The sweet and the sour and fruit on the vine…..

A whole heap of time has swirled past
since I last met with you here and I can’t say for sure why
except that I’ve opened this laptop often,  just brimming with words,
that then bottleneck and quickly subside like a low tide falling.
I let my fingers stammer for a little while and then release them to go outside
with a basket on my hip to work in the garden instead.
I come ’round to read your blogs  and my muscles draw me first
into the art room where I pour easy streams of paint into a paper plate
and begin swiping on another layer to hold space for the words
so that when they finally do tumble onto paper somehow,  they’ll have somewhere interesting
to land and maybe artfully arrange themselves.

Who am I even in this new season?
It’s taken me a minute to give a long and loving listen
to learn what this woman needs from me.

Quick back story:  I was immunosuppressed before Covid hit;
for years I’ve been extremely allergic,  tagged “overly” sensitive,
and so was super mindful to take care because I knew that if I got the virus
it may likely pound on me pretty violent,  as most viruses seem to do.
A common stomach virus can drop me because it’s gonna take a while.
I can’t actually physically throw up (lovely, right?).
I had an experimental surgery in the early 2000s because of reflux so severe
that my doctors at UNC guessed I needed to have a go.
Of mistakes I’ve made,  this was a big one.
Had I waited a few years,  as my intuition suggested,
I would’ve discovered that reflux is just one of the many
auto-immune symptoms that I’d need to navigate
with a lot of creativity and patience in the decades to come.

So it wasn’t totally shocking that Covid would hamstring me for a while with long haul symptoms.
But my healthy husband?  That shook me.

When after a vigorous move and  months of navigating my own confounding symptoms
my husband went suddenly ill with acute kidney failure,  I felt raw with fear.
For a short while I thought he may die.
Instead came the challenges of his living a newer normal –  high doses of prednisone,
insulin shots,  and wobbly with weakness.  And all the new what-do-we-do-now’s.
I had been pivoting away from our family business, gentling down, and suddenly that move
became as hardly do-able as all the other new necessities to navigate.
But ride each wave we did
and when anxiety stormed down a torrent,
I went out and dug in the garden like it was my only thing.
I guess trauma requires new dances
and this became mine.
Life became new normals and dances and gardens and ways.  And all of it mattered.

I hold them as delicious gifts now, the days when my body and brain show up in ways that I understand.
I’m learning new work-arounds for times when they don’t,
like using food enzymes to support a bum pancreas,
and implementing more structure to help with the buggy brain that can fog my windshield with sudden haze,
and talking myself through the panic that can jump me like a prowler
with a random wave of nausea or sudden chill.

Honestly it’s an unfamiliar place,  this learning to give myself some tender loving time.

To have to bend low and be patient,  sometimes as if with a toddler,  has been a level of care
I’ve never offered to myself before.
And as I do,  tentative and awkward,  I’ve felt this compassion rise
because I feel it vivid the spaces where this woman
could have used this kind of support always from,  well,  me.
How did I leave her last in a line
that never reaches the end?

This challenging stretch of road has been a ruthless and beautiful teacher.
I’m glad for these fresh cracks
and the way they’re letting the light crawl in,
bringing me somehow closer home.

Sometimes my heart flutters shy in this newer,  more tender relationship with myself
and I’m having to sit with it for a minute
before I can say the things.
I mean it sincere each time I write that I’ll be back to you more regular soon.
But I’m holding no space for the hurry I’ve long inflicted on myself;
I’ll be back when the wind fills my sails;
for now it’s maybe enough that I’m keeping them set.
And watching my garden grow:)

Sending love to you and to your own friendship with yourself;
you deserve the very most beautiful and best
there in that sacred space.
I hope you make some reservations to invest
and go gently.

“Inside your chest
lives a little nightingale
who never sleeps.”
– Alexandra Vasiliu

Big joy in sending out a package this week to Renee Clark
who likely doesn’t even remember leaving a comment
it was so long ago that I posted.
Baby steps:)
I’ll wait until I come back more consistently before offering another giveaway.

 

The love we’re born to be….

Dear darling you at the end of your heart-breaking day,
I can’t hear them clear, the words you’re making through the buzzing on the line
but I can hear it strong the sadness in your voice,
and it stirs me to lean in as far as I can bend.
But the clamor in my ears has me guessing what you mean
and it feels your voice may break into pieces
if I asked you to explain
so I close my eyes and squeeze them tight
to try and be present with you in your storm.

If I knew how to hug you warm and let our words be breath,
to hum them soft without saying,
and pull out ice cream and olives and bubbles and cheese
and put on fuzzy socks and a movie
and let your sadness simply be

–  knew how to do it across these lines
where our voices hang like unpicked fruit,
knew how to offer you my love
but not too noisy,
how to climb inside this phone
and simply
hold
your hand.

Oh my dear one,  how I would.
In every shade of comfort and kindness
just exactly how your heart could hear it
I would.
But how to hold your sadness
when my hands must hold
the phone
is a song I don’t yet know.

I hear how singing the wrong words jangles your nerves
and makes your hurt feel hurtful more.

And so here –
here in this learning place
I wrap my love with care and send it far like precious package
and use my hands to dig my roots down deep through the rock of this new season
while I charge my heart – remember – how there’s always made a way
and we will land in light and time enough
to grow the music we are needing
to be filled up wild and freeing
in the love
we’re born
to be.

“Dialogue is easily spooked,  so you must be vigilant against fear,
dismissal,  manipulation and apathy – true enemies of safe dialogue.
You’ll feel it at first,  deep down,  the urge to rebut,  rebuke,  refute.
It will be a cold rock in your gut,  tempting you to correct or disagree,
or to be offended and center yourself in that person’s story.
But that instinct can be overcome,  and the results of someone feeling heard and respected
are immediate and palpable.
It takes a fairly high level of humility,  empathy and courage
to keep a space open and healthy.
It is a developed skill that takes practice.”
– Jen Hatmaker

Just gonna be saying about the things I’m living;
always i love when you come around and join the conversation
and appreciate that you read the words that I write down:)