The phone rings. It’s a video call from my cousin in Korea. I don’t pick up. It’s my usual response to phone calls. I rarely pick up incoming calls unless it comes from my direct family. You can imagine that my phone stays silent most times. Instead, I message her about 30 minutes later. She tells me that she called because she was standing by the blueberry bush at her parent’s house and thought about the day we picked blueberries when I was visiting Korea. It was about this time two years ago.
There is not a single day that I do not reflect on my last trip to Korea. That is precisely why it feels like yesterday. The memories of Korea are still so intact. I constantly relive most of my days during my stay there. It means that I re-experience all of my past moments which re-enact all of the emotions, good or bad. I am quickly approaching my fourth decade but in me is all of the previous years of me. When I was five, when I was ten, when I was thirteen, when I was sixteen, when I was eighteen, when I turned twenty, twenty five, thirty, thirty two, thirty three, thirty five, and now soon, forty. All those years are still very vivid. It is my daily wonder how I can feel all those ages all at once. But then, when I am alone and in my own elements of writing, reading, doing yoga, and simply breathing, I have no sense of age. I am purely this breathing soul with a deep connection to her God, every breath expressing a sole emotion that is indescribable and immeasurable. It is a feeling of unconditional, pure being.
The reason I don’t answer most of my incoming calls is because the prospect of the whole transition from having no sense of age in the moment to feeling every age I harbor in my physical being is too daunting. When you are engaged in a timeless activity, when you are immersed in such a depth that no one can pull you out, you disappear, in a sense, from this world.
It almost feels like pain. To be brought back to the reality. To come back to life as it is, instead of life as I want. What I want is being able to be everywhere all at once. I want to overcome the definition of time and be in the past, present, and future all at once. Omnipotence. Omniscience. Omnipresence. I can taste the realm of God. And it is so divine and heavenly. I long to be there. Eternally.
By now, I know exactly what I was trying to avoid by not answering my cousin’s call. I am denying my emotions that welled up the moment I saw her name on my screen. It comes so sudden, unexpected, and so raw. It’s so complex. It’s a mix of joy, comfort, and happiness deeply embedded with a sense of longing, grief, and sadness. It’s a realization of the harsh reality. It is earth-shattering. It’s a brutal awakening. It’s a never-ending nightmare. It is a separation, the source of my ever-existing sadness.
That night, I could not sleep. I strove but sleep never came. Past midnight, I finally gave up and sat up. The emotions finally broke open. I gave myself a permission to cry. I cried and cried until the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-transcending Person came and simply embraced me. I sat on my bed, sensing the calm replacing the void left by my turbulent and violent human emotions. I sat there for a long time until my omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God lured me to a deep sleep.
You feel pain because you have loved. It all passes. Everything- good or bad. The only thing that remains is the effort you put into it trying your best to love each and every moment. We simply call it a memory. But it is never simple to live with those vivid memories without losing my equilibrium.
“Most of us don’t know how to deal with emotions effectively. Instead we work hard to manage them through avoidance”. I read in the book “It’s Not Always Depression” by Hilary Jacobs Hendel. I once had a vision for myself saying those wise words in a very calm, soothing voice deeply looking into my very depressed patient’s eyes. That vision was so assuring that I chose to go back to school for a master’s degree in Counseling. I wonder if my omniscient God was laughing at my decision. I wonder if He foresaw that years and years later, I would be reading out those simple words and marble at the way they summarize my sufferings playing out over and over like a song on a constant repeat mode. One never learns.
And I learn the same old lesson once again. I realize that the best cure to restore my past is to rebuild it, not to re-live it. So. Today, I will make a phone call. I think I am ready to call her and face our precious memories of those blueberry mornings.