Do you remember that scene in “The Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy finally sees the man behind the curtain? You can really see the doubt, disappointment, and confusion in her eyes…and for most of my life, that scene didn’t make total sense to me. But over the last couple of years, I guess you could say that the curtain on my own life was slowly peeled away and I found myself able to relate to Dorothy more than ever.
The other night while I was at dinner with my good friend Chachie, we were swapping stories, laughing so hard…at times, laughing so I wouldn’t cry. We were talking about how when you walk through the deep, dark seasons of life…the ones you never imagined you’d have to live outside of a nightmare…that sometimes the hardest part is the lingering loss of magic.
Imagine looking at a huge, beautiful glass table, completely covered in sparkling glitter. Over the past couple of years, there were some really difficult moments where I felt like someone began to blow the glitter away, leaving only a layer of dust behind to settle. I’ve encountered seasons where the world lost it’s spark. And the saddest part was wondering if it could ever truly return.
In the dark seasons, the magic is gone. The magic of the holidays, family, love, fairy tales. All of it slowly disappears. The hurt becomes a disease that kills off the beauty. These are the times when breathing hurts, when life feels like a burden, when each step is painful, each moment exhausting.
When we experience great loss or trauma, our perspective shifts. It isn’t as simple as being hopeful, joyful, or optimistic anymore. You can’t un-see or un-feel what is absolutely raw and real. Heartache is a tangible thing, you know. It pulses. It moves.
I’m not entirely sure when or why it shifted, but at some point, I stopped demanding that the world would convince me of it’s beauty, and instead, I opened my eyes again. And then my ears. And then my hands. And then my heart. And suddenly: the spark. It happened. And it looked an awful lot like everyday life.
I asked my regular mail lady what her Thanksgiving plans were. She went on to talk about her mother and her bitchy sister. I started taking pictures of the beer cans left behind by the blind alcoholic woman at the bus stop every day. I watched Brian make mashed potatoes. I started looking up when looking ahead felt too daunting. I looked a baby girl in the eye. I waved at a little boy waving his croissant at me through a cafe window. I danced in the rain room with my friend…allowing myself for just a brief glimpse of a moment to clear it all away and become completely consumed by the magic of life.
Things will never be the same, because we don’t go backwards (and thank God for that). Maybe the curtain has been pulled back. Maybe the magic is just different now. But not gone. Redeemed.