I don’t believe in signs. Neither an ordered universe (as my daughter might say, since neither is her efficient substitute for either/nor/or).
I also don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason.” I believe that we bring reason to our unruly narratives and fashion a story that seems reasonable.
But these days, I find I’m spending my sleepless night reassuring myself with those very platitudes. They bring some comfort at three a.m.
They actually bring some comfort at 9 a.m. as well.
I knew a woman 15 years ago in the middle of one of the biggest traumatic and hideous and public messes imaginable. Kim Goldman, sister to Ron Goldman, made famous by OJ Simpson’s crime was thrown, what could only be called, in understatement, a curve ball– a bad one, sliding off the greasy finger tips of fate, slimy from the saliva of lady luck…
By the time I met Kim, she was still in the middle of everything: trials, media hype, emotional processing and yet she already had achieved a state of grace that–even before I had personally experienced even a fraction of the ugliness and evil that she had faced–was astonishing and recognizable. I don’t mean to put some kind of holy glow over the whole thing. She was very clear that there had been some extremely difficult times, but it seemed that she was okay. Which is maybe all we can really hope to end up being.
I still remember exactly where I was (gym locker room) when I heard that OJ was found not guilty and how sickened I was by the news, absolutely. I have thought of Kim often, as inspiration, and with admiration and respect.
And so, it was in the middle of my own, much lessor trauma, that I discovered that Kim had made contact with me through linked in. She is now the Executive Director of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project. She writes, “My career has mostly been focused on being of service to others.” But she was never helpless or self-pitying, or martyrish and she never lost her sense of humor, well, maybe she did (and deserved to) but I never saw it. That’s not even to say there’s any right way to act in these kinds of situations. Falling apart seems appropriate and natural at certain (many?) times in life. I don’t want to glorify certain one kind of a response over another, and yet, the way she acted has made a lasting impact on me.
And so, it was very nice, especially right now, to get a little ping from the past. A reminder of okayness. Of grace during the darkest of days.