presence of absence. 

And that is when I crumble with the realization that I am hopelessly human.