I’m not sure if it comes from my stomach, or maybe from my lungs, or if it actually originates in my throat itself. The language, though, is quite apt that it chokes me up suddenly. I may be speaking about something that feels important but only distantly related to me, and I feel it clench in my throat and somehow trigger the possibility of tears. I may be accidentally thinking of visiting someone who is no longer here to visit. I may be caught by surprise remembering rhythms that no longer exist. It may be the newness of new lives, new relationships, new opportunities, new challenges that do it.
Whatever it is, it comes seemingly out of nowhere and reminds me, ultimately, that I am alive.
I am alive.
If it’s singing at volumes and octaves that I would never sing in front of someone else, it’s the reminder of being alive. If it’s weeping suddenly because life is more confusing than anyone ever said it would be, it’s the reminder that I’m alive. If it’s a ten-second gap with a client where something happens and all of both of us comes crashing into a single pregnant and powerful moment and we sit in silence knowing that something beyond us has happened, it’s the reminder that I’m alive. A dance with the dogs. A drive with the windows down. A game with a child. Laughter with friends. Tears in startling places. Thin space with students or friends or clients or coworkers.
We are alive.
There’s the challenge, of course. Even when longing to freeze the moment because it feels like it’s perfect enough and true enough and thick enough to rest in it forever, I can’t because life doesn’t freeze that way. Even when longing to make the moment disappear because it feels like it’s too empty and ugly and sticky and deathly to be worth existing in, I can’t because life doesn’t erase that way.
But in the space between wanting to make something last forever and wanting to make something never have happened at all, I remember that I am alive. And being alive itself is worth savoring and leaning into with all the goodness and all the crap of it, trusting that in leaning into both the goodness and the crap, we lean more into our true selves.
And we are alive.