As one almost must in cases like this, I turn to Elizabeth Gilbert.
Not her new book--its topic a million miles away from me right now--but rather Eat, Pray, Love, with its dog-eared pages and the notes I made in the margins when I first read it three years ago, right around this same time. (April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot? Au contraire; it's February.)
Last night, it was Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies that I pulled from my bookshelves, because I love Anne Lamott, and will happily do my best to lose myself in her words at any time, and because things last night had not yet stepped off a cliff with both feet. I read until I fell asleep, thinking, after I turned my lamp off, of the final words of the W.S. Merwin poem with which she opens the book ("we are saying thank you faster and faster/with nobody listening we are saying thank you/we are saying thank you and waving/dark though it is").
But now, come morning, an unhappy chat behind me, I'm off that cliff, and it's Gilbert, not Lamott, I need most. I can't shake the vision of those paintings of Jesus in which he has two fingers in the open gash in his chest, right over his heart. At the risk of sounding utterly sacrilegious, I know the feeling today, my man: something in me that was intact has torn open, and I can't ignore the wound, much as I'd like to.
So I return to Eat, Pray, Love.
Being the annoying completist that I am, and now faced with an unwelcome surfeit of free time clamoring to be filled with distractions, I will, of course, read the damn thing cover-to-cover all over again. Maybe twice.
But for now I flip through and read the passages I marked last time, thinking Yes, thinking Remember that, thinking Know that. You made it through--and out--before. You will certainly make it through again.
With my fingers over that new, sore, achy, messy wound, then, I keep reading.