Why Open Another Box?

A unconditional conversation between mother and daughter...

Monday, April 25, 2011

In The Eye of The Storm

It’s scary

how some of us discover

we’re alone.

Lorna says

most people make that discovery

when they are in their forties

so it must sometimes coincide

with the experience of

the so-called “mid-life crisis.”

But I also think it is possible

to realize that fact

when a person is younger than forty

and it is likewise possible

that a person could live a lifetime

without ever learning

that he or she is alone.

By “alone” I mean

finding out you are

a completely separate entity

from everyone you know and love,

that no one will experience life

in exactly the same way you do,

that no one can truly understand your pain,

and that life will go on

virtually without change

whether or not you are around.

I plunged into this ice cold realization

at the age of 35

when I learned I had

an incurable illness.

In the months immediately following

this realization,

I spent every waking minute

thinking about and fearing my aloneness.

When we went on family outings,

I’d look at the houses we passed

and think,

life goes on in these homes

just as it always has.

In them are families

going about their regular business—

eating, sleeping, going to school or work,

watching TV, reading books, cleaning house—

as if nothing has changed.

How can this be

when the structure of my life

is crumbling into ruin around me?

It must mean

that my problems and I are insignificant

and I am truly alone

in this experience!

During that same period of time,

I would lie on my bed in the afternoon,

not resting,

but probing my conscious mind

in a frenzied effort

to find ways out

of my predicament.

My eyes never fixed

on features of the room

or on how the light

streaming through the window

struck the furniture in the room.


they darted back and forth feverishly

in a desperate attempt

to escape from

a very tricky, very lonely maze.

None of my mental pacing helped

because I was seeking a cure

for the aloneness I felt

outside myself

rather than from inside myself

where the answer waited for me

to discover it.

Time, Lorna’s psychotherapy,

and my earnest desire

to find inner peace,

have brought me to the place

where I am right now.

It isn’t a joyful place

(because I never would have chosen

to have the experience of this illness)

but it is a place of peace

like that which is found

in the center or “eye” of a hurricane.

Whenever I stop thrashing

at the raging hurricane outside myself,

I soar like a seabird

over the ocean far below me.

I am in the eye of the storm

and I find healing in the quiet there.

While I know God is with me

at all times,

I only FEEL his presence

when I enter the eye.

I wish I could always remain

in this gentle, peaceful place

where the pain of my loss

doesn’t hurt so much.

But I am human

and, therefore, am very attached

to the world.

I can remain in the eye of the storm

only so long as

I allow my conscious mind

with its worldly concerns

to rest.

When I turn to the world,

which turns me away from God

and from the vast healing resources

within my unconscious mind,

I am thrown back into the hurricane again.

Now when I look back on

the early months of my illness,

I feel sympathetic ache

for my struggle to accept it.

It took a long time

for me to feel comfortable at all

with the knowledge

that as far as the world is concerned,

my illness and I are alone together.

But if I could get

just one point across

to the readers of this poem,

it would be

that given time, professional guidance,

and earnest desire

to find inner peace,

they can join me

in the place where I am now.

I am not alone here.

By, Laura Schiller

November 15, 1988

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