fumble my words and i
-Ben Taylor (not the best video but love)
full tilt upward face attempting to cling to that grin
as if it were the essence of life itself
only to find that failing words
were prayers enough to cling to the significance
of that morning sure feet pressed the ground for details
that scene and those colors and who was beside you?
all real. all. real.
oh my did you realize?
all of this explains that smile
“Many things–such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly–are done worst when we try hardest to do them.”
oh insomnia, if you’re going to insist on being mine
you will not be allowed the best of me
the world offers too many books to read and questions to consider
and dreams to believe
and so with heavy eyes arguing with one stubborn mind
refusing to guzzle that calm stream sleep
words spill onto pages and sort out these mazes
that confuse and hinder and slow
the curl of a body at rest
and though, insomnia, you frustrate,
what you never steal is peace
ha, take that you silly little fiend
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
A couple of days ago (I lose track of time when I visit Massachusetts), Sam insisted I paint his face while we were at a kiddie farm. He wanted a red car, then a blue car and then yellow and orange, and soon his whole face was smeared with my handiwork. He beamed with pride. Later on, we sat on the couch, and I read to Sam. By that, I mean we started with four stories in a volume of Harold and the Purple Crayon followed by multiple Curious George escapades. We read until I needed water. I was losing my voice.
To be with Sam on this trip has given me this sweetest soundtrack:
“Miss Erin, do you want to play with me?”
“I want Miss Erin to sit by me,” (except when his dad made a better sandwich than me. He wanted to sit by his dad then so he could share…)
“I want Miss Erin to hold my hand.”
The boy knows how to get his point across, and the point he has made with me, emphatically, is that he wants me in his life. Kids don’t generally beat around the bush about this sort of thing, and I am grateful Sam is so great at being a kid. It’s hard to get tired of playing and laughing and reading and chasing with a little guy who wears affection and enthusiasm all day every day. Sam is also great at being himself, and as himself, he reminds me of God’s kindness so often shown by the people who do life with me. That affection and enthusiasm make me hunger to live with that childlike perspective, something I am quick to forget when things are busy or stressful or hard.
I wrote about Lucy, Sam’s twin, the other day, and the combo of these two kids and their incredible parents is one of the sweetest parts of my life. It’s been an unexpected additive of incredibly meaningful friendship. Visit Massachusetts again in the fall? How could I not?
“…An artist is a nourisher and a creator who knows that during the act of creation there is collaboration. We do not create alone.”
-p44 Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle
Palms up we hold these stories past rather lightly
and when they fell to the ground the crush seemed insurmountable
sure death. sure ache. surely never ending.
The kernels fell hard and the cracked earth swallowed them
eager and hungry while the wholeness of the gone-ness consumed
ever, ever, ever tears raining down and softening these harsh lines.
And then with an air of anti-climatic but real resolve
a sprout becomes a root becomes a bud becomes
something wholly other. something longed for. something good,
if different, and yes, maybe better.
These stories held rather lightly in the aftermath
with one look back over shoulder
reveals a different story, a better one indeed.
The ever-repeating metaphor: from death, life because
all these dark hues always laid bare by the light,
a role never, never reversed, from this we cannot hide
and so we stand with open hands but utterly sure-footed,
“In art we are once again able to do all the things we have forgotten; we are able to walk on water; we speak to the angels who call us; we move, unfettered, among the stars.
“We write, we make music, we draw pictures, because we are listening for meaning, feeling for healing. And during the writing of the story, or the painting, or the composing or singing or playing, we are returned to that open creativity which was ours when we were children. We cannot be mature artists if we have lost the ability to believe which we had as children. An artist at work is in a condition of complete and total faith.”
-p 55, Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle
“Love actually is all around.”
If my life had a Hugh Grant voice-over that expressed the “love actually is all around” sentiment that begins Love Actually, the voice-over would not talk about Heathrow. I’ve been to Heathrow, and we didn’t get along so well. I know love, actually, from many perspectives. I have three Lucies, for example. They are three little girls who make me get on airplanes, because they have utterly stolen my heart. Kiddos do that to me with a pretty high degree of regularity.
The first Lucy is about to be three. I am visiting her and her family this week. This Lucy and I became friends when she was two weeks old, and I have written about her and her family many times before. Tonight I just want to say that today, this Lucy said, “Miss Erin, I love you.” In her little voice this comes out in a chirp of “missera, I luuubew.” Lucy is too busy to say words with slow deliberation. That skill will come. Her sentiments, though, come across loud and clear.
If there is one quick way to see grace in life, staring in the face of someone who loves you well is a direct line. The first Lucy reminded me of that today. It kinda made me miss the other two Lucies. I’ll save that sentiment, though for another day.
“Happiness is a mystery like religion, and it should never be rationalized.”
-G.K. Chesterton (He was a genius. Enough said.)
Eat well and sleep well and get outside every day. Work hard and play hard and hope the lines between the two blur most days. Love, God and people, relentlessly. Run. Read. Smile. Write. See. Choose to be fully present. Give: time, money, grace. Forgive. Believe the best about people.
I know these are the things I should do. And I try. And some days are successful. And some days I don’t do so well. When I get away, though, for a few days, it seems like life in a reality that looks like these things is possible. And hope stirs when I let little people guide me through their days and spend evenings with friends who are like family, talking or not. If nothing else, for these days I am grateful today. And what I know to do is say thanks, only thanks.