Monthly Archives: August 2010

i who have died

We just returned from a week at the beach. The vacation (though anyone who has or has ever had nineteen month old children knows that a “vacation” at this stage of the game is really more like a “relocation”) started with food poisoning, which I think we’ve traced back to a suspect caprese. Who knew tomatoes could make you that violently ill. Nasty.

I rallied in time to throw some things in a suitcase, pack up the car with far too many baby-necessities, and head west until we hit water.

Of course, the first night Lane barfed in her pack n play at 3am and all the commotion finally woke Luke up. Lane settled back down, but Luke never did go back to bed. Not the most amazing way to start off a vacation.

The next day, after naps, we headed down to the water. I was tired, worn out, cranky, and generally overwhelmed. But the glittering afternoon waves began wooing me, and I grabbed Lane and headed into the water.

It was ice cold at first (as the Pacific often is), but I swirled my feet around long enough that my skin finally got used to the chill, and it suddenly felt refreshing instead of hypothermic.

I inched out, a tiny bit at a time, so that my skin would adjust. And when I got about knee deep, Lane wrapped her arms around my neck and put her head down on my shoulder, and put her belly right up against my chest. At first I thought she might be scared, but she wasn’t holding on in that nervous, don’t-drop-me sort of way. She was just draped across me, like a scarf, like she was part of me. I kept walking out until I was up to my waist, singing in her ear, letting the current sway us both.

I love that line from cummings, “i who have died am alive again today.” How perfectly it describes that moment for me.

The dying of food poisoning and packing and pushing pushing pushing to get ourselves out the door and on vacation. The dying of relocating two toddlers. The temptation to begrudge it all, to wish it all away.

And then to walk out into the water with my baby girl pressed right up against me as though we were dancing together, as though we were one . . . “i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday . . .”

Ahhhh, the rebirthing of the water and the waves and the sun and the sand. And my little Lane kicking her dangling toes in the salt water as I sang in her ear.

Holy, holy, holy.

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Ponder Anew

Yesterday I attended Beau and Sarah’s wedding. I cried when my friend Linsey sang, “Praise to the Lord,” replete with key change (always gets me).

Not only is her voice incredibly beautiful, but when Lins sings—especially when she sang yesterday—you know you are sitting in a place that is both earth and heaven. You are experiencing God-breathed magic emerging from someone’s deeply human soul. How overwhelming it is to be confronted with such great beauty.

The moment was like awakening to a new level of living, the kind of living you crave.

When Lins was done singing, a man behind me whispered, “Amen.” The perfect sentiment . . . as if the entire song had been a prayer. And that made the whole wedding feel like a prayer—a worshipful, celebratory, earnest, pure prayer. A gift to all who attended, I have no doubt.

Weddings have the power to reunite us with possibility, hope, steadfastness, sacrifice, commitment. I was reminded of the essence of love, and how petty I can be when it comes to loving Steve. How much I want to rip into him sometimes. How much I unfairly expect of him. How much I try to change him sometimes.

I was reminded yesterday that love is about something far bigger than a feeling. It’s not a new thought, but it’s a profound one. In fact, the pastor who married Beau and Sarah (Sarah’s father) said something I’ll remember . . . “Love actually has nothing to do with what you’re feeling in this moment today.” He went on to talk about what love really is—how love is what manifests itself when, and only when, things have gone south and sideways and there’s nothing else that would keep the wheels on the track except love.

I have this great book I’ve been reading—Emotional Sobriety—by Tian Dayton. It’s a little heady at points, but absorbing nonetheless. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about recovery lately, and this book has been helpful. She says, “When our hearts are wounded through disappointment or loss, love restores us to comfort and balance. Fear triggers us into self-protective responses like fight (anger, rage), flight (taking off, dissociating), or freeze (shutting down, withdrawing), while love and caring soothes us and brings us back to a state of equilibrium.”

In other words, love has such great power to heal us . . . if we will let it. Why is it often so hard to let ourselves be loved and to love well in return?

The wedding helped me to remember what love is (and what it isn’t).

I’m going to carry around a line of “Praise to the Lord” with me, a prayer of my own . . .

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.

May we all remain open to healing love.

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