grapple (v).

08545fe40458a474f3fa66ffcbcc6164Here is what is surprisingly characteristic about loneliness: that we are commonly engulfed constantly, even with the city of people who know us through and through, who often come with trumpets of encouragement and huge hearts, with listening ears and patient nods.

Here are the ways I have tried to cope with my loneliness: frantically busying my world, stuffing my calendar, always saying yes even when the answer should be no, filling up with places to be, filling up with worry to busy my mind, filling up space with music and sounds and voices. I have practiced the glorification of Busy, over and over and over, too busy to be lonely, driving myself so hard that when I get home all I can think to do is crash and burn into a tired ball of dust. I have tried to fill my loneliness with the men who have loved me and also the men who haven’t loved me, playing house, playing the part, making nice, making room in my bed.

Here is where my loneliness begins: in the fear that no one can really understand or handle my sometimes heaviness, my constant discontent and questions, my existential angst, my complicated thirst and wrestle to find God. What it really is: my own unrest with the woman I am, what I have done and not done, the unrest with where I’d like to go. When I sit down with myself I am begging for the phone to ring to break the awkwardness. I need to make peace with that woman. I need to be comfortable in the sometimes heaviness, the blazing vision, the questions.

Here is what I have come to see: that no one is going to bail me out of this, no matter how much they see and how much they care, even with someone squeezing me until all of the impossibilities that cripple me crackle off my fraying frame. There has to come a time when I can tuck myself into bed, tell myself about my day, and say, “goodnight, dear friend.”

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i go down to the shore [from mary oliver].

73031f8283f2083eed6072db3ff85d94I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say oh, I am miserable,
what shall -
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

- Mary Oliver

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bounty (n).

a7e94223960af9ee2cbb2e12e51b9c78When I find myself feeling poor – of riches, of strength, of spirit – I have started to whisper this gently: what within myself do I have to give to today?

The jar is never empty, the well is never dry.

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waver (v).

5aeb083a9f9b69c108c6580ada8d5054I find that I spend a lot of time on the line between one thing or another, daunted by Choice, crippled by Worry, and trembling at the idea that our choices shape us. Is this curve and that edge shaped by a move across the country, this crease from a past relationship and that chip from that all-wrong love, this soft line and the fluid movement I hope to embody a result of practicing forgiveness at one time or another? If I am to pursue an endeavour, will I lose this piece of me, if I pursue the alternative, will a whole new block of heavy cement be added to my bulky structure?

I get so worked up about the shape that will come from my choices that I sit at that line, throwing pebbles to make the time pass. Recently though, I have noticed this shadow behind me getting taller and taller, and I’ve realized just how much the indecision shapes us too.

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relinquish (v).

cc82aaf5a358474a550c70d8989f466bI had a dream that I was walking with you and your new love. I noticed the slow stroll of your walking – no hurried steps. I noticed how peaceful it felt. I told her what calm she brought to you. We went down to the water and were crossing the channel on the ferry, and we leaned over the railing to see the wake chasing itself. I asked you if you were happy, and then I woke up. But I have a feeling the answer is a resounding yes.

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abba (n).

8cf6af7db90c9178eb6e3ef5702cd218I am trying to unlearn, and then re-learn you
Me with my finite body and tiny mind, I have tried
to define you, and in that, confine you
to a god that serves and acts, instead of a God that is.

I am trying to unlearn, and then re-learn you
Your words less a binding law and more a poem
Your house less a building and more an ocean
Your mood less frantic and more playful.

I am trying to unlearn, and then re-learn you
Me with my limited scope and spectrum, I have tried
to trick you with my questions until I realized
My stubborn (and foolish) doubt is not troubling to you.

I am trying to unlearn, and then re-learn you
Now that I see you do not keep to your hallowed chambers
Now that I see you are not concerned with our shaking, dirty hands
Now that I see you kissing our foreheads each night as we sleep.

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