Be still. Quiet. Listen intently, and you may hear it. The mournful cry of the bird living behind your ribs. It’s not sad to be there. It’s where it lives. But that is the sound it makes. It is the mourning dove, and that is its home.
I am sorry to be such a downer, but you guys named ME.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the call of a mourning dove, but it’s aptly named. It usually calls in the early hours of the day when the sun is barely beginning to rise, and it sounds every bit like a plaintive call of a heart missing something.
And that’s why we have a place for it. I say chest because how we experience loss and disillusionment, with a tangible feeling directly behind the breastbone. I am not speaking of ordinary grief. I am not referring to identified sadness. I am talking about the mourning for the unknown things that are just missing. The reality is, no matter how good life is, we all tend to experience a dissatisfaction that can’t be placed, and cannot be filled.
People have spent their life trying to fill this place. It has been used as manipulative preaching by being called a “god-shaped hole” during proselytizing. It has been used by con men who sell self-help or motivational garbage, or marketing to try to get you to buy things you don’t need in the never-ending quest to fill this spot.
If we are going to talk about holes, I’d prefer to call it a black hole instead. Dark, dense, and entirely unable to be filled, in consumes anything we throw at it.
I’d stay out, or you’ll have to spend eternity with Matthew Mcconaughey.
This black hole isn’t a bad thing. it just IS. the human reality is that life is never the utopia that we want it to be. You can have a perfectly happy life, and you will still have this place in you. I don’t think anyone is truly exempt. When I was in the depth of despair during my PTSD and grief over the loss of my daughter, it was all-consuming. So I created a place in my mind. A perfect place, so I could try and forget for a little while. Now that place is the dream that will never occur. It’s my Mourning Dove. Not specifically this fictional place, but the feeling that it evokes.
Let me paint a picture with my words. I close my eyes and see a beautiful network of homes over still water. The water is clear and clean, and barely moves other than to reflect soft sunlight.
This place exists. My place does not.
I say a network of homes because they are the homes of all of the people I care about. Those who are struggling with financial issues are no longer looking at a budget. Illnesses are expunged. The worries of life have slipped away. The homes are all joined by wooden boardwalks, to a central platform with a covered roof but open sides. A brazier is in the middle with reclining deck chairs surrounding it. It is neither hot nor cold, but comfortable. And everyone I love is there. Everyone is wearing a diaphanous type of outfit which covers little, but is symbolic of lack of shame rather than lust. Not that sex is non-existent, relationships are free and open and consensual as people choose. But nobody has any feeling of need to hide. There is a sense of love and acceptance and peace. Jealousy and strife don’t exist.
Perhaps this is a callback in some way to a vision of heaven that I may have had back when I was religious, it has many of the same elements, painlessness and love. But it is a human place, an earthly place in my mind, not a reward for adherence to dogmas, but simply a place where those I hold in my heart to be truly free. It’s a testament to what it is that my heart truly desires, to be with all the people I love without the weight of drudgery and responsibility,
What I used for comfort is also my grief; It is something that I will never have. I will never have all my dearest with me, without the rigors of modern life. It seems childish at times, But I indulge the call of the mourning dove. I dream it, and desire it. I watch the sun set on the horizon in my dream knowing full well I’ll never see it.
dream with me.
And it’s ok. Because I don’t think this visceral sadness is a bad thing. It’s where empathy and care is born, and even the ever-missing desires are a part of us. And I can visit my dream as often as I’d like.
I’ll see you there.