September 25, 2010

the loveliness of sows

Much as I enjoy using words myself, I am more often than not blown away at the ways in which other people put thoughts together. To me, the putting together of words into sentences that I couldn't have thought up in a million years borders on magical. I think it is why I have always loved to read; because other people's thoughts, their joys and their pains, look much like my own. That I can feel something, acutely, and another person can describe it perfectly, eloquently, better than I ever could have - is just so freaking awesome. Even if (situationally speaking) our lives look strikingly different, on paper, we connect, intersect, relate to one another. While in real life reading another person can be not only scary but horrifically difficult, reading another person allows you more insight into their thoughts, their feelings, who they are. And as I get older, I find that more and more, I get to be in relationships with people who are honest enough, comfortable enough, to let me into those places (the "me too" places, if you will) that reading becomes less of a necessity to feel connected.

But I don't love it less. Because I firmly believe that words make art, and although art is not perhaps necessary to our basic survival, we don't thrive quite as much without it. At least I don't.

All that to say, I really, really, really love poetry.
And I really, really, really love this poem, Saint Francis and the Sow, by Galway Kinnell.

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow 
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead 
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and flops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them,
the long, perfect loveliness of the sow.

So. For those of you I have not lost into a fit of giggles because now the word "teat" is now forever immortalized on my blog, do you not love that? When I read that line - "though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness," I had to stop and catch my breath. And as I kept reading, I imagined St. Francis stooping to the earth to remind a sow that it was lovely. St. Francis. A Saint for goodness' sake. And a sow. The very picture of filth. The very last thing I think of as lovely. Are you starting to see what I'm seeing?

I've given a lot of thought recently about forgetting who you are. I wrote a few months ago: "I wonder how often we become something we're not simply because we've forgotten who we are." And to take it one step further now, I wonder if we haven't forgotten who we are simply because we've forgotten who God is.

I want, sort of desperately, to be retaught my loveliness. And I want to reteach others their loveliness too.  Would that every interaction we had with one another - every touch, every word - pointed to just that: loveliness. That we could flower, and in so doing could be fully alive. That we could remember. And in so remembering, would remember too that our loveliness, our worth, comes from the God that created us that way. In his image.


September 19, 2010

the kind of day where doubt is difficult

you do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes it's demands
you hold on as well as you're able

you've been here for a long, long time...

This morning, someone I care about got good news. There was some scary stuff laced in there as well, but the long and short of it is that this woman - who has been dealing with health/medical issues for a long time - might be looking at relief. Finally. There is hope where before there has been very little. And without going into all of it - the story, the whole chain of events, is just really unbelievable. It's so much an answered prayer for her, I can't even begin to tell you. When she was telling us this morning, she barely had words to describe how she was feeling.

I can't be sure, but if I were a betting woman, I'd say that's probably what hope looks like. Real, genuine, expectant, faithful hope. It was delightful. And insanely beautiful.

I left the hospital and as I got in my car to go about the rest of my day, I thought to myself,
"I'm going to have the kind of day where doubt is really difficult."

dear this kind of day, 
you are welcome to return anytime it suits you. 
in fact, maybe be a frequent visitor, if you like. 
I wouldn't hate it.
kindest & most sincere regards, 

hope has a way of turning it's face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room, you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself:
"it's been a while since I felt this; but it feels like it might be hope"

[sara groves] (click to listen to the song. which, by the way, I love.)

September 9, 2010

why I [might maybe possibly kind of sort of a little bit] believe in unicorns.

Having a blog has its perks. Sure, I like to write, so that's a big one. And I've mentioned I like to be heard, so there's that too. 2 for 2. But then there is the story part. It's like I am writing a continuous novel about myself. I write my life, that is true - but I am fully in control of what about my life I write. It is a great great thing that I can be real, and authentic, and write truth - to the extent that I see fit on a given day. The truth is the truth, yes - but I can spin it how I like. I get to choose. In this life that I write, I am the author, creator, editor, and mastermind. I can write something completely untrue if I want (I don't do that, for the record). I can write something and delete it if I don't like what I see. I'm in charge. I have control. And for your information, yes, the weather is lovely in delusionland.

Anyway, in the life that I write, I try very hard not to write about the L-word. Love.

I don't mean love as in a "love your neighbor" or "I like my new Sketchers, but I LOVE my Prada backpack" kind of way. I mean love... like, LOVE LOVE. Romance love. The subject of every movie geared towards my demographic love. DOYOULIKEME check-yes-or-no love. It's not a subject I feel super comfortable positing my opinions on. On the one hand, to be a 25 year-old single girl writing about love feels stereotypical to me, and predictable is never something I want my writing to be described as. And on the other, I secretly fear becoming 'that' girl. You know her... the one who talks about nothing else. It is possible, however, that my refusal to accept this topic has caused me to err on the side of never acknowledging it, which is a kind of predictability in itself. (If it was offered, I would trade self-awareness for blissful ignorance in a heartbeat. Just saying.) So here we are.

Against my will, the "yucky love stuff" (My Best Friend's Wedding anyone?) has been stalking me lately. Believe me, I fought it... but in the past 5 months, I was invited to 8 weddings. 8 save the dates, 8 invitations, 8 RSVP cards (typically late, because, I'm me), 2 pretty great bridesmaid's dresses, 1 maid of honor speech, many bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, plane tickets, road trips, and blisters (from excessive dancing in heels) later, its September, and way more of my friends' last names have changed on Facebook than I am comfortable with. (Seriously. I hardly know who anyone is anymore. Very stressful.) It's unavoidable at this stage of life, I think... but still. I'm surrounded. And at some point, one must put on one's big girl pants and DEAL.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: Unicorns.

Yes. Unicorns. Those mythically wondrous sparkly horse-like creatures with horns growing triumphantly from their majestic brows. Sunlight beaming from every inch of their lithe, irridescent bodies. Unicorns. Unicorns are wonderful (don't argue, I won't listen) and magical and at the end of the day, we don't think they really exist. Which is why one day, when speaking of a friend's fiance, another friend and I dubbed this particular man a Unicorn. He was so wonderful that we weren't sure he was real. Another time the term came up when a friend was being pursued really well by a guy. Again, we thought, "is this real?!" Months have passed since we first coined this phrase, and one by one, Unicorns have continued to strut into the picture of my friends' lives. Fascinating.

I can no longer pretend that Unicorns (the man kind, anyway) do not exist. I can't. The evidence is there. Having been present at the aforementioned six trillion weddings in my lifetime, I can ignore their existence no longer. I'm going to resist the urge to go all Nicholas Sparks on you - I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did - but last weekend I stood with another wonderful [more-like-family-than-] friend as she got married. In the midst of all the wedded bliss I was privy to during the summer of oh-ten, I have been learning too that these things rarely look like we think they will. That the timing we have in our heads is never accurate. That there is the potential for a lot of heartbreak on the way there. And while I don't believe in "but even after all that they found each other and they lived happily ever after and nothing bad ever happened ever again because they were both beautiful and in LOVE" Disney fairytale crap-ola, I do believe in Unicorns. Which, if you know me, is a big deal for me to admit.

Since we (the females) first gazed longingly into the eyes of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the shiny pages of Teen Beat and discovered what True Love really felt like at the tender age of 11, we have hoped (some of us more quietly than others) that Unicorns were real. I just want you to know, girls, that I'm starting to think it might be possible. You need no longer settle for horses that will kick you right in the teeth if you let yourself get close enough. (To be fair, I've always been a little a lot afraid of horses, so my opinion of them may be slightly hyperbolic. But it's all in the name of the metaphor. Hang in there.) Hold out for a Unicorn.

And boys - I'm not insulting you, so before you get your boxer briefs in a bunch, listen up. You, too, can (and probably will) be someone's Unicorn. Let me rephrase - you get to be someone's Unicorn. Yes. I've seen it happen too many times not to believe it's possible. We're waiting for you. I think I may already know some of you (Unicorns, that is), which is equally encouraging. Thank you for being so swell and Unicorny already. Thank you for being a Unicorn to me even though you aren't necessarily my Unicorn. Congratulations. You are the rarest of rare.