The second day of a brand new year and I’m standing in a small piece of Cambridgeshire, throwing a ball for Leonard The Dog. I’m trying to find the right word… overwhelmed, daunted, hopeless, helpless… a whole litany of words that mean, I can’t go on, swim around my head. I just want to put my head down. On the wet muddy ground. On a pillow. In my hands. Just down.
I wonder if this is the giant version of waking up each morning to find myself still here. A year feels a lot bigger than a day. And a day regularly feels too much. My mind is moaning and groaning and it becomes a hopeless mantra: it’s too hard, I whisper. It’s just too hard.
It’s funny, but for all my kindness to my own depression and my talk, love notes and forgiveness, I don’t let myself feel just how hard it is, to keep going, that often. I am feeling the full force of it now. And as you know, if you’ve been kind enough to read me, I don’t hate life, or blame it, or even argue with it that much. Recently, someone asked me how I was. Tired, I told her. What have you been doing, to get so tired, she said. Dragging myself around is tiring, I said back. I’m always tired and always have been.
One of the small rituals that hold me, is an Angel Card in the morning. Once I get vertical, I light a candle and take a card. Each angel card has a word written on it. A pack of tenderness. In fact Tenderness is one of the words and I always love it when that one comes out. I choose to read the cards as support, just as the lighting of my candle, lights my road, so do the angels. And I’m telling you this because I also take a card for each new year. This time my card has FAITH written on it.
And as I stood with Leonard The Dog, feeling everything and nothing on January 2nd 2016, I kind of marvelled at the depth and breadth of my Faith. I don’t know how I found the doorway to Keeping The Faith. I’m just grateful beyond measure that somehow I did, because I honestly don’t know what I’d do or be like without it. I mean, I seem to have to keep finding it again and remembering and losing it again, but that’s not the point. Faith keeps finding me and showing me how to be in the world as I am. Even and especially when it’s hard. It’s always hard. It breaks my heart to say that, but not the same way it breaks me not to say it.
On New Year’s Day I went to the beach. My best friend Louise, Leonard The Dog and me, got in the car and drove down to the sea. It took a while and it turned out a lot of other people, families and dogs had, had the same idea. It wasn’t the deserted space we’d imagined. It wasn’t at all like our idea of the day. I ended up weeping because it was all too hard. Louise slipped her arm through mine and we walked back to the car like dear friends do. Leonard ate a small crab.