The convergence of loss and gain by R. Dickerson
I am the convergence of loss and gain, the product of tragedy. To attempt to narrow what I am, what I have become to a singular event, to just one person would be too simplistic, too vague. I am a series of unfortunate circumstances, the victim of conditions thrust upon me that are far beyond my imagination or comprehension. How does one deal with the fact that every woman he has ever loved has had to suffer, in one way or another, while he is forced to play the role of the glorified onlooker, a heart bleeding but unable to help? Their enemies become my enemies, ones you canít hold on to, ones you canít grab by the throat and silence, no; foes that remain the unseen. First there was my mother, a schizophrenic, there but then again not. She was a dove with broken wings and had a mind that tortured her daily. Also my daughter, God rest her soul, betrayed by a body that failed her, a heart that had to be replaced, only to fail her again in the end. And then there is Susan, the one I love now, the only one left. Life crippled her from the onset, gave her a mind that is her own worst enemy, an accuser, a screaming stream of not good enough and never will be.
As a man, you see, you are expected to protect the women you love, the ones that God has blessed you with, but I never stood a chance. These conditions that plagued them were irreversible, unfixable. Even the doctors were never enough, how then could I be?
It is one thing to suffer yourself, it is quite another to watch these things slowly drain the life out of those that you love, reducing them to a shattered reflection of what could have been, should have been. While others have memories of the smell of hot apple pie, I am the one condemned to hollow hospital hallways, ice cold examination rooms and the stench of disinfectant and sanitary cleansers. I am the one forced to grapple with ďThereís nothing else we can doĒ and ďThere is no cure for this.Ē
Is it fair, does that matter? To be honest fair died for me long ago, along with my hopes for a normal life. Far is great for football and checkers, but it wonít replace stolen years or broken dreams, a little girls hopes or an older manís pleas. No a fair is something you go to, it is never the place where one lives. As for me, I live in places you donít want to visit; I have danced upon stages you donít want to tread. Not without God by your side.
Mine are the places where whatís real and what is not blend, where the two become one and you can no longer distinguish between them. Itís like tap dancing in a minefield, always knowing that the next step could be the one that kills you, or worse, kills the one you love. It has been hard. It has crushed me at times, in fact, it almost did kill me. At the very least, it has left me openly wondering, asking GodĒ What it is that I have done, what sin have I committed to bring these burdens down upon me?Ē You see, it had to be me, it couldnít have been them, for these soft creatures are angels, all three. Never have I seen such love, such concern for others as I have seen in them. These three women have defied the odds, they have risen above what is possible and shown me what love is really capable of. Love can help you to make something from nothing, exceed what is expected and more. I have watched these fair maidens give in ways that only they could. I have seen them set themselves to the back so that the needs of others came first, even when their needs were greater. In them I have witnessed strength beyond comprehension, far beyond what is human. Words like courage and bravery cannot describe what I have seen. In them I have seen love as it should be; a love that is forgiving, a love that is gracious. A love that is never proud or self-promoting. In them lives the love of the Christ. Funny thing, there can be no victory without first a battle, and that is what makes their victories so big; the fact that they think them so small. ďOh, itís nothing,Ē my mother would say. Nothing indeed, it is everything.
And that is where I find the gain. They have been my greatest blessing, but as Jon Foreman says, ďEvery blessing comes with a set of cursesĒ and he was right, oh how he was right. The sheer torture of it all, the shattered dreams, the nightmares, the sleepless nights next to hospital beds, pleading with God for just one more minute. In amongst these moments of despair there is hope. When I find myself weak, I have these three for my strength. When hopeless, I have them for my inspiration. And when I want to give up, to call it a day, I have them for my reason to live. Yes, in the folds of the curses are blessings, in the middle of loss I find gain. And as hard as itís been to live through it all, I can say itís been worth all the pain. For tonight, when I lay my head down on my pillow, tonight, with my sleep will come peace. For I know I sleep next to a miracle, and she is my blessing to keep. God be praised, I am the convergence of loss and of gain, and Iíd have it no other way.