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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

at the same time

Someone said something
that catapulted me back
to February 2009

I had to try working
and try raising a
five-month-old
and try saying
goodbye
to my
dying
mom,
all at
the
same
time

One morning,
I sat in a corner
of my mom’s
empty, cold
house, twenty
feet from where
she lay dying, and
burst into
tears on
a conference
call:

Not only
could I not
answer a question,
I could not do right
by my son,
and I could
not ease my
mom’s pain,
and I could
just not
be
enough

To feel then
and now, together,
from within a community
of people who understand
is a blessing

I did what I could
with what I had,

And,
of course, I know
from my mom
“enough”
does
not
mean
“perfect”

I answered
the questions,
provided the care,
and said the farewells
that I could

From here,
I see that it was
enough, for me,
for my son, and
for my mom,
who was mighty
proud at how I
could work
and parent
and say goodbye,
all at
the
same
time

they were here

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , , ,

happier

yesterday,
my niece came bounding
around a corner.

for a moment,
barefoot and
grinning, she
looked so much
like her mom
as a little girl
that my breath
caught.

for a moment,
i was both
thirty-eight
and six,

and I
could not
have
been
happier

(for the
joy we found
then, and the
joy we layer
on top
today)

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , ,

a little more love

A couple of years ago, I wrote in my postThe Church of Sunshine through Trees“:

If I feel compelled to visit a church, I will. I will go with that flow.

Until then, my church will be the sunlight through the trees, the wind through my hair, the prayer of thanks at 3 a.m., the sweetness of fruit bursting in my mouth, the sound of my little boys’ laughter. It will be in the “for,” not the “against,” and most of all in the love I hear resounding around me when I only

remember

to listen.

Drew Downs, an Episcopal priest who’s guest posted here twice (“Loving Joy” and “Don’t Be A Priest“), commented on my post. He wrote:

I love the sensitivity you use in describing your experience – it is so honest and generous. So many of us within the institutional boundaries need to hear you, that we can share in your experience honestly and generously. Thank you, Deborah!

As always, his words eased my heart.

A couple weeks ago, I texted my sister and husband a link to one of Drew’s posts. “I’d go to church every week if Drew lived in Long Beach!”

Soon after, I read his post on Satan (“You and I are the real devils“). I texted that link, too, and affirmed my prior statement.

I wanted to post a link here and say “I am a Christian now,” but I refrained. I was concerned people would look at all my rage-y posts of the last year and think things like: Read more…

the love

Monday was a special day for Ra, a family friend. She had lunch with my husband and our sons (among others). She and I met for dinner.

Later, she sent me pictures from the day. I giggled at one particular picture; my 7yo, Li’l D, was tickled how one letter made the difference between “your earwax” and “our earwax.”

But the other picture? It choked me right up. 

A few months ago, I wrote about an exchange with Li’l D’s first grade teacher. I explained how I wanted him to grow in two areas: critical thinking and compassion.

When I saw Ra’s second picture, I saw–blazing!–the one of those two qualities harder to measure on a report card.

Look in those eyes and tell me you don’t see it, too–the love, and the believing that whatever someone is doing, it’s all the very best they can do now.

Categories: Friends, Love Tags: , , ,

cherish

as i pulled into 
my driveway, i saw
one of my neighbors
basking in the sunshine
on her front porch,
with a dog on
either side
of her

“heya,”
i called
as i opened
the driveway gate

she told me
that she’s feeling
a little pain, but that
the sunshine helps
in more ways
than one, so:

she can’t
complain

i paused,
and said,
“you know,
i just had a really
great conversation
with anthony, and i’m
just so grateful for
him … i’m with you.
i really can’t
complain”

i’d already
planned on
sharing (a little) about
anthony and neighbors,
so the timing of this
exchange was
perfect

earlier,
as anthony and i
talked, i asked if he’d
be okay with
this one
thing

(which
might
prove
aggravating)

he laughed.
“you know me.
i can put up with
almost anything.
i can’t say i’ll be
all sunshine, but
i’ll be okay”

we talked about
how people mistake
his very long fuse for
absence of fuse, with me
explaining how my sister
rache taught me that
the fact someone
has a long fuse
and peaceable
demeanor
doesn’t
mean
they’re
meek

(a lot of people
make that mistake)

i thought about
this one post 
i wrote on
l2sp;
how
anthony
surprised me,
and reminded me:
i no longer have
to fight every
fight alone

i’m sharing
that post here
tonight, but with a
caution: while the first
part was all about
anthony, the
second was
me raging
about
white
people

i’m done 
raging at 
individual
people,
done
done
done,
i do
solemnly
vow Read more…

(how to save) a life

A few weeks ago, one of my sisters sent me a string of loving texts. We share such strings often just because, but these particular texts were inspired by a Facebook memory. 

Facebook had just reminded her of a post she wrote for my blog four years ago. In one post, “The Gift of Fear,” I wrote about how the book The Gift of Fear might have saved her life. A few weeks later, in “Her Escape, Her Words,” she wrote about the journey as she’d taken it.

I reread both posts after she texted. Her post filled me with joy; she not only escaped, but has come to flourish here in SoCal. I am so freakin’ proud of her and how she makes choices to protect herself and enable herself to thrive.

My own post, though, left a pit in my stomach. When I’d written it, I’d almost completely failed to grasp how deeply systemic features–which I’d call “flaws,” were they not parts of systems designed to protect some few at the expense of many others–conspire against abused partners. I’d said, “You deserve better!” as a strictly individual initiative, without understanding just how much U.S. systems neither broadly support nor encourage that. To escape successfully requires not only defiance but faith (which can’t come easy when you live your life in fear, an island surrounded by thousands of people who don’t appear to notice your suffering) and–here’s where it really falls apart–resources, be they time, money, or social.

When she came over and sat on the stinky old couch that had served for six weeks as her bed, I explained my remorse. I told her I was so damn glad she’d escaped, but that I also feel such deep remorse how few women have resources to successfully make the escape. How miserable it is that life-or-death matters should come down to who you know, and who you know will have your back no matter what.

A system that “works” like that is a terrible, no-good system.

And yet, I explained, it doesn’t mean I’m not enduringly grateful for The Gift of Fear. Far from it! The fact there’s a book that can help guide some women to escape, and to understand it’s even possible, is a book well worth keeping spare copies to hand out (as I do). Better still, the fact that the same book helps inform other women–and men–how to avoid creeps who only seem charming makes it priceless. 

With all this joy and outrage still churning in my heart over the weekend, I searched for podcasts including Gift‘s author, Gavin de Becker. I was delighted to find a two-parter.

If you’d like to get better at trusting your instincts and making them trustworthy, these are for you. Thanks to this podcast, you needn’t read the book to learn some of its most important lessons. 

You can find part one here. Part two is here.

Such lessons might have saved my sister’s life. Sure, they might not be enough to save everyone, everywhere, given American systemic biases for the strong and against the struggling … but I’m here to tell you how beautiful it is, from the outside, to watch that one life grow.

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