Marquita and Justin are going to work today. It is their monday and friday all rolled into one. A one day work-week. I am looking for stuff to fill my day. I’d like to go on a bike ride. Maybe with Sesshu. But if that doesn’t happen, maybe I’ll take the trailer down to Campingworld and pay them to show me how all the systems work. Maybe I’ll paint.
I’ve been thinking of painting people. I like animals in desolate places. The message is that life goes on. But I’ve done three of those. I don’t know about sticking to animals as subject matter. They are fuzzy and cool. Some are cute. But there are a lot of painting of animals out there and I’m not sure we need a dozen more.
I’m remembering the compassion that people showed over the past nine months. Literally hundreds of caring, compassionate people. Food. Notes of love. Condolences. Time. I am eternally and deeply thankful. When your heart shatters you will need people who empathize… and the good news is that nearly everyone you love, to a great extent will share your sorrows and will, try, attempt, endeavor, and work to help… (The results may vary. Grade them generously on effort.)
Part of my journey is reconciling the worst with the good. It’s basic to faith. Finding joy in sorrow… meaning in darkness… light at the end of a very dark and very long tunnel. And there it is… I found a bit in the beauty of nature… in the peace of morning coffee and the changing colors of the sky with the rays of dawn breaking over the ridge and a happy cat sitting on the laptop. But I mostly found it in the universal showing of compassion… from my family. Compassion and love from all directions and in all forms: From my family in Christ, from old friends, and co workers and team mates…. from the mountain pagans who embraced my like one of their own, from people I hardly know and some I have never met in person. Kind words. Bits of wisdom. Flashes of insight.
It gave me a new insight into human nature… that bit of our brain- those mirror neutrons- hardwired for empathy. That is amazing positive and optimistic. And the way all the compassionate and loving words and actions struck me has forged a deeper faith in a loving God… and a new belief in this complex nature of man- an optimism that goes way past the usual evangelical obsession with the end of the world and the universal depravity of man. I don’t think I could have survived the last months in some pessimistic funk about how the world is going to hell and how the heart of man is basically sinful.
I’m considering something I read today, that sin is the absence of love… Is that true? It is written that God is love and that everyone that loves is born of God and knows God… I’ll let that roll around.
On top of that I know that things do get better. I survived. We survived. Intact. As a family. And I learned something of the value of grace… and of thankfulness… and of breathing. And also the value of words and poetry and acrylic paints on canvas… and of gasoline and an open highway. We survived the worst day of our lives and the day after that. And the second worst. And the next. We did what parents and siblings should never have to do and faced what no one wants to face. We made it through a week and then a month. Claiming a body. Making arrangements. Cleaning a room. Picking up ashes. We have grieved ceremonially in public… and spoke and wrote for publicly. And we have grieved privately.
Somehow I am looking forward to saying goodbye to 2013. It wasn’t good year. And even though the numbers on the calendar are sort of artificial… they call out to me- something about a new beginning.
Lisa Lennox sent me this link last night: http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/12/18/5-lies-you-were-told-about-grief/
Not only is it good stuff… conceptually and philosophically… the prose flows and right now, good prose affects me.