Sometimes I am completely overwhelmed...
In the quiet moments, in the solitary moments, in the busy moments, in the active moments, sometimes I am completely overwhelemed.
When I think about all the people that had to be born, raised, educated, and encouraged so that I could sit at the kitchen counter in a home I love,
when I think about all the people that it took to create the minivan I have driven for the past ten years,
or the airplanes that have flown me safely back and forth across not only this country but also several lakes, rivers, and oceans,
or the the bricks and roofing shingles and floor boards and drywall that went into building this house,
or the minds, hands, and circuits that went into creating the computer that I am typing on right now...
when I think about the tea leaves that were harvested, dried, packaged, and shipped so that I could drink the cup of tea that is next to my computer,
or the hands that picked and washed and packaged and shipped the raisins, cranberries, pine nuts, romaine leaves, soy beans, egg, carrots, rice, black beans, and parsley that made up the salad I just had for lunch,
or the cotton that was picked, dyed, woven, cut, hemmed, folded, packaged, and shipped so that I could have clean sheets, pillowcases, towels, pajamas, tee shirts, skirts, socks, and everything else that cradles me in comfort, warmth, and modesty,
when I think of all the people I have met along my life's journey - in libraries, shops, airports, schools, museums, classrooms, churches, restaurants, coffee shops, and online -
when I think of how many twists and turns our lives took in order for us to meet when we did, where we did, so that we could become friends, fall in love, widen our hearts, deepen our affections, dream bigger dreams, live more fully, laugh more deeply, and follow the way, the truth, the life together,
when I think of the love, the courage, the strength, the peace, the joy, the wonder, the gratitude, the grace, the mercy, the forgiveness that I have been granted,
when I think of the sorrow, the tears, the fear, the uncertainty, the questions, the anger, the resentment, the bitterness, the misunderstandings, the insults, the abandonment, the separations, the betrayals that I have both caused and suffered,
when I think of the second and third and fourth chances, the healing, the reconnection, the hope restored, the wounds tended to, the shoulders offered, the strong hands extended towards me and out from me,
when I think of all of that, when I look back on this amazing life I have lived, I am overwhelmed. Sometimes I gasp in awe of it all. Tears flow freely. I cannot help myself. I do not want to stop myself. I have been blessed beyond all that I could ever have asked or imagined.
I do not say that in order to suggest that my life has been simple, easy, wrinkle-free, or tangle-free. It has not been any of those things. I do not say that in order to suggest that there is nothing in my life that I wish to change, exchange, replace, do away with, or utterly destroy. That is far from true.
But when I think about all that I have seen, tasted, experienced, endured during these 45 years of life, when I think about all the voyages I have taken and returned safely from, when I think about all the homes I have lived in, the hotels I have stayed in, the restaurants I have eaten in, when I think about all teachers and coaches and pastors and mentors and therapists and priests that have shared wisdom and knowledge with me, when I think about the handful of especially brave souls who have scaled the walls of my heart and, rather than taking over, have instead taken up residence within me, when I look around and honor the fact that our house is still standing, we are still together as a family, and that all is relatively well at the moment,
when I ponder all of that for a few moments,
I am overwhelmed -
And I am deeply grateful.
What overwhelms you when you stop to think about it?