Flying AA 5240. With Grace.

It’s a head cold that won’t release.  Thurs, last week, I wake with a scratchy throat, a cough, and a certainty that this, this thing is sliding, and sliding fast. And it does. And it did. And it’s still here.

I take inventory.

Air travel. Hands laid down on arm rests, where hundreds of others set down exactly in the same spot. American’s Clean-up crew, not enough of them, mop up major spills. Most arm rests sit untouched by the cleaning rags, or maybe they are touched, with the same rag passing from one arm rest to the other to the other. Petri dishes, waiting.

Airline club. I brush away crumbs of food on the seat and the arm rest. Coffee cups, soiled napkins, all sit stacked on the side table. One cup, 3/4s full, has a lipstick tattoo, and a fingerprint, a thin film from hand lotion leaving traces of her DNA. I shift in my seat, the freshly painted Quiet room can’t hide its fatigue from the thousands that pass through the day. It groans, Give me your Tired, Your Hungry, Your Rich, all sequestered in this Oasis a few minutes before boarding. Passing our crumbs, paying it forward.

Long term rehab facility. Walking down the hall. Avoiding a stare in each room. Ventilators pumping oxygen. 24×7. Pumping. Pumping. Why is she here? Why is he here? Does she ever get out of bed? How does she not get bed sores?  I turn the corner to my Brother’s room. A roll of the dice and he’s here. Here. Inside. I’m Outside. His roommate. A Veteran. (?) Amputee. It’s Veteran’s Day on Monday. Our eyes connect. Good morning I offer. He never responds. He has no bowel control. The Help pulls the thin curtain. It’s OK Sir. No problem. Just turn a little to the left. The smell of disinfectant fills the room, and burns its tracks.  On the flight home, someone has passed gas, the smell detonates in the cabin, the young lady in the seat next to me buries her head in her sweater and whispers: “Disgusting.” I’m brought back to Rehab. Just turn a little to the left Sir.

It starts in the head, the slow drip of fatigue slides like lava and builds, from sinuses down to the toes.  DayQuil every 4 hours. NyQuil before bed. Bed. Sleep. Work. Bed. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

This morning. I flip open the smartphone. 26° F, feels like 22°.  And it arrives. Why now, I can’t explain.  Anne Lamott’s ‘mystery of Grace.’  Mucous secretions streaming. This air I breathe. This thick comforter, and the warmth that it offers. This miracle of being here, in this moment, in all of its fog.  I’m Grateful. For all of it.

And, I’m not moving, not from here. Not from this spot. Not today. Not until noon.


Photo: (via Endless Summer)

Saturday Morning

I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.

I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees.

I am going to close my eyes and listen.

~ Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith


Notes: Quote via risky wiver. Photo: By our very own Kiki! Taken on 10 years ago on this day on May 4th, 2009. What a coincidence!

Sunday Morning

Holy silence is spacious and inviting. You can drink it down. We offer it to ourselves when we work, rest, meditate, bike, read. When we hike by ourselves, we hear a silence still pristine with crunching leaves and birdsong…During congregational silences, in meditation rooms or halls, in prison cells and meeting rooms, in silent confession at church, all these screwed-up people like us, with tangled lives and minds, find their hearts opening through quiet focus. In unfolding, we are enfolded, and there is a melding of spirits, a melding of times, eternal, yesterday morning, the now, the ancient, even as we meet beneath a digital clock on the wall, flipping its numbers keeping ordinary time in all that timelessness.

~ Anne LamottHallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy


Notes: Quote – Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Photo: Franziska Korries (via Newthom)

little tummy roll that has helpfully crept over the bottom of the iPad, so that it might help you type?

Anne Lamott, from a Facebook post on November 25, 2012:

Quickly, and probably with lots of typos: I am beginning to think that this body of mine is the one I will have the entire time I am on this side of eternity.

I didn’t agree to this. I have tried for approximately fifty years to get it to be an ever so slightly different body: maybe the tiniest bit more like Cindy Crawford’s, and–if this is not too much to ask–Michelle Obama’s arms. I mean, is this so much to ask? But I had to ask myself, while eating my second piece of key lime pie in Miami last Sunday, and then again, while sampling my second piece of Crete brûlée in Akron, if this is going to happen.

For the record, I do not usually eat like I do in hotels while I am on book tour. But I have a terrble sweet tooth and I am just not going to be spending much more of this and precious life at the gym, than I already do, which is at best, three times a week, in a terrible shirking bad attitude bitter frame of mind. I go for three one-hour hikes a week. I’m not a Lunges kind of girl.
And even if I were, I’m shrinking. I’m not quite Dr. Ruth yet, but I used to be 5’7, and now am–well, not.

But the psalmist says I am wonderfully and fearfully made. Now, upon hearing that, two days after Thanksgiving, don’t you automatically think that “fearfully” refers to your thighs, your upper arms, the little tummy roll that has helpfully crept over the bottom of the iPad, so that it might help you type? [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

morning-coffee

Here’s the true secret of life: We mostly do everything over and over. In the morning, we let the dogs out, make coffee, read the paper, help whoever is around get ready for the day. We do our work. In the afternoon, if we have left, we come home, put down our keys and satchels, let the dogs out, take off constrictive clothing, make a drink or put water on for tea, toast the leftover bit of scone. I love ritual and repetition. Without them, I would be a balloon with a slow leak.

~ Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair


Notes: Photo – Mennyfox55

 

It’s like pulling into our own train station after a long trip

book-reading-murakami

When you love something like reading — or drawing or music or nature — it surrounds you with a sense of connection to something great. If you are lucky enough to know this, then your search for meaning involves whatever that Something is. It’s an alchemical blend of affinity and focus that takes us to a place within that feels as close as we ever get to “home.” It’s like pulling into our own train station after a long trip — joy, relief, a pleasant exhaustion.

~ Anne Lamott, Stitches. A Handbook on Meaning, Hope & Repair


Image: iwetaczech

Love

dog-pet-cute-adorable

Having a good dog is the closest some of us are ever going to come to knowing the direct love of a mother or God.

~ Anne Lamott, “This Dog’s Life.” Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


Photograph: Browndresswithwhitedots


Let me get back to you on this

anne-lamott

Who knows, maybe those two rogue leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right – a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream. Otherwise, it’s about me, and my bile ducts, and how unique I am and how I’ve suffered. And that is what hell is like.  So whom was I going to echo, Gandhi and Jesus, or Tammy and me?

Look, can you give me a minute to decide?

Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right? Hmm. Let me get back to you on this.

~ Anne Lamott. “Pirates.” Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


I just finished Lamott’s new book and loved it. It’s my first foray into her work. Be forewarned, this book has more than its fair share of suffering and grief, but the sun’s rays do peak in. I’m drawn to her rants and her candor on her neuroses (but could have  done without the political barbs). I marvel at the authenticity of her self-reflection and the beauty and clarity of her observations of life.  The book roars out of the gate for the first half and tends to run out of steam.  For Lamott lovers, you should note that this book is a compilation of new and selected (aka previously published) essays.

Find the book on Amazon here: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


Photo Credit: TimeOut

 

They bust you by being grateful for the day

woman-portrait-scar-charcoal-hands-shame

The worst possible thing you can do when you’re down in the dumps, tweaking, vaporous with victimized self-righteousness, or bored, is to take a walk with dying friends. They will ruin everything for you.

First of all, friends like this may not even think of themselves as dying, although they clearly are, according to recent scans and gentle doctors’ reports. But no, they see themselves as fully alive. They are living and doing as much as they can, as well as they can, for as long as they can.

They ruin your multitasking high, the bath of agitation, rumination, and judgment you wallow in, without the decency to come out and just say anything. They bust you by being grateful for the day, while you are obsessed with how thin your lashes have become and how wide your bottom.

~ Anne Lamott, “Prelude: Victory Lap“, Small Victories: Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace


Notes: Quote Source – Brainpickings. Portrait: Kamil Zacharski by Opaqueglitter


 

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