Of breakers and breathing and sprains…..

I started writing this series a few weeks back,
letting it dig up my heart,
so that I could carve out and share the overflow.
Then things got weird,
as if I was digging up buried treasure,   yes,
but also other really disturbing things packed away in boxes
in the basement of what I am.
Rocked me back hard,  I tell you,
until my soul felt concussed:)
Then I got some whiplash, for good measure.
Just one big, weepy,  anxious,  throbbing,  nauseated mess.

So I’m giving myself a week to sit down on the beach of this thing
and just watch the waves and listen to the surf sing it’s soothing songs
until my cheese climbs back on my cracker.
Sit here and breathe with me,  if you like.
I love your company.

“The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me,
but each time it hit again and I bore it,
I would discover that it hadn’t washed me away.”
– Anne Lamott

“The sky where we live is no place to lose your wings.
So love, love, love.”
– Hafiz

A new little word to celebrate…..

I’ve listened curious for my one little word;
it’s all I want to pack as I head into each new trek around the sun
and I like to pack light so I wait for the word like a gift that will come
rather than trying on a whole slew of them to see what might fit.
I headed out of the last year so exhausted that I really didn’t care
if another word popped up out of the frozen ground or not.
I felt spent.  Tuckered.  Thoroughly poured out.
Had to squint through the haze to remember what my word for last year even was.
Oh yeah ~  “All”  ~  Figures:)

This January has been a deep resting place for me.
I’ve relished every ounce of quiet.
In the past,  a word swirls in like a feather on a breeze.
No feathers this year.  No breeze.  No desire for either.
Just please let me be still a while longer,  wrapped up warm in a quilt
from everything I lost last year, still dinged and stinging from disappointment.
I just needed sweet,  healing rest.  Life offered, and I took it up grateful.
Then I woke up hungry,  as if from a long,  long nap,
and it seemed like the universe leaned in and kindly asked “so what are you hungry for?”
Usually it’s marshmallows:)

But what rumbled up from my deep was the surest word I’ve ever heard.
Celebrate.

I want to celebrate.
To really thrill and tell.
Not just notice and smile,
but to mark my pleasure in a counting-out-loud kind of way.
I don’t know if this is the same thing as being grateful or not
but it feels rather like a muscle that I need to use
and it feels good to put my weight into it again.

So,  celebrate it is.
I’ll be  sharing the daily on Instagram for the next 365:)
In each one of them I wish you joy
in mad abundance!
And then a couple of shots more:)

“Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time.
Let it be.  Unto us,  much is given.
We just have to be open for business.”
– Anne Lamott

 

 

Grace for the busy, bumped and broken…..

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It’s been a bumpy,  broken-toe ride these weeks
and I’ve wiped out in the dark waves as much as I’ve ridden tall
during this busy, busy, busy season for our little mom and pop business.
We let it outgrow us this year and then lost some really stellar help
so this mom is having to dig down to the bellows of her being
to stay the course and keep our word to all the gardens we promised to tend
while the heat kept pounding and the rain refused to fall.
I’ve poured my heart onto paper filled with lists and long days
but haven’t patched them together to make anything to share over here with you.

So I’m just gonna show up and spill what grace I have from the broken bits that I am,
because it’s grace that’s holding me,
and I love the way it’s given ~ always ~ just as each fresh now arrives
That tomorrow looks a dread is only because it’s grace has not yet come.

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But it will come.  Sure as sunrise,   it will come.

Serving up some snippets for sipping during testy times:
(hope something fits)

“Shame is a bully,  but grace is a shield.  You are safe here.”  – Ann Voscamp

“You look at me and cry
everything hurts

I hold you and whisper
but everything can heal.”
– Rupi Kaur

“Tears are liquid prayers.”  – Robin McMillian

“Sometimes grace works like water wings when you feel you are sinking.”
– Anne Lamott

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“This grace is indiscriminate compassion.
It works without asking anything of us.
Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might
to try and find something or someone it cannot cover.
Grace is enough.”
– Brennan Manning

“You can have the other words – chance,  luck,  coincidence,  serendipity.
I’ll take grace.”
–  Mary Oliver

“There’s nothing to prove and nothing to protect.
I am who I am and it’s enough.”
– Richard Rohr

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“When the rain is blowing in your face
and the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
to make you feel my love.”
– Bob Dylan

The story of “they”……

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My childhood ended the night my water broke on a cold hospital floor.
Mortified, I quickly apologized to the nurse who walked in
and questioned,   eyes still on her chart,
“You’re still giving this baby up?”
It was brisk business.

“Yes,”  the word comes from the far back of my throat and I’m embarassed by the sound.
She raises a syringe to my arm and rubs vigorous with wet cotton
that smells like my pediatritian’s office.
“This will help dry up your milk.”
Dry up.  I know these words.  They mean don’t feel so hard.  Don’t say too much.
Stay small.  And sweet.  And agreeable.  A shot to help me be agreeable.
Let’s all just get through this as pleasantly as possible,  they seem to say.
But this doesn’t feel like Becky and Patty anymore.

I’d moved in across the street from their families
the Summer before second grade and we’d quickly become friends.
Becky showed me the picture of her home-going
one hot afternoon while we played inside with paperdolls.
There were two smiling parents standing on a white covered porch,   a baby safeheld in their arms.
“So you’re adopted,”  my mind wrapped around the idea as I took in the happy of her room.
“Yes,  and Patty next door,  too.”   Patty,  whose Mom’s quick smile filled the kitchen while she fried bologna slices and offered more tea.
I loved their home.  And the way my name sounded when her Dad said it warm,
like I was more than a guest at their house.
It hasn’t been so terribly long ago since he drove us to matinees and little league.

I can see their houses from the window when I hear the results of my pregnancy test.

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The weeks that follow are a hard tumble on some heavy rocks and I agonize.
This is an impossible decision.  I don’t see a  win-win……there just isn’t one for me.
I call them – the place where Becky and Patty’s parents smiled.  I picture again their birthday parties
and scavenger hunts, shiny roller skates and the tree house that their Dad’s together built.
They of the porch sound kind on the phone and will become a strong voice in my ear
as my belly grows.
They are the matronly ones that knock on my door for the nine months before she is gone
and each week the last several of my pregnancy.  The ones sent to support my choice for adoption
with words like “unfit” and “unwed” – the ones who assure that everyone isn’t meant to be a mother.

They have come to harvest my baby.  At least that’s what I feel,  but I don’t say the words.
My own voice goes clinched like a fist holding on because I’ve made up my mind
and I hate them for trying to take what I’ve already decided to give.
A new family is going to be born and I won’t be a part.
I am the outsider;  they coach me on my role.
It’s my job to disappear.  They will not offer me a shot for this.

It’s a difficult delivery and I spend hours in recovery before I’m wheeled back into the room where they will come with the papers.
I cannot stop crying and send them away.  I read the impatient fear in their eyes and feel the push,
the press, the please don’t screw this up.
I can feel how anxious they are to not disappoint parents. Her parents.
But I can’t sign right now.  Come back tomorrow.  It’s not going to happen like this.
I won’t be stripped of her.  I call Brother B.

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This grandfatherly man is my pastor.  I haven’t known him long but right now he is my lifeline and I need him to come.
He does and pulls on gloves and gown and,  with him,  they roll her little bed out into the hall and let me take her.
B is patient as I push her cart,  carrying her with my eyes,  to the sterile room where I offer her my finger and she holds on tight.
He begins to pray out loud and I dig down deep to say my heart to the One who I believe is listening with love.
“I’m not giving her away.  I’m not,  dammit.  And they’re not taking her.  I give her to you.  Take care of her,  please.”
And so it is done.

I don’t meet their eyes when I finally sign.   I don’t answer later when they call to see how I am.
How do they think I am?  I’m bereft and between.  I’m counting days,  suspended;  I have 28 of them to change my mind
and I will myself through each one.
I want her waiting to be over…..for her parents to have and hold her wholeheartedly.
For her to belong.  I busy myself against the pain.
I have become in every way un-fit.  I don’t fit anywhere,  an outsider.
I avoid old friends.  I’m a face person and I read too much on theirs.
And I see babies everywhere.
~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Now,  29 years later,  they are calling again and they want information fast.
My head  swims and I buckle just a little with each wave,  but I’ll ride them in time and with joy.
I’ve been on the out and life has tossed me a line,  offering to pass her a note inside.
They’ve let me send an e-mail.  Medical advice.  But she needs more from me.  I know it.
She needs to know my whys.

“I want to write her a letter.”

I’ve held my love up quiet for three decades,
waiting for a door and it has opened.
I will be censored, every line scanned for approval,  but I’m free at last to write
and I begin to push my pen and shave off tender portions of me
to offer Dear Allison.

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(So much back story,  I know.  But I can’t tell it any other way.  I’ll wrap ’round and ’round
the staircase until it’s told,  this Summer series.  Hold my hand if you get dizzy;  we’ll steady each other:)
Thanks for being along.)

“But what if the great secret insider-trading truth is that you don’t ever get over the greatest losses in your life?
Is that good news,  or bad news,  or both?  The pain does grow less acute, but the insidious palace lie that we will get over
crushing losses means that our emotional GPS never finds true north,  as it is based on maps that never mention
the most important places we have been to.  Pretending that things are neatly boxed up and put away
robs us of great riches.”
– Anne Lamott

Listen how they shine…..

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Hey, tenderheart.
I noticed you there and felt it to pass you this note.
If it fits,  feel free to wear it;  if not,  toss and hear how beautiful I think you are:)

You know that little breath you hold?
The one you kind of save back for when you’ll finally feel permission
to relax into your place
at the big table.

That breath you suck in tense
until the someday when you’ll actually be enough
where you’re still feeling rather less than.

Can I whisper into that place?

There is something quietly and genuinely significant about you
already.
There’d be a sad, dark hole in this living canvas
without you.
You’re a custom fit,
particular and priceless by design.

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Walk outside and look up at the stars tonight;
listen how they shine,
winking and nodding and noticing you back,
the whole inky blackness of the vast night sky rolled out in welcome
for,  yes,  that would be you,

the universe extended generous to affirm you
just exactly where and how
you are,
each of the beats of your beautiful heart
prized by the lover of all wild things.

What if you let this love name your value
and let that breath go.
Stand beneath the great wide sky,  all small and mighty and cherished,
and breathe all the way down,
past the dregs of your fear,
and embrace it,  your fit and flow.

I totally dare you:)

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“We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found,
already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously
who we were born to be.”
– Anne Lamott

I’ll be sending a little love bomb to Robin of Gotham Girl this week.
Another care package in the drawing for this week.
With big joy:)

 (This is an older write;  I’ve re-worked it and am putting it on the menu again
with some freshly sweetened hope.  Let me know if it speaks)