consistency and death

So there is this story—it's one full of peril and death, fear, and shame. In this story, the main character, the protagonist, just an average guy, well he dies a thousand times. First, it was from heartache. Next, it was anger. Then, shame. Over and over again, he dies in the middle of these heavy emotions. He just could not see how life would go on.
But, it does.
The kids kept growing. The seasons kept passing. Lord knows the bills kept coming. Everyone is as they ever were, just as time marches on as it's always done.

So this guy, this character in our story, he gets caught up in another emotional swell. And as he's laying on the floor ready to accept his fate smack dab in the middle of one of his worst days, he stops to contemplate for a moment what is more excruciating—to die a thousand deaths or to watch the whole world pass by without notice, and without change as you do.

Now, I know what you're thinking, 'What in the hell kind of story is this?!' but stay with me here because this part is important. Death and consistency are two of the greatest miracles of life. It's obvious our character didn't die a thousand literal deaths, but he felt tremendous pain as he experienced life's heavier emotions. He didn't mask them; he didn't pretend it was okay. He said, 'This is horrible! I feel terrible! What I did was awful!' and then he slunk his sorry ass on the floor and stayed there for a while. But this is where the goodness of consistency comes in, because as he was filtering through his emotions thinking for the fiftieth time that surely he wouldn't survive this, it was life's routine that pulled him back up. Consistency became his stable ground. It was the expectancy of his mother receiving him as she always did, with a big hug from her tiny frame and a kiss with her crooked, pink lipstick that became a safe landing place. That one little thing that bugged the hell out of him also gave him enough courage to stand back up instead of let go. And that was the moment he died.

Now, hang on, don't let me lose you here because this is where things get really good. When our character finally stepped out back into the world he decreed could never be changed, he was shocked to witness that everything had. When he died, his perception died with him. Now, sometimes the changes were hard to notice while others were dramatically different. But what he could always count on were the people he loved the most to be as endearingly irritating just as they ever were, and that was enough to hold him through it all.

Yep. Death and consistency. They're two of the greatest gifts you could ever have. I have no doubt about it.

Stories from the Dead
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Jamie HomeisterComment