Wednesday, April 2, 2014
But most of her runs were like this one, solitary, as she pounded the shit out of the path, crying out to in despair. She was a Christian yoga teacher as well, but she couldn't do yoga right now. She needed something brutal, punishing, and painful, like our new lives. Besides, who was she to be spouting off to her students about the goodness and provision of God when everything she'd ever believed felt cut off and upended now, lost in seconds in a stupid creek?
Sometimes she prayed to see a blue jay on her runs, ever since we'd started associating blue jays with our "rare bird." They rarely came. On this morning's run Liz was angry. Angrier than usual. Why give Jack a huge heart, if he couldn't use it beyond 12 years? Why did her kids have to suffer the loss of someone so beloved-- why did her son lose his best friend in the world? Why do evil and darkness and lies flourish? Why would she have to lose her mother so young, then her nephew, and now most likely her sister, changed forever by the scars of grief? And what did all this mean to her faith?
As Liz approached a familiar line of pine trees, she saw a flicker of color in one. Blue. Finally, a blue jay. Her breath caught and she smiled, then kept on running. The blue jay sailed up and flew to the next tree, further down the path. As Liz ran, so it flew, from tree to tree to tree until it disappeared into the woods.
The bird seemed playful, as if it were teasing her. Liz felt her anger dissipate. A peace washed over her. She told me later that the message she felt in that moment was, "I am okay and joyful and I love you. I know you are suffering. I am here to bring you joy and comfort."
Liz has since moved away from that town, from that trail. But she still looks for blue jays. She doesn't care when people tell her blue jays are ungainly creatures with a mean streak that runs a mile deep. That they aren't all that "rare." To her they are beautiful. And the one that kept her company that day was clever and loving and full of comfort.
Just like someone else she knew.