Friday, April 10, 2009


sometimes i feel like i am groping along, in the dark, trying to find my way...trying to be brave and willing to move forward a little, even though i probably spend a lot of time in one spot. and then, something happens, and the metaphorical hand comes out of nowhere, grabs mine, and all of a sudden, i'm not so heart steadies, my head stops hurting and trying to project itself forward, i can rest where i am, move forward a little more naturally, and not be so damned afraid.

there are many things that have been that hand in my life. certainly family, friends, people i've crossed paths with, shared space with...some for not too long, others much longer. my cyber-mama tribe, definitely. music. books.

last week, i picked up grace (eventually) by anne lamott. i have read every one of anne lamott's books, seen her in person, listened to her give lectures. i was not too far away from becoming an anne lamott stalker the first year i started reading her...she was one of my best friends, she just didn't know it yet. and i guess she still doesn't know it...but i do like her tremendously.

i harvested some quotes from her essay nudges. it's the first essay in the section forgivishness. the quote on the divider page for forgivishness is by sally kempton, "It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head." this whole section is like a salve to me....

"If my heart were a garden, it would be in bloom with roses and wrinkly Indian poppies and wild flowers. There would be two unmarked tracts of scorched earth, and scattered headstones covered with weeds and ivy and moss, a functioning compost pile, great tangles of blackberry bushes, and some piles of trash I've meant to haul away for years."

"My friend Father Tom says that when we appear before God, God will say, 'I love you very much. I forgive you all your crap. Now go clean up you mess, and then come into heaven, because lunch is waiting.'"

"They were spiritual in the same way I was and am, which is to say devout, with a sometimes bad attitude, a black sense of humor, and tendencies toward gossip and character assassination. We hit it off instantly."

"Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I've had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn't mean there's less for me. In fact, I know that there isn't even a pie, that there's plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.

But I don't believe it for a second.

I secretly believe there's a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing a fork."

"I did not explain or justify my triggers--the jealousy, especially, because trigger implies weapons, weapons imply aim, aim implies combat, combat implies engagement. All I wanted was to feel less engaged, less stuck: I wanted to let it go, which is so not my strong suit, any more than forgiveness is. I wanted to be a person of peace, who diminishes hurt in the world, instead of perpetrating it.

But I felt scared. Will they write back, and what will they write, and what if they don't? What if they're reading my letter out loud and snickering, or reading it to their friends from the picnic, and they're all comparing notes on how crazy I am? Maybe they forgive me, maybe they don't. But I finally, finally forgive me; sort of-ish. No curtain of light or soft angel voices, but the understanding that forgiving myself makes it possible to forgive them, too. Maybe this is grace, or simply the passage of time. Whatever you want to call this, I'll take it. I paid through the nose for this one."


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