Stuck In The Mud

That feeling of spinning your wheels, your body rocking with the car thinking it’s going to help in your efforts to dislodge it.  Wishing someone would come along to give you a push, yet recognizing that you haven’t seen another car for miles.

The karma truck is stuck in the mud.  I think it’s ok though – either I’m on the verge of getting back on the road or I’m making peace with the fact that sometimes you just have to put the damn thing in park.

Why so stuck?  Who knows really.  A friend of mine was describing this blog to his wife and said I write about ‘all this touchy-feely stuff’.  I explained how my initial motivation was to print out a year’s worth of posts and give them to my sons. Ok – it’s been a year and a half – now what?  My intent is not to hand them a tome.  I will never curate with the best of them, nor will I write with the best of them.  My sister told me that writers have discipline – I’m sure she’s right – she’s a truly outstanding writer.  I don’t think of myself as a writer – I feel like I’m more of a gusher, spewing forth foam and fluff and occasionally a stream of water that catches the light.  So you can see why I’m a little mired.  What is this blog to be now?  I’m trying to figure that out.  Filter out all the nonsense and distill my thoughts down to the most basic.  What do I want this to be?

“I do not know much about God and prayer, but I have come to believe, over the last twenty-five years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple.  Help.  Thanks.  Wow.” — Anne Lamott. The woman is onto something.  [If you have never treated yourself to a book by Anne Lamott, please give yourself that gift].  Getting to the fundamentals.  Every morning when I’m out with the Sirs, there is a silent exchange between me and the stars.  First I whisper my gratitude, for to neglect to recognize what I have been given is folly and hubris and stupid.  The list is long.  Then I quietly marvel – how can you not marvel at a sky wallpapered with stars?  Or the words “I love you”?  Puppy licks (even from an especially mischievous one).  The intensity of the yellows and the oranges that inform the landscape on the mountain?  And finally, I say “Please”.  And I cry.  Every time I consider the request, I cry.  I feel a little like Holly Hunter‘s character in “Broadcast News“.  My therapeutic cry.

Am I sad?  No.  By the time I get to ‘please’, I’m overwhelmed.

And so we come full circle…I am more than shmaltz and less than Dostoevsky.  I am sitting in ‘park’ despite an urge to rock this baby out of the muck.  I’m old enough to know that we all have moments like these and young enough to feel impatient and itchy.  It feels good to write this to you.  It’s been too long.

The Days Of Awe

For those who observe Rosh Hashanah – the beginning of the New Year – L’Shana Tova.  My wish for my family and friends is for a year of joy and good health, laughter and abundant love, peace in spirit and in the world (I realize that’s probably a stretch but it doesn’t hurt to hope).  The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as ‘the days of awe‘.  As God opens the book of life, as we ask to be sealed into its pages for another year our thoughts turn in.  Have our actions and our hearts been in sync with an intent that is bigger than our own hubris?  Have we been kind?  Have we been fair?  Generous in both deed and thought?  Please understand, this is my interpretation of these mystical, spiritual days – I am neither rabbi nor maven on Judaism.  I’m just a woman who responds to the need to consider my actions, apologize for any hurts that I may have caused either with intention or with thoughtlessness and to commit to trying to do better.

I remember my parents during this time of year – from the tender moments of sneaking in to sit with my parents during the adults’ service (which as I recall lasted f-o-r-e-v-e-r), leaning against my father and playing with the tassels on his prayer shawl.  Challah and honey.  A prayer for a sweet year.  Kisses on both cheeks.  Makes my body ache with an undefinable pain that starts in my heart and courses its way through my body.  It’s a visceral thing, this missing them.  

I have no wisdom to offer here – certainly nothing that we all don’t already know.  We are imperfect, we are wondrous; we are foolish, we are wise; we are giving, we are self-absorbed;  we are perfectly imperfect.  So I may not get every nuance of these splendid and awe-filled days, but I get enough to know that wishing you a sweet and loving year is not exclusive to any one religion.  I get enough to know that I deeply hurt  when I think of the times I have shown people the worst of myself instead of my best (or at least my average self).   And I certainly get that considering the synchronicity between my heart and my actions is more than just an annual effort.  This year may I do a better job of being a better person.  May I walk on this earth with a lighter more loving step and let my priorities reflect an understanding that all of this passes too quickly to be dismissive.  A year of light and love and the gift of tomorrow.  Amen.

Stand By Me

There has been some activity about a YouTube video that was recently posted showing the murder of a Mideastern woman named Najibia.  I haven’t seen the clip – my cowardice and horror renders me incapable of watching it.  That said, I have been told that it reveals members of the Taliban cheering and supporting her husband as he repeatedly shot her in the back of the head.  His reason?  Her ‘crime’?  There are no reasons one can conceive of;  there was no crime, for there was no mention of a trial.  To carry my sorrow one step farther, this murder was committed in the name of a religion.  It’s important to note up front that this isn’t a diatribe about the Taliban, one specific culture, etc.  It is about the reiterative chorus in the face of unspeakable acts as justifiable by religious belief.

I’m not sufficiently well-versed to write about religion.  My spiritual view is both simplistic and I’m sure there are those who feel I am wrong.  I know of no religion that isn’t predicated on love, grace and humanity.  I am not suggesting that there isn’t significant brutality in religious and global history – though each example underscores a lesson that we were intended to learn and can’t seem to permanently absorb.  We keep repeating ourselves.  Whether acts of cruelty are defined as acceptable by gender, sect, interpretation – we watch as people continue to be brutally killed, forced to act against their will, hearts mutilated by memories.

I don’t have answers – I can feel inadequate in my corner of the world, consciously ensuring that I walk gently on this earth and embrace love as a spiritual expectation that I honor.  And I know it isn’t enough.  I have to consider ways to do more.  And I have to remember that without hope, there’d be no miracle of another sunrise and another opportunity.

You may remember this video as part of a documentary “Playing For Change – Peace Through Music”.  It lifts us up to look in the mirror and see the best reflection of ourselves, it underscores that we are all composing this song as we go along.  And though we may not read from the same notes, love is as universal as ignorance.  And there perhaps is where God resides – in the longings of our heart.