The year was 1939 and the Kurc family was happy. The oldest son, Addy, was living in France and the others in Poland, but they were as close as family can be with five adult children, living separate lives. They kept in touch via letters and visits that had grown a little less frequent recently. Addy’s parents, Sol and Nechuma, were quite successful and had always encouraged the children to follow suit, wherever that may lead. But some events had shrouded their carefree enthusiasm in recent months and Nechuma’s letters to Addy had begun to hint at some growing trepidation. It began as nothing, really, at least nothing she could quite put a finger on; more of a feeling that life was not quite as safe as it once was.
I can’t say I’ve ever been comfortable in my own skin. Not because it’s pale and blemished, which it is, but because it’s covering me. My body. And when I look in the mirror I’ve never had a fully healthy view of the body that is staring back at me.
The general anxiety I feel usually begins in February. Every year it takes me by surprise and sweeps over me at once. It’s like wading in the ocean and watching a wave come near, not realizing how large it is until it knocks you over. I’m not sure why I haven’t learned to anticipate it by now, but I tend to be one of those people that forgets the difficulties of the past, instead of dwelling on them. And then it hits and I scramble once again. The culprit? Summer. Yes, Summer. My favorite season of the year has now become one I somewhat dread. Not for the weather, but for the endless hours of freedom. Of unstructured time.
I almost joined Twitter today. I’ve avoided the popular cesspool of idiocy to this point, but I was so close. Just so I could respond to a tweet by Lecrae, of all people. He pontificated his views on the most recent abortion law in Alabama by saying, among other things, that those of us who are crying about the murder of the unborn are pretty much silent about the injustices of those already born. Those who are marginalized. Those who are oppressed. Those who are abused. He doesn’t hear anyone speaking up for them. Really.
The fields were flooded with melted snow and the rivers ran high as we crossed the bridges of the two-lane highway headed north. My brother and I took a different route this time; one far removed from the fast pace of the interstate. One that wound it’s way through small towns and the open country of Northern Wisconsin. Trailer homes and collapsed barns, newborn cattle and horses grazing in the muddy pasture, little ones out playing by the roadside. A glimpse into rural America. Scenes I had witnessed a hundred times before. With each passing mile, we neared closer to our grandmother’s house, to the little town she’s lived in most of her life with it’s quaint houses and main street dotted with local businesses that have stood or fallen over time. To the church where my parents were married and my grandparents were remembered. And I realized that this drive, these places that are as much a part of me as my own home, would soon be a part of my past.