Life is Grace

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver)

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly, then all at once.” John Grien

That is true, mostly. I knew almost from the moment I met George that I was going to marry him. But that was intuition, not love. Still, from our first date on, we were almost inseparable, and by the end of our first week of dating, I think we both knew we had found something qualitatively different than anything either of us had had before. So yes, by the end of our first “unofficial date” I knew I would marry him, and by the conclusion of our first week together I was head over ears in love. Does that count as “slowly, then all at once”?

How about you? Did you fall slowly, or all at once?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dedicated to my fellow bloggers (and to me)! Never, ever, even think of giving up! Remember that your number of comments and likes don’t necessarily reflect the value and import of what you have to say.

The Art of Blogging

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.”  —  C.S. Lewis

When asked how he writes so fast, Stephen King answered, “One word at a time.”

This is the kind of answer that no one believes in. And the fact that there’s an abundance of related cliches doesn’t help either.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or something like that. The Great Wall of China was built by laying one brick after another.

It is not the mountains to conquer that make you give up, but rather the pebble in your shoe.

All cliches. Terrible, terrible cliches that we can’t help but fear and loathe at the same time.

Want to know why?

Because they are so damn true.

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I discovered the most lovely prayer, by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, that perfectly fits my state of mind (and heart and soul) these days:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

Nor do I really know myself. And the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you.

And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost, and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Amen.

This simple yet enormously profound prayer captures all of my fears, my doubts and uncertainties, and encourages me to prayerfully hand them over to the God who loves me beyond measure, trusting fully that he will never leave me, so I do not need to suffer the sometimes overwhelming, anxiety that I often feel.

January was horrid. A migraine almost every day. A major fibromyalgia relapse. Seasonal Affective Disorder. The constant pain, day after day, exhausts me and leaves me frustrated and depressed, and also keeps me stuck in the house. The only time I left the house was to go to the dentist to deal with a difficult molar–which now needs a root canal. And my birth mother rejected my attempts to repair our estrangement, which makes me feel as though I’m ten years old and my mommy doesn’t love me anymore.

Mostly, I fret that I am drifting aimlessly, just going through the motions of living. Wasting my life. Annie Dillard says that “how we spend our days is how we live our lives” and I shudder at the idea that my life boils to one big headache.

Still, as Merton writes, the desire to please God is sufficient. That, and the knowledge that God is with me, even in the migraines and root canals and hurtful rejections of life.

And Merton is right. For now, at least, understanding that God is holding me is enough, has to be enough.

Cold

Barbara Resch Marincel

Where has this cold come from?/ “It comes from the death of your friend.”

Will I always, from now on, be this cold?/ “No, it will diminish. But always it will be with you.”

What is the reason for it?/ “Wasn’t your friendship always as beautiful as a flame?”

Mary Oliver

Dedicated to my father and best friend, who died twenty-six years ago this month, on January 12, 1993. I’m still cold, yes, but am also filled to bursting with gratitude for that bright flame.

It’s been sometine since I posted this, and now seems like a good time to repost. I’m hurting from being rejected (again) by my birth mom (more on this later), and it helps to remember what my mom—my real mom—taught me, and to reaffirm the legacy she left me.

Life is Grace

THIS IS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO KNEW AND LOVED MY MOM:

Top Ten Things I Learned From My Mother
(In No Particular Order)


  1. She always told me that love is the only thing that really matters. You can lose your possessions, your job, and your health, but you can always hold on to the love. And in the final analysis, it’s the only thing that makes life worth living.
  2. Decorate your house with bookcases, because you can never have too many books! Nothing ever seems quite so bad if you can curl up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.
  3. Class is not determined by money or social position; rather, a truly classy person is one who goes out of her way to make others feel comfortable and special. Classy people are warm and gracious.
  4. You’ll never get old if you are always interested…

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