Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Here it is with no poetic language or decoration: this was a mostly bad year. It was full of pain from several directions. I won't bore you with the specifics of what hurt or who (including myself) caused me so much downright awfulness of soul. Because these things don't really matter. Well, some of it matters to my journey to wholeness, but for readers of this little blog, any knowledge is likely to start people thinking with opinions the same way people watching a two minute news piece seems to have answers before the story.

How bad has it been? My prayers have sometimes gotten diabolical: asking for things I should not have or that I am not ready for, begging to be taken in my sleep, cursing some of the good I've been given.

It does not help to say or think, "It could be worse" or "Look on the bright side." Even a paper cut can seem like an amputation in the moment it has taken center of the human stage. So platitudes and advice can do as
much damage as an axe to the head if one doesn't take care. And by this, I mean doling out words with no heart, like tossing change out the window of a Mercedes while driving past quick enough to avoid the stench of the beggar.

It has not been all bad, however. In fact, with all the terribleness came a couple heaps of wonderfulness that I could not have expected and I certainly did not deserve. Here is what has helped me: walking and reading and church. I have lost about thirty pounds this year from diet and exercise, but walking has helped me to think more clearly and pray more honestly. I always been a reader, but this year I rediscovered the joy of what some call "getting lost" in a book. I call it finding more of my true self and place. And my faith community has been exactly that: a community, building me and stretching me. I haven't escaped the world, but found more reason to be in it. It also doesn't hurt to have a comfy chair and an empathetic cat.

But you need to know what has made the most difference: presence. People literally giving me time. Listening, laughing, lamenting (and yes, offering advice). Friends drinking coffee or tea, writing notes, tagging me in funny posts. Family saying prayers and putting up with my shit. My grandson making me laugh and giving me squeezes. And people letting me say, as they have said to me, "You so matter."

i know you can't quite fix me
but thanks for opening 
your workshop
and letting me get warm

I still have some shaky days and nights, and I can't say I see that the coming year will actually be better than this. Because despite all my best efforts, I'm going to fail at something, and despite my good will, somebody is going to die and someone is going to let me down. But it appears I can live through those things, and I won't be alone. That might be enough.

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