anxiety, faith, life lessons, politics, Ukraine,

What’s going on?

Hi my friend,

I hesitate to open this letter with an inquiry as to how you’re doing, for I think I know.  You are struggling to stay away from the news, yet realize the importance of knowing what’s going on, your head aches with the insistent rhythm of a drum (one of the big ones), tears arrive unexpectedly – part sorrow, part fury.  You cling to the faith in your soul, yet worry that faith may not be enough.  You worry, you fret, you feel the breath of your mom on your neck.  No, I’m sorry about that last part – that’s my mom having a PTSD episode in the afterlife, and reminding me to remember too.

We shake our fists at the sky, we donate money to so many causes that it’s possible we will become a cause ourselves, we pray silently and constantly.  Our impotence is matched solely by our desire to make it better.  I wrote yesterday that it’s like yelling into a window fan.  When I was a kid, I used to stand on Roosevelt Avenue underneath the elevated subway and sing a note as loud as I could without opening my mouth too wide just to see how loud I could voice my frustratons without anyone looking at or hearing me (I didn’t want to scare anyone).  There are no elevated subways in North Carolina, so I’ve sort of screwed myself out of an emotional outlet.

So, we commiserate you and I – Putin is wrong, Trump has defrauded the government (and to those who disagree with me – so be it – but it’s been common knowledge for years)…if you’re lucky, your children turn into the kind of adults you always wished them to be, love as a verb is far better than love as a noun or adjective.  I could go on – but it’s probably better if you do this exercise yourself.

It seems like we are all going off half-cocked with our own egocentric responses to the moments before us.  Our need to control a narrative that has gone off the rails.  We grow more prideful, more adamant in our positions because we can’t be wrong.  Criss Janis has a great thought – “Pride is pride not because it hates being wrong, but because it loves being wrong:  To hate being wrong is to change your opinion when you are proven wrong; whereas pride, even when proven wrong, decides to go on being wrong”.

Is this where we are?  We refuse climate change, we deny civil rights to discreet populations because of some narcissistic need that has nothing to do with the people being harmed?  We repeat the atrocities of the past – not because we refuse to learn – but because we can’t be wrong? Seriously?

Ah my dear, I have raged for too long, with little to offer as a prescription – it’s time to bring this to a close.  But you know me – I have to sign off with some attempt at grace.  I stll maintain that we are a glorious species (if misguided and prideful),  with gifts to offer each other that are indescribably beautiful and the brilliance to put the sun to shame.  I am grateful you are here, I am beyond fortunate that we are friends, and today, right at this moment, feels like singing under the elevated.  Sending you much love…

anxiety, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

Why Ask Why?

“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point.  French.  Pascal.  The heart has its reasons , whereof reason knows nothing.” — Madeline L’Engle

When my sons were little, ‘why’ was their favorite question.  You all know the exercise – the repeated inquiry that dissects a question into the most inane and discreet detail; the exchange that lasts longer than one’s patience and ultimately resolves itself once the child loses interest in the game.

But age hasn’t tempered this query for me.  I ask ‘why’ all the time – just not necessarily a loud (I say enough things a loud to perpetuate worry in those who hear me).  Why do I know there’s wind despite my inability to see it?  Why do I persist in my efforts to understand the puzzle of human behavior?  And, with all that persistence, why can’t I at least figure out my own?  Why do we establish expectations that are constructed as a house of cards?  The only difference is that I have now discovered the answer.

Because.

These aren’t the questions for which there are more concrete answers.  Reason doesn’t dictate the posing of such questions.  Facts don’t satisfactorily assuage either, for these are just the surface results of queries that are too complicated to form in any sensible way.

Why does the heart want what it wants?

Because.

Because within the human condition is faith.  Faith explains that which we believe to be true that we can’t see or explain.  But we know.  We know that there is such a thing as love whether or not our personal histories have experienced it, for our hearts ache for it sight unseen.  We know that there are miraculous moments in a day – from the subtle connections that make you feel like someone just read your mind to the complicated ties that allow friends to ‘just know’ when something is up.  The brilliance of a cardinal’s color on a leafless tree.  Why did that one star begin to twinkle more brightly just as I was thinking of someone who is no longer here?  Why?  Why does the sunrise evoke promise and the sunset occasionally resemble the saddest colors in the world?  Why was I lucky enough to learn that some of the most simple days are the happiest?  Why do some people snort when they giggle?  (Ok, I threw that one in there just to see if you were still with me).

Because.

And one of the nice things about being older is that you bring all the ages you have already been with you.  So you know that ‘because’ can suffice.  That there is a place for complex debate and study and philosophizing and a place for simple acceptance on faith.  So today I accept the awesomeness of being here without further scrutiny.  It just is.  And if you are wondering why that in and of itself is ok with me?  Because.  Have a great day all.

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