It hasn’t been a great week, guys. A few folks rejected my work, an essay isn’t turning out at all, I had a very upsetting situation at work (that seems better now, but was scary), and someone I spent a long time liking… well, he just doesn’t like me like that. These are things that happen. And sometimes they happen all at once when we are weak with longing or uncertainty, when we are far from home in every sense of the world, when even the birds in the morning sound like rusty gates. 

My mother used to give me warm water heaped with table salt to gargle when I had a raw, sore throat. She said the sting was just the tingle from the salt. My grandmother would pour the hottest water on a washcloth for me to press against my mosquito bites. She would say “Oh, itch-itch-itch!” as I screwed my face up in the agony of all that histamine coming to the surface of my skin. The pain was the first part of healing, and it was never too much to stand. 

Right now, something stings. Something itches. Like a sore spot on your tongue that you can’t stop from worrying against your teeth, I lean into the discomfort to better know the shape of it. I am afraid of many things, but not, it would seem, the indignity of my sorrow laid bare.

And yet but so: it’s snowing beautifully, and the visa office has sent word that they have my application in hand. Someone thanked me for my help, and someone else said they hope they can work with me someday. When I’ve asked for help, I’ve gotten it. I mean to say that it hasn’t all been terrible. I have blessings, which I try to count often and generously. But, I’m sad. I doubt my resilience. I’m supposed to change here; I get that. I even know in which directions I need to grow. Still, this ache feels buried so deep in my bones, I don’t know how I’d even get the salt or heat to it.

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