Sunday, September 26, 2010

My morning walk, my life walk...

I went out for a walk this morning. Blessedly alone. When I parked next to the greenway, the skies were ominously dark. I wondered to myself, "Is it going to rain? Should I set out on a walk with the threat of rain? Should I leave my purse in the car or take it with me? Perhaps I should leave my bag but take my phone."

You get the drift; I was overthinking it as I seem to overthink most things in my life.
I stopped the mindless fear flow with a succinct: "Enough, G. Just get out of the car and walk."
So off I went. Car keys in hand. Everything else tucked under a blanket in the back of the minivan.

More thoughts set in immediately: "How far should I walk? What if something happens to me and I need my phone? I hope no one is riding their bikes too fast on the path. It gets so crowded in there and bikes just make it more dangerous than necessary... Enough, G. Just walk." 

The following is an account of some of what I saw and what I thought as I walked.

Families walking: babies in strollers, kids on scooters and bikes and pull-behind bike trailers.
     (Did that woman give birth to those tiny little twins? They are so cute. She is in such great shape. Wow! I didn't look nearly that good when my kids were that young, and I didn't even have twins... What a great looking family. The American dream: two kids and a dog. So cool. Wait! I've got two kids and a dog; why aren't I more satisfied with my life?... Why isn't that kid wearing a helmet? I'd hate for him to fall and hit his head... There is something so beautiful about seeing families together, walking, talking, and growing closer - and there is something wonderful about being here without my family, walking, thinking, praying, dreaming, and experiencing this glorious morning all by myself.)

Dogs: great danes and yorkies, huskies and the occasional mixed breed.
     (Dogs are great companions and even better teachers. They seem to love every minute of their lives. They are so trusting, so hopeful. It seems like they are always looking forward to the next adventure, the next walk, the next meal, but also perfectly contented with where they are right now. Maya teaches me that lesson every single day: a sunny spot to lie down is all she needs until she needs 30 seconds outside to pee until she needs a few nibbles of food. Every little bit is enough for her. No big plans. No big dreams. In this moment right here right now with me or without me, she is fine. When am I gonna learn to live that contentedly and happily and gratefully?)

Runners, walkers, bikers.
     (Will he drink all the water in all of those bottles hanging around his waist? What does it feel like to have all that stuff bouncing up and down on your hips while you run? It sure looks weird, but if it helps you get thru your run, then who am I to judge? Look at that woman's legs. She is clearly a regular runner. Those thighs and calves and arms and shoulders do not have one ounce of fat on them. Wow! I bet she's a triathlete or an ultra-marathoner. I could have legs like that if I started running every day and stopped drinking my soy peppermint white mochas at Starbucks. I wonder how long it would take me to lose these extra pounds and be able to run a marathon. I should talk to a trainer at the Y and see what the first step should be. What the heck are you thinking, Gail? You are not a runner. You are a walker. Be grateful to be able to walk; stop fantasizing about a way of life that doesn't interest you in the least. Now pay attention to where you are walking or you might slip and fall off the path and wish you were wearing a helmet!)

Men with men. Women with women. Men with women. Lots of people alone.
     (They look like they are having a great conversation. Are they married to each other or just friends out for a walk? Who wears flip flops on such a long walk? I guess she does. What country are they from? What language are they speaking? Are they talking about me? I greeted them; why didn't they greet me in return? They act like they didn't even see me walking past. Am I invisible this morning? Is there something on my face that they are trying to politely ignore? Gail, are you planning to say "hello" to everyone you see? Why bother? Just leave them alone so they can enjoy their time outside. It's not all about you, babe. Why does it feel like, no matter which way I am walking on this path, most of the people are going the other way? I am glad I'm here alone, so glad I came out this morning. People are so interesting and fun to watch. And your thoughts are quite interesting to observe too. Why do I sometimes think in the first person and sometimes in the second person? Why am I such a geek that I think about which subject and what form of the verb I use when I'm talking to myself? Maybe I should just stop talking to myself and watch where I'm walking.)

Ipods and cell phones in action, and the unconnected and unplugged.
     (I cannot imagine walking with my ipod on. The sounds of birds and squirrels and frogs and even the deer captivate me and move me more than any prerecorded song or sermon. It's scary enough to have the bikes and joggers pass me when I can hear them coming; with my ears plugged, I'd have a series of heart attacks or small strokes everytime someone passed me unexpectedly. But then again, I prefer silence over noise in almost every situation. I don't usually turn on the music in the car and almost never turn it on in the house. It is in the car and out for walks that my best thinking happens, my best prayers are raised, my biggest dreams are incubated and hatched, and most of my blog topics bubble to the surface of my mind. Walking is my favorite form of exercise and worship and meditation. It is so good to be out here this morning.)

This morning, as my thoughts wandered, so did my feet; I ended up walking farther than I ever had before. I didn't get rained on. I listened to people as they passed me and as I passed them. I laughed at what I heard and saw. I was awed by the varied beauty of the people I saw: their faces and hair and thighs and arms. I marveled at their determination to be outside, moving, breathing, stretching, and giving themselves the gift of better health. I wondered who was training for an event of some kind and who was in recovery from one. I wondered who was in financial difficulties, whose children were sick, whose parents were ailing, whether or not some wished for more children or fewer. I wanted to know what it felt like to be such an elite athlete, to own such a large dog, and to wear such short shorts in public.

In between all those thoughts and questions and all that wondering along the trail, I was pondering the many ways in which this morning's walk was similar to my life walk. Sometimes I walk my life journey with others and sometimes, most times, I am alone. Sometimes there are storms and falls and frights, and sometimes, most times, all is perfectly well. Sometimes people go running past me with deeply chiseled and taut spiritual muscles while I feel more and more like a novice athlete running this spiritual marathon trying to figure out the pace at which I will move and the intensity of the training I am willing to endure. Sometimes I get caught up in the comparison game - I am better or worse than... I am more fit or less fit than... I am smarter or denser than... I am kinder or meaner than...  Sometimes I take myself out of the equation and simply applaud the successes of others and give thanks for simply being able to even live and breathe and move at all. Sometimes I am alert to the sounds and voices and music that are all around me, and sometimes I do my best to shut everyone and everything out and tune in to all that is being spoken into and within me. As fit and strong and determined as I sometimes feel along this ultramarathon of life, I know that there are miles to go before I sleep, so very many miles to go before I sleep.

This is my life journey. I am taking it one mile at a time.
One prayer at a time. One journal page at a time.
One morning walk at a time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I think I finally get it now...

I used to think that only some people had interesting lives and cool stories to tell. That only the ones who have traveled or lived abroad or speak more than one language or have done something that I, from my narrow-minded perspective, deemed "interesting" - whatever that may have meant at any given moment in my life - then I would deign to give of my time and energy to listen to what they had to say.

But I think I finally get it now.

Everyone I meet either has faced some enormous battle, some frightening moment, some momentous decision or is facing something like that right now. Every person in every supermarket aisle, at every gas pump, on every motorcycle, and driving every single minivan has risen above what they thought were insurmountable odds and is alive to tell dozens of heart-stopping tales. Everyone has at least one amazing, miraculous story to tell from their lives. The sad truth is that I don't give other people enough time and space and safety to tell their stories. I am too quick to judge someone's worth by the color of their skin, whether or not they speak English with an accent, their country of origin, what they are wearing, what car they drive, or whether or not they are married or have children or believe what I believe or live in my neighborhood or fill in the blank with whatever prejudgment matters to me most at the moment of judgment. I shudder to think how many of the best life stories I have missed because I refused to make time to listen to a prophet or an angel in my presence.

I used to think that reading the Bible and going to church and attending and teaching Bible studies and talking about my faith every time I got the chance regardless of whether or not the person I was talking to was interested in what I believe were the best ways to prove to myself and others that I am a woman of faith and that I trust in God.

But I think I finally get it now.

Those are just a few ways, precious few ways to walk the journey of faith I have embarked on. What I realize now is that when I wash the dishes and peel carrots and scrub our filthy tubs and talk on the phone and laugh and cry and tell the truth and forgive someone and admit to my doubts and fears and anger and lust and disgust and confusion I am living out my faith then too. Even when I am not doing any of the things that I have always been told are proof of my commitment to my faith and to God, even when I am doing exactly the opposite of what I know to be right and true, I'm living a life of faith then too.

Because the life of faith includes the doubts and fears and questions. It includes the times when I wander off the path unintentionally and the times when I pull out the machete of my free will, take a sharp left turn off the previously bulldozed boulevards of belief, and carve a path into the darkness where none existed before. Leaving home with my fortune in my shoulder bag, heading out into wildness, headstrong and determined to be the wayfaring stranger in a faraway land - all of that is just as much a part of my walk of faith as sitting quietly in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Roma during mass after lighting candles and kneeling at the side chapel where Bernini's statues of Daniel and Joseph stand. Sometimes the wandering away is a whole lot more fun ...

I used to think that to be a good friend, a faithful friend, and a loving friend ( or daughter, mother, wife, sister, neighbor, etc), I had to put up with anything and everything that the other person put out. I used to think that I couldn't stand up for myself, that I couldn't ask for what I wanted, that I couldn't disagree with the other person. I have been told and I have read and I have even taught that "love keeps no record of wrongs, always hopes, always perseveres."

But I think I finally get it now.

That kind of all-forgiving, all-accepting love is certainly the goal. But I don't love that way. I cannot love that way. And lately I have come to realize that I don't even want to love that way. Because when I have tried to give and forgive and accept and believe all things and not keep a record of wrongs, I have been taken advantage of, used, abused, and when I declared to myself and my abusers that it was time for all that wrongdoing to cease, I was unceremoniously reminded that if I am a good wife/mother/daughter/ friend/church member or fill in the blank with whatever other label keeps me living as a doormat, I will let the madness continue. Not so much. Now that I finally get it, my goal is to be awake enough to sense the small, safe, whole, and holy ways in which I can love, forgive, connect, touch, heal and be loved, forgiven, connected, touched and healed. And to stay agile and fit enough to run for cover whenever necessary. I am too proud to beg, but not to proud to flee the scene of previous crimes against my heart, my mind and my soul.

I used to think that if I prayed enough and went to church enough and obeyed as many of the ten commandments as I could as often as I could and if I ate well and exercised a few times each week and dressed modestly and refused to curse and smoke and drink too much or do drugs or go places and say things that I could possibly get into trouble for, in other words, if I were as good as I could be as long as I could be, that nothing bad would happen to me or anyone I love.

But I think I finally get it now.

I have almost no control over what happens to me or the ones I love. Here's the thing, I try hard to do right and live right and eat right and all of that right stuff - and a whole lot of bad shit has happened to me and people I love. Often. Far too often. Sometimes I eat crappy food and sleep late and blow off church and other things and sometimes I give in to my urges to be real, real bad - and bad shit still happens. Fortunately, most of the days of my life, goodness and mercy do follow me, no matter where I go or what I do or say. I am enormously grateful for that.

I have a friend who reminds me regularly: "This is it, Gail. This is the only life you've got. This is not a dress rehearsal, and there are no second takes. Stop talking about the life you want to live - and live it. Right here and right now. What are you waiting for?"

I think I finally get it.

But keep the reminders coming because I am bound to forget again. Probably by tomorrow morning...

PS. It occurred to me tonight that this is the first time in nearly six years of blogging that I have ever published a curse word. I'm not sure why that realization has gotten me out of bed after midnight to add this PS to this blog post, but it has. Actually, I do know why. I kept hearing questions like: "What will _______ and ________ think of my foul language? Will I be banned from _________ and _________? Will I ever be invited back to _________ or _________?" echoing through my mind. I thought a lot about editing "the bad words" out, but decided not to because what made me open my eyes a few moments ago, jump out of bed, and add this post script was remembering that God loves me no matter what I do, where I wander off to, or what vocabulary I use in my travel journal. That is definitely something worth writing about.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pardon me while I brag for a minute...

My son is my favorite young man in the world.
Not a surprise, I'm sure.
He's also my favorite tennis player.
Also, not a surprise.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks he's special.
Check THIS out. (Click on the link and scroll down a bit... and there he is!!!)
Here's a little more info about him...

I am one proud mama bear!!!

Not for sale!

I have purchased food, clothing, books, pens, pencils, furniture, cars, paper, journals, stationery, cameras, candy, nail files, nametags, magnets, elephant statues, tickets, cds, chopsticks, alcohol, necklaces, bracelets, boots, envelopes, erasers, socks, bras, and thousands of other items in my lifetime. I have dreamed of buying airplanes, apartments and villas, islands, sapphires, motorcycles, friendship, love, attention, devotion, and passion. The thing I have discovered is that there are some things that are simply not for sale.

On certain occasions, on our wedding day for example, I have bought food and drinks and invited others to share those treats with me. But I could never have bought the friendship or love or support that were shown towards me and my husband that day.

I have purchased online courses and met some amazing people through those classes. One of those wonder-filled women I met online lives right here in Charlotte. She and I create art, go shopping for art supplies, drink coffee, eat sweets, and laugh and cry together on a regular basis nowadays. She listens to my joys and sorrows, and I do the same for her. I encourage her to be brave and strong as she faces some of life's toughest challenges and choices, and she does the same for me. But I didn't pay for that friendship or companionship when I clicked the PayPal button for the class that brought us together.

My daughter took two literature courses at a local private school two summers in a row. Her teacher, the delightful Ryan Welch, has become a friend of our family and Kristiana's biggest fan. When my daughter was sick, he sat across from her and said, "I know how great a student you are. I know that you are capable of great things. But until you are able to believe that about yourself, I will hold on to hope for you." I still weep whenever I think about that moment and the profound power of those words when he spoke them into and over her - and all of us - at the most difficult time of her life. He is the best teacher I never had and he shares the wealth of his knowledge and experience and fabulous sense of humor with us as often as we ask. But the checks I sent to pay for those classes did not purchase his affection and attention and kindness towards my daughter and our entire family.

I own nearly every book Alice Walker has written. I read one of her books - Living By the Word - so many times that I broke the hardcover binding and inadvertantly ripped out a few dearly loved pages. Through the poetry and essays Alice wrote that referred to her only child, I felt as though I knew her daughter, Rebecca, as well. Fast forward a couple of years -  I read an article in Essence magazine written by Rebecca, who was a student at Yale at the time. I wrote a letter of thanks and appreciation to Rebecca for that article, and her response to my letter included an invitation to meet her in person. I drove to Yale, hung out with her for several hours that day and developed an ongoing friendship with her. After several subsequent letters and phone calls, she invited me to visit her at home - the home of Alice Walker - in northern California. Unbelieveable! A few weeks later, there I was walking around the home and property where Alice and Rebecca Walker lived and slept and ate and drank and wrote books and welcomed their friends - of which I was one. But I didn't pay for that friendship. I didn't pay for those moments of basking in joy and peace and the deep goodness of life and the earth.

I have countless similar stories: Of attending a movie and meeting my future husband and the father of my two amazing children. Of knocking on the dorm room door across from mine to ask for help with a biology assignment and meeting one of the smartest, gentlest, funniest, kindest women I have ever known - who eight years later was one of my three bridesmaids. Of ordering a drink at a bar and meeting someone whose stories of travel and poetry and music and art will always be a source of joy. Of welcoming a group on a school exchange trip and meeting a fellow pilgrim who for the last twenty-one years has told me stories of his priestly life and listened to stories of my wifely life and has summarily changed the course of my life journey. Of commenting on a blog and connecting with a soul-sister of the best kind who took the risk of catching a plane from Ohio and joining our family in North Carolina. No money exchanged hands. The biology tutoring was free. The drink was free. The movie was free. The school trip was paid for by a Catholic school. The blog comment cost me nothing. But the relationships that have developed as a result of each of those encounters are truly priceless.

The things that mean most to me -
love, connection, reliability, graciousness, kindness, warmth, romance, joy, honor -
are not for sale.

Laughter, loyalty, lightheartedness.
Commitment, consistency, courage.
Desire, delight, dependability.
Presence, passion, playfulness.
Gratitude, gentleness, generosity.
Dignity, esteem, respect.
Being remembered. Being loved.
Hands held, promises kept, dreams shared.
Stories told. Tears shed. Sacredness honored.

Not for sale.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sometimes the best thing to do is...

* go on a solo retreat here at home, honoring my desperate need to pull back and be alone

* not eat any dinner and drink asti spumante with my hubby on a Friday night

* be completely wrong about something, but go for it anyway

* let the clean laundry sit in the dryer unfolded for a day or two

Nope, not "sort of" - I am all the way right here...

* let myself off the hook

* live vicariously thru the lives of a few personal superheroes until I figure out the best and biggest way to live my own life

* acknowledge that I was wrong and set out to correct the mistake

* speak my own truth and live in it

* encourage someone I love to do the same

* just be silent and sit with her in her sorrow

* stock up on soup supplies for winter (I love Trader Joe's)

* accept a warm hug from the manager of the refrigerated section who said he almost spoke to me from behind the milk shelves but thought that would scare me too much so he came out to find me as I wandered in the store (Did I mention that I love Trader Joe's?)

* drop her off at the bus stop and drive away without looking back

* just say "enough" and mean it

* make a list, check it twice, and then do absolutely nothing on it

* walk the dog and stare up at the moon

* go cold turkey, feel the pain of withdrawal, and then bask in freedom from addiction

A cappuccino sweetened with rock candy

* indulge my secret passions (and the not-so-secret ones too)

* laugh at the major contradictions in my life and refuse to apologize for them

* stop saving the good stuff and use it every day

* clean up the mess even if I didn't make it

* make a mess and let someone else clean it up

* bake dark chocolate - mint cookie bars first thing in the morning and enjoy the smell all day long

* buy ice cream sandwiches on the same day I bake so I can choose which goodie I want to eat

* stand and stare into my pantry and give thanks for the bounty

Sunrise in Augusta, Georgia

* sit and stare at the photos that scroll by on my desktop and smile at the great memories

* lie down on the floor of my study and stare up at the ceiling

* wear my workout clothes all day but don't work out

* throw my head back and laugh out loud

Not sure how much I'd have to be paid to repair or replace roofs

* say hello to the guys repairing the roof of my therapist's office building as I enter the building; it must get lonely up there sometimes

* sleep late

* resist the urge to complain but give thanks for my many blessings instead

* turn off the computer and go to bed

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday Night Ponderings and Gratitude

A few random thoughts...

Nope, it's not upside down.

1. Taking solo walks in the early morning hours is a fabulous way to start the day. Talking to myself out loud. Telling myself all the things I wish someone else would say, but since no one else will, I'll say it all myself. Reviewing last night's dreams. Planning out the day. Listening to the birds. Watching leaves fall. Feeling autumn's chill and summer's last licks. Looking for turtles in the two ponds I pass. Hoping and praying not to run into any snakes.

2. Laughter makes me happy. Seems like an obvious thing. But when I'm sad or feeling sorry for myself, a good story well told cracks me open - which allows sadness to pour out and light to pour in. Thanks for picking up not only the phone, but also my spirits, Amy.

Papeleria = stationery/paper store/bookstore.

3. I am about to finish one journal and start another. The one I'm going to begin is the last of a case of 24 journals I bought in Madrid back in May of 2005, when I was there with the children for a month-long field trip. Early in our time there the proprietor of the lovely stationery story around the block from our apartment sold me two of this model that he had on hand, and I fell in love with them almost instantly. A few days later, I asked him how many he had in stock; he had none, but offered to order me a case. There were 3 or 4 journals in each of our suitcases when we returned home in early June. I used all the others in the subsequent three years and saved this one for more than two and a half years. I'm not sure why I held onto it, but today I decided to stop saving the best for some indeterminate future time. I'm using my best stuff now.

4. Last week, I read Karen Maezen Miller's Hand Wash Cold. Fabulous book. Too many lessons to name here. But one that stands out in my mind is the one that made #3 on this list possible: use the best stuff now. this is the only moment i've got. this load of laundry, this sinkful of dishes, this doggie walk, this kitchen counter cleaned up - this is my life, the only life i've got. all my hopes and dreams and fantasies have to be lived out here and now. right here. right now. Thanks, Karen, for a mind-bending and soul-shifting book.

5. Taking trips with each child is another fantastic idea. I first heard of it from Judy Heins - who is my hero in more ways than she can possible imagine. More than ten years ago, she told me about the family tradition she and her husband had of taking solo trips with each of their children.

Eating his breakfast on the morning of his final matches.
He is partial to eating 2 whole kiwis - with a spoon - before playing tennis.

One week ago tonight, I was in Augusta, Georgia with my son at a Labor Day weekend tennis tournament. His record at the end of the weekend was 6-3, and he came home with a 2nd place trophy for doubles.

This photo was taken a few weeks ago - and I love it.
I couldn't get my arm out of the picture...

Two nights ago right now, I was in Raleigh, North Carolina with my daughter attending a conference called Big Tent Christianity - which blew my mind in more ways that I can name here.

Thanks, Kristiana and Daniel. You are awesome kids. I couldn't be a mom without you.

6. Starting the new homeschooling year has been challenging. Books, assignments, taking notes, online classes, Mom-taught classes, mechanical pencils, calculators, trips to the library, tears, fears, and way too much anxiety. None of us wanted to start up again, least of all me! The good news is that this is the last year they will be homeschooled together as Kristiana is a senior this year. The bad news is that this is the last year they will be homeschooled together as Kristiana is a senior this year. We are all growing up, most of all me!

7. Until recently, the morning walk from my bed to my study or the bathroom was accompanied by the sounds of my ankles and knees snapping, crackling, and popping. Then a dear friend's gorgeous daughter, newly certified as a personal trainer, taught me the right way to stretch after I exercise. The key, it turns out, is to hold each stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds. The longer, the better. Now my morning strolls are delightfully quiet. No one can hear me sneaking downstairs to head out for my morning walks anymore. Thanks, Beka. My formerly aching joints thank you as well.

8. It's okay to not respond to sarcastic remarks, even when the person who says them assures me that it's all in jest, only a joke, and that if I am offended, it's because I'm altogether too sensitive. Today I was informed that any energy spent on protecting or defending myself or my actions or my decisions against such behavior is wasted energy. Thanks, Sheila.

Sitting in the hot Georgia sun watching kids I don't know play tennis
isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds.
Good thing I can be happy come sun, come boredom, come mean and hungry ants...
yes, they came around and bit my feet and ankles frequently.

9. I can be happy come hell or high water, in silent times or in noisy times, for richer or for poorer, together or apart, with or without anyone else's affirmation. I can be my own superhero. I can be the queen of my own castle. Yes, I can. Yes, I can. Thanks, Jen and Andrea.

10. There is something mildly shocking, more than a little disarming, and strangely liberating about taking nude photos of myself, looking closely at them, and recognizing that I'm not bad looking despite my advanced age of 44 years and having given birth to two large babies a few years back. I had no idea how differently I would appear in the photographs than I do when looking in a mirror. Not sure what to attribute that to...

11. It is no longer Friday night, but rather early on Saturday morning. I need to get some sleep. I thank my bed in advance for its comforting embrace and warm welcome.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Sometimes I forget...

I forget how rough the road has been, how sunny the days,
and how moon-light filled the nights

I forget how many times I have flown across the ocean
and driven to and from the supermarket - safely

I forget so many names and faces and the places where we met

I forget to watch movies that have been lent to me
and read the books that have also come my way

I forget who I have told which stories and how many times

I forget whether or not I have taken my vitamins or brushed my teeth

I forget to pray with the kids before they go to bed
and forget to do my homeschool prep work

I forget to pack deodorant sometimes
and tampons and a pillowcase

I forget how much I am loved, remembered, thought of

Then I reread email or text messages or a card sent the old fashioned way

I look at photos from days and trips gone by

I look at the worn down soles of my boots and the frayed corners of my favorite suitcase

I look at how tall my children are and watch them cook for themselves and for me

I clear out textbooks and readers that served us when they were elementary aged homeschoolers

That's when  I remember

I remember how long we have lived in this magnificently perfect house

I remember how many trips we have taken together and apart

I remember nights we played games together and laughed until our dog barked at us with concern

I remember times when my voice caught in my throat like a jagged fish bone at moments of unspeakable sadness

I remember healings and reconciliations and soulful connections
followed by the briefest moment of a hand held or a knee grazed

I remember late night conversations with friends and loved ones

I remember many times I have been told that they think of me and love me

I remember and I say "thank you"

Thank you - insert your name and gorgeous face here - for your presence and love and encouragement in my life. Thank you for your patience with my forgetfulness, busyness, and excessive seriousness. Thank you for your persistence in tracking me down, asking me to have tea and coffee and martinis and mojitos and art dates with you, inviting me back into your lives over and over even though I blow it so often.  Thank you for putting up with my stuff: my silences, my distance, my ambushes, my relentless pursuits, my quirkiness, my geekiness, my long speeches, and my short answers.

Please forgive me, though, because every single day I forget...

Thank you, Most Holy One, for your deep and consistent and merciful goodness in my life. Thank you for being who you are even though I so often doubt you and ignore you and pretend that you don't exist. Thank you for showing up and showing yourself strong even when I wonder if you really care about me at all. Thank you that, if you are who you say you are, my questions and wanderings and wondering and insistence on doing things my way anyway make absolutely no difference with regard to your love for me.

Please forgive me, though, because every single day I forget...

Oh, but the joy of remembering again makes the shame of forgetting not feel quite so bad...