My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
I am tired now of the responsibilities. Fatigue comforts my weary bones;
Too tired to long, too tired to desire,
I rest in the surety of your strength,
Cradled.~Kari Kristina Reeves (From Canyon Road, A Book of Prayers)
The word came to me. Landed softly in my brain. Maybe I needed that little word that meant big, immense. Vast was the word. I hung onto it, and the word led to a memory. A remembrance that emerged as a photograph, like paper sloshed in solution in the sanctuary of a darkroom.
I was five and stood with my father near the edge of the Grand Canyon. He held my hand, but we didn't speak. Just gazed at the grandeur. I remember the "vastness." I didn't have that word in my vocabulary at age five, yet I witnessed the definition. I remembered, too, the feeling of wonder and the feeling that I was the loved child of my father. As a five-year-old, I'm certain that I felt no obligation or duty to make sense of anything other than the moment of love with my dad and the enjoyment of the resplendent view.
Can I do that now?
Earlier this week, I felt as if someone or something had diluted most of my strength and energy. When I could no longer push through the lethargy to keep working, I allowed the depletion to lead me to a coping tool that can sometimes support me in feeling better. I found Jason Stephenson on YouTube some months ago. He has a soothing voice, and guides the listener through deep breathing and guided imagery. This is what happened...
During the meditation, I envisioned myself in a warmly lit room surrounded by walls of eclectic drawers--blue, turquoise, rose, white, teal and red. Orange. When I opened a drawer, it contained an element of my life--a memory or a photo or an event. There was no judgment or anxiety on my part toward any object or memory I discovered in the drawers. The multitude of remembrances and memory created an alchemy that yielded a valuable whole.
A chair was positioned in the middle of the room, facing a new set of drawers that I'd not yet examined or opened. I sat on the chair's soft and expansive cushions and fell silent in my solitude. I could hear my breath. I relaxed. I sensed that one of the drawers contained an object. I rose from the chair, pulled open the drawer and found a folded sheet of paper. This ended the meditation, and I felt curious about what might be written on that sheet of paper.
Dr. Pauline Boss coined the phrase "ambiguous loss" in the 1970s to describe two types of loss; the first is physical absence with psychological presence (anything from a loved one being lost at sea to experiencing a divorce or adoption). The second is physical presence with psychological absence (a loved one with dementia, for example). These are complicated, confusing kinds of losses that resist closure or resolution.~Rachel Friedman (From And Then We Grew Up--On Creativity, Potential, And The Imperfect Art Of Adulthood)
I've vacillated between these two types of losses during the Pandemic. Some days I've felt the absence of all I knew pre COVID-19--coming and going as I pleased, taking for granted the self-checkout at the library without a thought of asking myself, "Who's been touching this screen before me?" Seeing in person and hugging my children, grandchildren and friends. Then other days I've been a physical presence to my husband, yet exhibited psychologically distant behaviors, detachment a go-to. Not saying much.
Perhaps I practice the discipline of grieving that Henri Nouwen, late theologian, speaks of in his writings. Grief and lament can be a current to take me where I need to go. I've asked myself, "What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to do? What are new thought patterns that can emerge from moving forward through this lock down?"
I feel exhausted. It takes energy to be intentional, to carry on, to maintain the basics. Please, though, let me not despise the manna.~Journal entry during the COVID-19 Pandemic
My coffee cup sits on the table by my reading chair. I note the lipstick mark that encircles the white rim. Why do I bother with lipstick when I'm at home? Yet I cling to that tube of ginger spice that I bought at the Dollar General a few days before the shelter in place mandates took effect. Little did I know then when I browsed the aisles of the store for lipstick and cheap sunglasses, that day would mark an ending to life as I knew it. Maybe that's why I smooth ginger spice over my lips in the morning, the gesture like a ritual, the bright color like a badge of assurance that all will be well.
But then the news.
Giovanni's mother, Emma, tested positive for COVID-19.
...what we wish for most, even more than paradise, is to be recognized.~Hisham Matar (From A Month in Siena)
How could this be happening? I watched as hundreds of caskets were covered with dirt, the unclaimed bodies of the dead in New York buried at a mass gravesite. The announcer on BBC World News America said something like, "One of the most well-loved cities in the world, in the richest country in the world has resorted to mass graves during the COVID-19 pandemic." The darkness of the reality matched my feelings of despair on Good Friday, of all days. I couldn't quite believe that so many people had died, not only in the United States, but all over the world.
I have questions. I ask God, "What good can come of this?" While my faith quivers in light of this world trauma, I still believe that God can work things out for good. Like He did after Good Friday. The cross was a way that He saw us, saw that we needed a savior. But when that good man, that good shepherd died, it was hard to believe that anything positive could come of it. And then Easter. The day life came back. The miracle that gives us hope now.