“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
The current state of things on this blog:
GUYS. So much not writing is occurring right now. I think it’s primarily due to all the noise in my head- especially since the election. I need to be still in order to write. I need quiet and clarity. This, however, is what the inside of my head looks like much of the time these days:
That’ll make it hard to form a thought, let alone craft a sentence.
I have a half finished essay about Thanksgiving that I keep opening and staring at blankly. Maybe next year. I do want to focus on gratitude, though- because that is the antidote to so much that ails me. So, here goes- my gratitude list in this moment, wearing this bathrobe, on this day:
- I have two amazing, brilliant, talented, weird, funny kids. The world is a better place because they are in it. Favorite has two kiddos who fill me with joy and who I love madly. It’s an embarrassment of riches, really.
- Speaking of my Favorite…my Favorite. He really loves me- like, the ACTUAL me. I really love him. He’s my soft place to fall. He’s got my back in a way I’ve never experienced before, with anyone. I’ve got his. It’s not sunshine and rainbows, “in-love” love. That kind is ephemeral and hard to hold on to. It’s the kind of love that’s a decision. Every day.
- Comedians. You guys. We are about to embark on a Renaissance of comedy writing. Can you feel it? Rome might be burning, but SNL’s gonna be AH-MAY-ZING.
- All of the damns I do not give any more. I have very few damns, and the ones I do have are IMPORTANT. Brene Brown talks about carrying a small piece of paper in her wallet with the names of everyone whose opinion REALLY matters to her. I do, too. It’s 1 inch by 1 inch. There’s space left over, and that space is growing. I’m not kidding- I am in the erasing stage of my life. I care deeply about an enormous number of people- I just do not care what they think of me or my choices. I’m done convincing, I’m done explaining. Truly. I’ve finally stopped hustling. No more auditioning- if I don’t have the part, I don’t want it. And now when I start to hustle, I recognize it and stop. I’m done trying to prove anything to anyone, I’m done trying to earn my place in this world. I’m done striving. I’m enough- and I don’t need you to believe that to know it’s true.
- Church basements. Nearly every day I go into church basements and back rooms and I see faith with its work boots on.
- My dog. What are people who don’t have dogs even DOING right now? He’s perfect. He is completely and utterly perfect. He’s eleven, and he too has stopped auditioning. Also, behaving.
- My work. When Say It, Survivor launched, the incomparable Jen Hatmaker said, “You yanked your story out of misery and turned it into ministry.” That’s what it feels like to me- it feels missional. I was born to do this- I know that to be true. I was sitting with an elderly women recently and she read me her story. I had to fight tears- I try not to cry when someone tells me their story. I am there to take IN their story, not to take it ON. It’s not about me. My tears weren’t because her story was painful, although it was. My tears were tears of gratitude. I was awash in it. It is one of the great blessings of my life to be a witness for people, and to be able to tell them, when they’ve finally put something dark and heavy down- “You are not alone. You were never meant to carry this by yourself. I will take a corner. I will carry it with you.”
- Giraffes. Still. Always.
- The ocean. I live just minutes from the beach. Every morning as I’m driving my kid to the bus stop I drive along the shore as the sun rises. This morning I sat waiting for the bus to come and watched a gull, seemingly suspended in mid air as it flew against the wind. The smell of the ocean instantly calms me. I like it better in non-summer months. Recently, I found myself saying to someone that I’m a rocky, New England beach kind of a girl. It’s true. Warm white sand is lovely, but it doesn’t soothe my soul the way the blustery, craggy beaches of my childhood do. It’s church for me.
- My sobriety. Last year, as the holidays approached I was terrified. How do you DO Thanksgiving and Christmas without wine? How do people manage without being able to take the edge off? And it’s EVERYWHERE this time of year. Well, now I know. They just do. They stay sober the way they do every other day of the year. Show up. Tell the truth. Ask for help. Help when asked. Lather, rinse, repeat- forever and ever, amen. Thanksgiving and Christmas were glorious last year, even when they were hard.
That’s a partial list, of course. I am filled with gratitude most days, lately. And I’m grateful for this space to write what I think and feel. I’m grateful that you read, I’m grateful when you respond.
Happy, happy Thanksgiving, sweet friends. Be good to yourselves. Love the people in front of you.
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