I took Gabriel to church yesterday, and it was hard. One or both of us cried for a majority of the service, causing us to spend it outside for the most part.
Outside of the building (it's a rented retail space, not a freestanding church) there's a kind of rectangular gazebo-y thing. As I sat on one bench, back to the warehouse church thing, hair done and pretty dress on, sweet baby in my lap, wind rustling the leaves of all the trees, and tears running down my cheeks, I remembered a brief conversation I had with Brian years ago. At the time I thought it was a funny indication of our differences. Now it just hurts.
We were taking some sort of personality test - I can't remember if I was administering it to him or he was administering it to me. There was a question that said something like "I think there's something beautiful about sadness" and the answers may have been true or false or a rank from 1 to 5, who knows.
I remember getting to the question and scoffing. What a strange thing to say. That there is beauty in sadness is something that had never occurred to me, and I was baffled that it would have occurred to anyone else. Pondering "the beauty of sadness" was, to me, akin to pondering the purpleness of tree bark. There's not really purple tree bark; surely there is some tree bark somewhere that is purple, so it's possible, but tree bark isn't really purple. Sure, sadness could be beautiful, if you're talking about it in an abstract, loosely related way - commenting on a well-written poem or a really moving candid portrait, for example. But sadness itself, to me, didn't possess the quality of being beautiful.
Brian, of course, thought (thinks?) there's great beauty in sadness. I didn't get it. Even now, I think it's kind of a strange notion.
There was something in that moment in the gazebo, though. Me, the leaves, the overwhelming sadness, the sweet, innocent baby. It felt so beautiful and so tragic, to be alone and unseen, surrounded by nature and life, grieving an ancient grief.
written monday, may 21