hold fast

Story

It’s hard to be inspired right now.

A friend of mine said it best: “I’m not a fan of anyone who it too pessimistic right now. Then again I’m not a fan of anyone who is too optimistic, either.”

Most of the conversations I have with the people I love weigh heavy on me. Some of them, I hear tears being swallowed down as they (like all of us) march through the fog of uncertainty.

A few of my people are really hurting right now. They are quite literally falling around their own heart of darkness and when you love people, you can’t help but to fall with them.

It is too easy to be hard on yourself right now. That dense fog that looms over the next few months is so heavy and I feel it in my lungs, just like you. I fall asleep reading the same gut-wrenching stories and wake up with the hope that my morning coffee feels perfectly hot against the back of my throat.

fog

I spent an evening this past week visiting my sister recovering from surgery. My dad was in town helping so I decided to make some pizza with my niece and nephews, while also catching up with my parents and hoping to get a few laughs in the process.

I’ll start out by saying I’m not great with kids, especially the smaller they are. I just don’t use that part of my brain very much. (Though being silly is so needed right now)

I don’t consider myself a good uncle, but I’ve always felt that as my sister’s kids get older, I’ll be better at it.
As I was getting things ready to make pizza, my niece Anna came and sat at the bar. I know so much about her but rarely do I get to see her face and hold a conversation for more than a few minutes because generally adults are boring and I don’t blame her for wanting to do other things.

But I asked her about cross-country and school and show choir. All things she’s really good at. I listened to her sound so bummed out that she wouldn’t physically be going back to school for another month at least and it equally bummed me out.

I looked at her and saw someone who is so much older than I had realized.

She is a person that is beginning to understand the weight of things and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only is she entering the weirdest time of becoming an older human being, but in the middle of a pandemic — not being able to be with her friends as much as she wants and the uncertainty she also faces in her own future.

I felt some of my own anxiety die down a bit.

I’ve always seen this pandemic as a “row your own boat” sort of thing. The sea is whatever tumultuous thing we are facing. Between a depression, pandemic and civil rights movement, we are all clinging white knuckled to the sides of our vessels screaming:

HOLD FAST.

I was thankful to hug my mom. My sister. My dad. Very rarely do we get those opportunities, as I am just as nervous as you to travel around and possibly expose either my anxiety or germs to other people that do not deserve them. But it’s good to air out your grievances. And it’s good to be respectful of others’, as well.

If you see another boat taking on more water than your own, help them. (But don’t sink yourself in the process.)

To my niece, I would tell her this:

It won’t always be this hard. Things will lighten. You will come out of the fog on the other side, thankful and cautious and ferociously hungry to experience more.
The things you’re learning about yourself now will stay with you forever. This year will be the year where everything changed — and it will be a pillar built on your foundation.
You will still have to move around those large rocks sticking out of the fog — some, you won’t see til’ it’s too late, but there are others that will help you — and I will help you when I can.

Hold fast, love.

The light will inevitably cut through,

and I will meet you there.

 

bit by bit.

Uncategorized

We need helpers today.

People who can pay it forward and have an extra 10 minutes of patience with their kids, to show them a little bit extra. I can’t say for sure why I feel like this is important today.

Like you, I take a small look at the news and immediately throw my hands in the air. (In the not-at-a-club-dancing sort of way.) It is discouraging to see so much bad. Conditions getting worse in already war-torn nations, I am heavy hearted with the kids who have known nothing but conflict.

Especially those kids who feel lonely and feel the need to act out in violent ways, often times to their own bodies. Loneliness brings us to do a lot of things, just to feel or be touched. After all, if we’re looking to change the world, we better start with the kids. They keep watching us screw things up and we haven’t yet told them that they will be in charge of our messes. Our debts. Our ever-changing climate and our exhaustive food methods.

I guess I see so much hope in the human race at times. I know we want to help. I know we want to be good.

I reckon’ there is something to be said about “I get mine first and then we’ll talk about your needs.” This is something I struggle with. Especially lately as my needs have outgrown the needs of others. I shrug my head and say sorry.

I am coming back to this place that I have left for a while.
Mostly because I can only indulge myself for so long before I start to realize the need of people to be bigger and stronger and braver than ever before.

We are suckers for hero movies because they are willing to die for us. Yet we are not necessarily ready to die for our neighbors. And I’m not saying I am, either.

I suppose when things hit the fan, we are in shock. But there is a saying to “look for the helpers” — those people who are there picking up folks off the ground and sticking their fingers into main arteries to stop the bleeding.

We are all exhausted this time of year. The weather can be dreary, we are cold to our bones and the bad guys are still going to be bad. They are still going to leave you with a great weight on your shoulders. They will care about themselves and take and take and take.

I realize we do what we can to absorb some pain, and give it some space. It is how we digest most things, given that we have the time to do so.

Take it bit by bit.

Hold some pressure on a wound.

Basting Stitch

I am reading a book by Anne Lamott called “Stitches” — not only is she one of my favorite writers, but her latest book focuses on pain and taking it all in ‘stitch by stitch’. Quoting C.S. Lewis on forgiveness, it is best if we start with something easier than the Gestapo.

She drops another beautiful line, quoting an influential spiritual mentor as saying, “We’re all just trying to walk each other home..”

I just love that.

There is too much pain here. As she says.

But there is so much goodness too.
And I am not saying anything new, by any means.

Today though, I want to be better than I have to be. I’ll try doing it again tomorrow. Instead of saying something shitty behind another person’s back, I will build something a little stronger. If not with them, then with myself.

Peace starts slow, and builds upon itself even slower. We have to move this way. For the sake our future, and the future of the ones smaller, and more precious than we will ever be again.

Let us move.

bit by bit.