Here is my photo from the Urbano event with ASP. Brave is the word that spoke to me.
It’s not yet 8 am and I’ve already set off the smoke detectors! I’m doing a house blessing/cleansing this morning and I thought I’d try out the sage I bought. Well, it really burns! Even putting it outside still had an effect. There is always something new to learn!
My great delight is being a part of people’s lives and particularly in holy moments in those lives – beginnings and endings and all theinbetweens. Today I will bless a house and then do errands. Today I will continue to think about the sermon I will be preaching for my grandmother’s 100th birthday celebration this weekend. Today in the ordinary tasks I will tend the holy.
As Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”
but life is full of little moments. I wanted to change the world but I’ve been given the chance to make little bits of difference here and there. I wanted to be recognized for something, for doing something, and I am recognized by people here and there – Charlie at the bus stop, George when I park. I wanted to be somebody and I am. I have given up ambition, at least the big kind. Right now I want to be kind and just. That’s enough.
Yesterday I got a new phone. It was my Christmas present. It’s always a hassle transferring everything and getting everything to work again. We’ve done it enough times now that I’m used to it. I will be fine until I can get to someone to help me get my mail again. As a matter of fact it’s kind of nice to be out of touch. Yesterday I walked downtown without my phone. No one could find me. I couldn’t fill my time with checking my messages or my FB or twitter (which also isn’t working) and it was really nice. Maybe I shouldn’t get the mail to work, except we’re traveling this week and I would be really out of touch. Not that it would matter that much. I’m not that critical or important and I will be with my family. I do like to keep in touch with the world but moments of silence and peace and solitude are not a bad thing.
I was just flling out an application form and the words “adjusting” and “readjusting” kept coming up. I guess it’s another word to add to my words for the year. It makes me think about wiggling in my seat, adjusting. It makes me think of scootching over, adjusting. Fiddling with a hem or an earring, adjusting. What I’m doing is adjusting to my skin. What I’m doing is wiggling and scootching and fiddling with my life, trying to make everything fit again, trying to make everything work again.
Yesterday I had one of my regular phone calls from my insurance company. They call regularly to make sure everything is going well. As I talked about my reconstruction, the nurse said “You must have a good surgeon, one who cares.” My surgeon is wonderful she has been kind and caring through it all. When I said, “I just want to look good in clothes.” She said, “I hope we can do better than that.” The nurse said that many of the women she talks with are in their 80′s and their doctors haven’t seemed to care what they look like. It seems to me that 80 year old women have as much right to feel beautiful as anyone else. It made me sad to think of people not caring about the whole person, whatever age.
Beauty is an interplay of internal and external. There is certainly an internal component to beauty but there is also an external component. One of my ponderings this year has been how to find a new sense of beauty within myself. How to love my body again after all I’ve been through. It is an external and internal journey. It is a journey of discovery and gentleness.
It’s another day of lists – things to do, places to be. They’re not bad things, lunch with a friend who is moving, a gift to mail off, grocery shopping, dog walking, appointments to make, children to get from place to place. An ordinary day, full of ordinary things. So I stop for a moment and give thanks for children and friends and time enough. I stop for a moment grateful for the day and even for the busyness.
This quote came across my screen the other day from Jean Webster
“It isn’t the great big pleasures that count the most; it’s making a great deal out of the little ones.”
Last night Natalie and I went to a read of William Eno’s Middletown by the Actor’s Shakespeare Project. The play was beautifully written and the acting, even in chairs with nothing but paper, was amazing. There were just a few more of us in the audience than were on the stage and it was lovely. But the most amazing thing was the conversation afterwards as people talked about connecting. One of the actors said that what was amazing was that there wasn’t any real conflict. It was just a story of people trying their best, trying to help each other and it was enough. It made me think about the story of life in general. Mostly it is all of us trying our best but not always helping each other. Not always taking the time to listen or to be. And maybe it would be too hard and maybe it would take too much time. But I want to hear what matters to people. I want to know the important stuff and the silly stuff. I’m not so keen on conflict but I am wonderfully fond of stories.
I come from a line of storytellers. My grandfather used to snort and say “That reminds me of a cute little story…” We call my mom expando-mom because she doesn’t let the details get in the way of a good story and she is captivating. Kathleen Norris once said to me “You’re not a writer, you’re a storyteller.” So the story is enough. Our stories are enough even if they are gentle and kind.
The boys are back. They arrived home at 10 last night after a long day’s journey. They bustled in, tanned and tired. We won’t hear all the stories until tonight at dinner. Mostly we’re back into the routine – laundry is in the wash, Alden is off to school, Alan to work. I didn’t have to walk the dogs this morning. We settle back in to life together.
I long held onto a fantasy of some “normal” life, some “regular” routine. I thought that some day I would have a pattern to my life. Well, it’s never happened and I think I need to give up the fantasy. My life will always be syncopated. My life will always be like a mobile finding a balance over and over again. There will always be new surprises, new opportunities, new challenges. The trick is finding the balance within me that can weather the changes and even rejoice in them.
Every day, it seems, the light shifts, the sun shines on a different part of the wall. I am always surprised. Today I thought a light was on somewhere but it was just the sun shining down the stairwell in a different way than I had seen before. A friend posts a picture out his bedroom window every morning. It happens to be a favorite view so I look for it every day. Last year it kept me going, a little moment of peace and beauty every day and a sign of steadfastness through all weather. It is always beautiful – sometimes stunning, sometimes more mundane – but always beautiful. I am trying to be aware of the changing light in my life, the shifts and surprises, the stunning and the mundane. I am trying to pay attention.