more than words
the past few days have been _______ (adjective).
this is quite possibly the most difficult ad-lib i've ever tried to fill out. every minute the word that i would use to fill in the blank changes. many words i have repeated; difficult, saddening, angering, confusing, exhausting...
"where are we,
what the hell
is going on?"
i spent five years in what seemed to me like heaven. and in one blindingly quick morning, it became many people's hell. since the events of monday, time has slowed to a near halt for me. i can't begin to fathom the creeping pace at which time is lumbering on for my hokies still in blacksburg or those whose lives have been directly affected by these events.
something like this changes your mind, your heart, your way of life, your opinion of the future.
to watch the reports of something like this is difficult. it is universal. anyone can imagine this happening at any school they've attended. you don't want to, but you can't help but think "this could've been my high school, or my college, or my best friend's school..." your mind may be taken back to similar incidences in the past. but you try to not think about it like that.
for me, watching monday's aftermath hit close. five of the greatest years of my life were in those dormitories and classrooms that are beginning to look familiar to many. i've walked those sidewalks, entered those dorms, and sat in those same classrooms. i knew, learned with, and worked with some of the faces i've seen in these memorials. never in my wildest nightmares could i ever have imagined something like this, and never in my greatest moment of weakness could i ever wish this upon my greatest enemy.
this week has been the tallest, fastest, and craziest emotional roller coaster that i've ever been on. it has brought back memories of the greatest teachers i've ever had. i've remembered specific classes that finally made an education 'click.' it has brought back the fear and the excitement of my first year ever living away from home. i've remembered those early winter mornings, the constant commotion of dorm life, and the friendship and camaraderie that comes from being on a hall with a dozen other people in the same position. it has brought back the excitement and nervousness of leaving such a great place to start the next chapter of your life. it has brought back the pride of being one with a campus. but it has also brought back the pain of loss. i've remembered how the college years coincide with the loss of the innocence of youth. that people you love and care about very deeply are not always with us forever.
"It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word.
We are screaming inside but we can't be heard."
i wanted to be there, with my fellow hokies. i wanted to attend the memorials. i wanted to hold someone who knew the history that you have coming from that place. i wanted to comfort those who lost. and i needed comfort in knowing that we will all make it past this.
sometimes its tough to avoid the sadness. it could be another memorial on the internet. it could be a song that gets me in that very moment that it chills me to the bone. it could be the account of someone who was able to escape the mayhem. it could be remembering my own losses when i was there. or, it could be as simple as talking to someone still there, and hearing them go through their own ups and downs.
but i have the knowledge that we'll all find comfort, peace, and happiness. time marches on, and brings with it new days. it reminds us of the friendships that we still have, the great things to come, and the memories that we'll never lose.
lastly, i wanted to be back in blacksburg to hear nikki giovanni speak to a world of hokies, because winning a nobel prize in poetry is destined to mean that you've got a great mastery of words. part of her speech really explained my up and down cycle of emotion.
"we are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly,
we are brave enough to bend to cry,
and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again."