What the Witch Doctor Told Me

The wound I closed with care is doing well, pink but less and less tender, healing slowly over pizza dinners and long talks about gender and a shared vocabulary of mountains and rivers.

The wound I forced shut with urgent sutures still stuns me on sunny mornings with a throbbing I’d rather ignore but dreams insist otherwise. I think I must tug at it in my sleep because sometimes I wake up bleeding, needing to name the blessing of what remains unresolved, the unsolved mysteries of a heart’s hasty seams and ragged endings, the sharp unmet demands that never quite felt like love.

Unable to leave the door cracked open, I may have saved myself by severing my fingers in the jambs slammed shut. I turned away from the cracked mirrors where all either of us could see were our broken reflections.

I come here today not believing in original sin or original stories, but to beg for relief from my own darting mind. I don’t know whether I’m prey or predator when I lose myself flying restlessly over this jagged scar, trying to believe that my truth was never a lie but a swift and unpredictable wind that carried me–because I was paying not a price but attention–to a desert peak where the sky knew my names, where the clouds drifting by made their unconditional offering.

What are we talking about when we talk about moving on, or coming home? Stop picking at the scabs, and the wounds will heal on their own–not because we talked about it, but because we stopped talking about it. Not because we understood, but because we stopped trying to understand. Not because we gave up the ghost, but because we saw that the ghosts are not the living, and we chose to live.

We may go to our graves wishing it could have been otherwise, damning the rough fault lines that run the full lengths of our bodies that no matter how hard we try, won’t let us forget. Sometimes it’s just like that. The sun sets and the sun rises again, and we can either fight or we can fold with some measure of grace, accepting what was and what wasn’t, whose fault it was no longer a question.

I used to wonder what would happen if I pulled up the emergency brake while speeding down the highway. Then on a night in June I finally found out. Years later, I woke in a new bed from a dream about a wound that wouldn’t heal, and called on a witch doctor to relieve me of the rest of the story. She handed me a spoon and said, “The war is over. My work here is done.”

5 thoughts on “What the Witch Doctor Told Me

  1. April says:

    This is where I am, except before the break, wondering how I could be doing this, and yet the true center never changing. Will I always wonder? Is there peace? I know there is no peace without following the awakening faithfully, attending to it with our trusting hearts. I know I can see pieces, and the pieces can be enough to keep me present. You are such an example of that. Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

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