Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Crooked Things Straight

Getting lost within yourself is an unsettling feeling. What matters is counting on faith that things will happen, and people will get through. That there will be spirit enough to conquer the bad within and without, to cut through chaotic sound and fury, and lead in good ways.  What’s maybe most disheartening is when those around you give up on you.  Then it’s about really counting on the one who created you, trying to know, to grasp at not being alone in the struggle.  Words for me have always been my sanity point—writing itself as a way to make sense of the chaos and reach toward God.

When I write, I find a way to draw out of me the many mixed emotions and ideas I have, all tangled together.  It’s extreme mess, this tangle, and all that I love and is important to me is in this mess, so I must, feel compelled, to disentangle. To look at the mess and see it for what it is.  It’s unsettling to see this mess, and feel helpless as to what to do with it.  I feel sometimes as though this chaos is unmitigated, unruly, and other times I find the most unusual help along the way that I suddenly feel as though somehow the getting lost is a part of the fray.  And fray is the right word here—this constant rubbing, wearing away, the way feeling lost and dealing with daily internal struggle. It’s messy.

The other day I felt Tom’s presence—there was no other explanation: I’d been talking out loud to him, imploring his help in the middle of an argument, and all of a sudden there was clarity on my part as well as that of my other half.  He was so close to us in life that I believe he could, in an act of love from beyond, reach us this way.  I have a whole other view of faith, having had this experience a few times now. It hasn’t been a singular thing, or coincidental.  It has been a thoughtful set of moments, and crucial moments, during which I have learned something important about myself or those around me.  I think there must be something to this, even though I grasp at its effluence, its ethereal presence. There’s something there, then there’s nothing.  And then, most notably, there is in fact a solid change left behind, a grace, some kind of reconciling that makes the soul feel as though something right has happened, that the crooked thing has been set straighter, perhaps, or at least set upright, accepted, warmly, into a new space.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Perfectly Broken

“The way you come to fully appreciate the infusion of the Spirit is to more and more come fully into the moment, where this moment is enough.”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa

I am having a particularly hard time being in this moment, so filled with hatred and violence and insanity—the audacity and hypocrisy of the politics in the world at this moment. It feels all like a joke, a bad one at that, and I want to take the world by the shoulders and shake it, and say, what they hell is wrong with you?  I am 43 years old, know what my parents went through immigrating here, know what the past several decades mean to so many who have worked hard to bring good into the world, and to make their way. But these quotes remind me there is more to life than soundbites, stupid people, and the insidiousness of ignorance, and that my work is yet cut out for me—that I must strive even harder for justice now.

It’s exhausting to think these many years have gone by without having made a dent in justice—or perhaps the truth is that the strife has always been there and we have been holding it back. Still, there is hope.  Various times while I have been out and about recently, former students have specifically stopped and told me how they loved my class. That somehow I reached them. They’ve matured and grown families and gone on, and hopefully do good things. My current students seem like mature young people, striving to understand in a genuine way the world they’ve inherited.

And I come back to me, going inside and examining and caring for what I have cultivated these decades as a human who is a moderate, and happens to care too much sometimes, so much that I actually hurt myself. I have to stop from inundation, from over-saturation,drowning out my real self, pushing up my defenses. That is my journey.  Yours may be the opposite, or perhaps more similar than you might care to admit, but it is your journey.  You must take on your own, what you have been given, and practice giving it, somehow: back to God, shared with others, cultivated for later use.  You are your best gift, flaws and all, and the only gift others might see and benefit from, knowing that being broken can sometimes be enough, but can always be cherished. The imperfect need not be made whole, but need love and acceptance to flourish and enter whole and perfectly broken into this moment.