Image courtesy of David Martin, Unsplash
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
["East Coker" from the Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot]
[Originally published on December 2, 2020]
Out of the blue, it hit. Hit me hard. I felt so deflated, sucked of energy. So much so I had to take a day off work that Wednesday, just to regroup.
Seemed so strange to me, as it had never happened quite like this before. Because that Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, was 15 years to the day that my husband, Steve, had been called home to be with his Lord.
Maybe it was because 15 years seemed like some sort of milestone. I really don’t know. All I knew was, I had to take a step back from the normal tempo of daily life. And pause to ponder, experience, and live through all that was seeping up from inside. I guess it’s true that even after all this time, grief takes you on its own journey.
And it was OK. And I was going to be OK. I had to pause to cradle all that was going on inside. I had to honor it. Explore it, examine it. But mostly, I had to let it be. And let me be, through it all.
Times like these called for special self-nurture. So I began my day with some Lowcountry comfort food (a crab cake eggs benedict on a biscuit) at a new place I had wanted to try, and reading a book I’d just bought.
Then under a bright blue sunny sky, I went for a walk, exploring some places I’d been wanting to explore. First up and down the Mt. Pleasant Fishing Pier, nestled under the Ravenel Bridge, enjoying the surrounding Southern marshes and the view of Charleston Harbor.
Then I walked the bridge, from Mt. Pleasant to Charleston and back, a 6-mile trek. Enjoying the spectacular view of Charleston Harbor, Patriot’s Point, and the city skyline. On the leg back, it finally hit me. This bridge, too, was in its 15th year. Built to replace the Grace and Pearman bridges, this magnificent soaring structure has become one of the iconic images of Charleston. In fact, to commemorate this past, small portions of both old bridge’s steel were reshaped into bridge-shaped plaques and placed within view of bridge walkers.
I discovered some interesting parallels of this bridge I walked this day. This bridge spans both banks of the Cooper River, symbolically linking the old bridges to the new, spanning both space and time. Just as I was experiencing this day in the here and now, in the past and future. Of where I had been and where I am going. Of my own journey through space and time.
I walked this bridge. Not just any bridge. But the iconic bridge of Charleston. Charleston, a city that had beckoned me through the years as my dream destination. And here I was having fulfilled that dream a scant four months’ prior, by God’s grace and blessing.
On this day, Charleston and its iconic bridge became the pivot point between my past and my future. Yet this bridge, the Ravenel, was also more. In the soaring majesty of its pristine white iron frame and delicately spun steel cables forming giant sails over the roadway, it was a sailing ship taking me toward my future. Toward new horizons, new adventures. And a new life.
I love my new city. And its bridge. And now I’m ready to soar.
If you'd like to learn more about what I learned about life and living as I shared my husband, Steve's, cancer journey, I invite you to read my book: Embrace Each Day with Joy.