Blessings

Today, I wish to acknowledge how blessed I am.  It’s prosaic, and trite.  But when you’ve had the day I have had, thanks must be given, and high fives all around.  

Today I got to remember, without pain, the love of an exceptional woman.  I got to hear a bit about how she saw me, and how she felt about me.  I got to have confirmed for me that I was not alone in my grief, and that she valued me in the real world, as well as when we worked together. I got to feel a deep tear in my heart begin to heal.

I got to hear these things from another intelligent and kind woman, who knows and loves that woman as well.  A person for whom I am developing much respect, and who spends our time together watching out for me, and helping me to negotiate my life and recovery.  I got the value and blessing of her commitment and insight, and had a few laughs in between.

Today my sister-in-law said some amazing, beautiful things to me, and humbled me with her kindness and love.  I was able to reflect on how lucky I am to have my brother and her as my close family, how much I love them, and how miraculous it is that they include me in their son’s life, a child as close to my own as I will ever have, blood of my blood.  

I got a message from a beloved old friend, promising to send me scans of letters we had exchanged in high school–a sure recipe for mortification, amusement, and a wistful look back at the salvation of adolescent friendship.

I received the blessing of formal acknowledgement of my equality under the law.  All political quibbling aside, it feels great.  It feels even more great to see and hear the celebrations of people around the country, some of whom are touched directly by it, some of whom are just good souls who wish happiness for all.  To hear a straight woman weep with joy on the radio, simply because now I could be a full citizen.  That touches me with its sweetness, and binds me closer to my human family.

I communicated with someone I hurt deeply, who cares enough in her own way to find a path to forgiving me.  For whom I can still show my caring by listening, and trying to understand and empathize.  I feel blessed that I am strong enough now to hold the boundaries I need to, in order to be there for her without losing myself.

And I exchanged texts, as I do almost every day, with my beautiful and glorious best friend, who sometimes flits about my campfire like Tinkerbell, sometimes expands into a radiant and comforting pillar of light, but who is always, always, always there.  

 

Paul Simon:

A man walks down the street

It’s a street in a strange world

Maybe it’s the third world

Maybe it’s his first time around 

Doesn’t speak the language

He holds no currency

He is a foreign man 

He is surrounded by the sounds, sounds

of cattle in the marketplace

Scatterlings and orphanages

He looks around, around

He sees angels in the architecture 

Spinning in infinity

He says, Amen, Hallelujah

 

Amen.  Hallelujah.

I have been taught that birds call for

I have been taught

that birds call for reasons

that make sense to us

sex, territory, calls to community

All the meaty, essential truths of survival

in a whistle or tuneful cry

I wonder, though

If, like me

they are making up stories to tell themselves

when the weather isn’t good

or the food is scarce

or their babies lie dried and still upon the ground

I wonder, too

Do they imagine someone is listening

someone to whom the answer matters

a former mate, the flock, or God

Or do they, too, hear their voices

carried off by the wind and disappearing

with winter only steps away?

Learning to accept the long, perfect loveliness of me

This is such a gorgeous evocation of accepting and loving the essential “being-ness” of the world.  It brings to mind the experience of the best in therapy: the therapist blessing the client by helping him come to love the long, perfect loveliness of himself.  The idea of “self-blessing” being taught by someone willing to do the work.  Some day!

Saint Francis and the Sow 

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 re-teach 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 the 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 slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

  • Galway Kinnell

 

All Out of Thread

Harper: In your experience of the world. How do people change?

Mormon Mother: Well, it has something to do with God so it’s not very nice.

God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out…and the pain! We can’t even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It’s up to you to do the stitching. 

Harper: And then up you get. And walk around.

Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.

Harper: That’s how people change. 

― Tony KushnerAngels in America, Part Two: Perestroika

perspective

I sit here, turning my life over and over in my hands

an object of infinite facets, fascinating and small

grooming the rough fur of my considered self

pondering the precious meaning of each ragged breath and sloughed-off cell

while on the television

Myanmar burns and starves

and god rises up to save his people