How Does One Relearn Living?


“Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day.”—Anne Lamott

“Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”—Bronnie Ware

Exactly one mile west of my house a cottonwood towers over a field of blooming sunflowers and queen anne’s lace. I run to that tree at least once a week and stop to place my fingertips and cheek on its rough bark, to breathe its hundred years of wisdom. Sometimes I take a leaf with me for the next few miles, roll it between my fingers like a talisman. At least once this time of year, I drive to that field with scissors, come home with an armful of flowers. I always tell myself I ought to go back and get another bunch for a friend, but I never have. This year, perhaps.
Just an hour ago I walked barefoot in warm rain puddles, marveled at the wonder of rainscent beneath a sun-brightened blue sky. I love this world unwaveringly, the sights and smells and touch and taste of it all. I love its people. I love learning new things, the heft of new library books in my basket, the sting of bloodshot eyes at two a.m as I thrill to new discoveries. I love teaching. I love writing, the leaping and pirouetting dance of placing words on a page, twirling them through the air in spirals until I find the ones that sing my inner life. I love children, especially mine, especially the way my Ammon’s blue eyes this summer have held all the answers to all the questions in all the universe that I could ever ask.

Here’s the problem: I have forgotten how to live this life I love. I have let its frenzied voices shout at me. I have forgotten how to hear quiet voices, to know, to love and believe. Oh, how I have forgotten to believe, substituted agreement or disagreement for faith and wonder and surety.

It’s a common problem, I think. Facebook. Twitter. CNN. Tumblr. Life Hacker. How we survive as intact selves in these gale-force winds is beyond me. Maybe we don’t survive intact. I know I haven’t.

This year has been a year of questioning for me. Radical questioning of nearly everything less provable than gravity. It’s had my husband worried about me as I question every tradition, every normal, every common thing. So many things I once believed have proven flimsy and false in my journeying lately, so I am trying to rebuild my life around what I know is true, what I do believe. And the hailstorm that is the internet has often gotten in the way.

I do not believe in facebook.*

  • I believe in God. I do.
  • I believe in cottonwood bark and sunflowers.
  • I believe in poetry and blue eyes and rainstorms.
  • I believe in the goodness of those around me.
  • I believe in loving.
  • I believe in the Jesus who said “Love one another.”
  • I believe in Phillip Hallie’s philosophy on hospitality, and justice, and ultimate kindess.
  • I believe in friendship, in beauty.
  • I believe in family and love.
  • I believe in finding family and love and life all around me.
  • I believe in speaking love from the heart, with voice, with action, with fingertips.
  • I believe that life is good and that I don’t want to miss any more of it.

*Of course, there is irony here (and how I love irony). The two blogposts that sent me over the edge, brought me the final realization that I must change my life, were posted by friends on facebook. (Thank you CAK and MN!) And when I finish writing this, I will hit the little button below and invite my facebook friends to read it. For now. So it goes. I think my main concern is to no longer be a passive, constant consumer of social media, to not let it get in my way.


2 thoughts on “How Does One Relearn Living?

  1. I think the most important word in this post, is “listen”, a sense that can allow us to be in the world, in the present.

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