Saturday, December 1, 2007


so this is a long one...warning ahead of time....

my favorite author is anne lamott. she is brilliant. i try to tell myself that if i put in a good four miles on editing something, maybe i could find something as wonderful as she writes. other times i actually pout and whine in my head because of course i can't write like her...SHE got to be the drug addict and am I supposed to write so brilliantly without THOSE experiences in my life?...yes, i'm laughing at myself....

so last night was an emotional night. my hormones are in full swing...and i mean FULL way, then the i pulled out an anne lamott book and did this thing that some of my church friends used to do with the bible. just open it randomly and read that passage. they felt it was god speaking to them. well, last night, i wanted anne lamott to speak to me, so i just picked a random essay. and this is how it started...

Everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours. Being awake is the one real fly in the ointment--but it is also when solutions come to us.

i felt like this was a good sign... it went on to talk about the things giving people a hard time, focusing on the current white house administration...who is still the current white house administration. she talked about how we would be at war for a long time and a friend of hers who was imagining the end of life as we know it....talking about shelters and caves. she also talked about trying to do good to make it through the tough time. and she just carried me away...

But the jungle drums grew louder, and nothing seemed to help. What could possibly help during this administration? God only knows. But in any case, we should try to stay on God's good side. It's not hard. God has extremely low standards. Pray, take care of people, be actively grateful for your blessings, give away your money--you're cool. You're in. Nice room in heaven, flossing no longer required--which is what will make it heave for me. Oh, I mean that, and Jesus.

And then, the rains began again.

I usually welcome the rain, when I'm tired and stressed. Rain suggests that you should go inside, rest, try to stay dry. The scent of rain is fresh and earthy, clean and woolly, of leaves and dirt, wet dogs. We get whiffs of our animal smells, of feet, sweat, and the secret smells of the earth, which she often keeps to herself. Rain gives us back something that has been stolen, a dimension we've been missing--our body, and our soul. Your mind can't give you these. Your sick, worried mind can't heal your sick, worried mind. Well, maybe your mind is lovely and pastoral and you do not suffer from paranoia, hypochondria, a bad attitude, and delusions of victimized grandeur. That is very nice, but we don't want you in our cave after the bombs fall, because you are going to annoy us to death.

Hard rain makes a mess, but is also fills in space we usually walk through without even noticing. It makes the stuff we can't usually see--air and wind--visible, and a lot of what we can see catches the light. We get wet and cold, and then we get to dry off and be warm again.

so her church decides to hold a peace march.

It didn't stop raining, and the wind didn't stop blowing, as if there were too many flies and they were beginning to bother the skin of the universe. The universe was flinching and flailing. And you couldn't fix anything. All you could do was help people. You could set up MASH units in your own life, and tend to people through the sacrament of cocoa and videos, and you could send money, and pray. Things were taking their course--I hate that! But you had to let hem. I tried to slow down. Then I needed to nap so often that I concluded I had leukemia. Everyone had had such worry and muffled tension for so long, and the exhaustion of held breath, and I felt rashy and overwhelmed, like Harvey Fierstein with poison oak.

so annie drives to the peace march, but still didn't really want to get out of her car...

It was noisy, and I know a small-town peace march of a thousand people won't change anything, but I swear I could head God in Her big-mama guise. She said, "Get out of the damn car already." Still, I sat there....But here's what Veronica said during the sermon on bees: God doesn't want or expect you to get it together before you come along, because you can't get it together until you come along. You can spend half of your time alone, but you also have to be in service, in community, or you get a little funny.

the march was didn't rain much throughout, but picked up once it was over. annie got a little wet, but then she got to go home and get dry again.

i am teaching my children about the sacraments of our catholic church. but last night, i took part in the sacraments of chocolate chip cookies and milk and anne lamott. i still woke up grouchy for no apparent reason (other than my life completely overwhelms me right now and i'm just looking to get on my feet) but i am grateful for the peace i had last night. sacraments are times when we can find god more closely, what are called "thin moments"....where whatever stands between us and spirit is not so thick.

i am grateful beyond words for the writer that anne lamott is. she delivers me over and over again from my own sick, worried mind. breathes a little more confidence and faith in me and sets me back on my feet, or lays me down in a comfortable safe place and pulls the blanket up just right. amen, mama...


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