Thursday, October 20, 2011

a story in story, arkansas

this is david church. he was born on october 27, 1924. he owns 10 acres of land here in story, arkansas. I met him today while I was eating a cheeseburger at the bluebell cafe. he had come in to cure his lonely with a cup of coffee and two little debbie honey buns. his wife of many more years than I have been alive, was lost to cancer a little over a year ago. he talked with me about the adventures they had together and shared how hard it has been living without her. my heart swelled and ached simultaneously. I was blessed by his openness. I was blessed to be a witness to his story. everyone has their story. there is so much to gain in just sitting and listening. I was lucky enough today to ask someone willing to share. david was lucky enough to find a little more than coffee and honey buns waiting for him at the cafe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

breathing by bethany ann toews

sometimes it's all you can do. sometimes there are shards of glass floating in the air, mixed in with the food you eat, stuck into the clothes you wear, falling like endless reminders from the sky, settling into your scalp, getting in your eyes. in times like these, you just breath. it's the simplest and most difficult of tasks. it's necessary first of all. if you can't manage this much, you can't live. you must live. breath. keep breathing. pain is just a sensation. pain means something new and better is trying to live. let it live in you. let it grow. trust in this process, it is all there is. it is enough. it is more than enough. you are and always have been enough. breath.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

love love

if you're doing something and it's really hard and really scary, it's probably a good sign you're doing the right thing (unless you're learning how to juggle for the first time using flaming axes -- then I'd say that's another story). but as my brilliant friend jamie said, usually it is in the areas where we have the most to offer, the deepest capacity to give, that we are the most afraid to go. why is it? us silly humans, afraid of our potential? it's incredible really, the mind games we so expertly play, convincing ourselves not to head down the path that we ourselves have laid with hoping and dreaming. maybe we're afraid of what will be left after the wanting has been met? maybe we are afraid we won't be able to take enough naps?

I know the lullaby of taking the easy route, I know how I have let myself be rocked to sleep for years at a time. I know what is at stake -- holding yourself accountable for all you are capable of -- them ain't no small potaters folks. we are ALL so capable of SO MUCH. that's a lot of work and responsibility to take on. it is nice to watch mindless television. it is nice to eat one too many pieces of pie. it is easier to put our hopes and fears in someone else brave enough to face the music. but inside, our blood and our bones are dancing and our skin is crawling to let it all out and we get weird rashes and we lose sleep or sleep too much or have diarrhea or cry when dogs bark at us. we're all learning how to live with so much feeling, so much longing, so much confusion on how to find our way to happiness. but what we're all really dealing with is the overwhelming fact that nothing is permanent -- that is a thought that is so hard and so painful for our grasping hands to hold.

you can love something with everything you have and eventually you will lose it and it will break your heart. you will have to start over. you will struggle with feeling like a 5'7" newborn baby. the pain will make you lose yourself for a bit... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

but then! you find yourself again! and you can't believe your eyes! you are gorgeous! gorgeous! still breathing! still believing in the process of life. still trusting that you know what you're doing even though you also know you don't really have a clue about anything. you keep going, 'cause that's what the trees and the birds and the wind are doing. you just keep going. you smile at strangers and you open your heart to everyone you meet and you accept that some people aren't ready to receive you, but the ones that are, with shiny eyes and equally open hearts, will constantly remind you of the gift of getting to share this experience with each other.

I believe there are blessings hidden in every bombed building, there is something to extract from the rubble and I suspect that if nothing else, it is simply the will to love. to keep loving no matter how hard that is sometimes, no matter how much it hurts or confuses or disappoints. to just keep loving, because I suspect that when it's time to take your last breath, you're not thinking about all the csi episodes you're gonna miss, but about whether or not you loved everything and everyone with everything you had.