And then there was joy…

Today joy peeked its head through the soil again, as it always seems to do. Hooray! And today felt like spring. I’m grateful for spring and joy like crocuses that find their way through hard, snowy ground to the light.

I’m grateful I got to cry today. It cleared a lot of things for me.

I’m grateful that I got to babysit Emerson, a sweet one-year-old who “helped” me load the dishwasher tonight. Grateful for his wonderful parents who are two of my dearest friends—two of those rare people in my life that I never feel like I have to pretend with.

I am grateful that I got to hold my sweet Matthew on my lap tonight and stroke his hair. He is so sweet and wonderful and growing too fast.

Life is so good, especially when I choose to believe it is so.

So, so grateful

Grateful today for the way my children love me so unconditionally. Even when I’m a little off my game or out of sorts. 

Grateful for snuggling and singing and dancing.

Grateful for my Kaitlyn’s incredible sense of humor and the gift of laughter.

Grateful for math jokes, like Scott’s favorite: “Math, I’m not a psychiatrist. Solve your own problems.”

Grateful for a sweet dog. I love our Rusty dog.

The Cold Pulse of Sorrow: In Praise of Sadness

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This winter is cold and hard. And my endless search for a story where I’m perfect enough or wise enough to avoid pain is met in my mind with a friend’s soft voice: I’m sorry, darling, but you’re human. 

Tonight I walked in black clogs along the river trail, my ankles bare and bitten by icy air beneath my long, gray skirt. The bare trees jutted their limbs and sticks into the chill of river and sky, and mallards’ burnished backs and green heads floated on the running water, their quacks and taunts floating up to join the smell of wispy woodsmoke.

The cold pulse of sorrow enclosed me; one warm tear fell down my face. I don’t cry often these winter days. More than one tear and I am drowning in a deep and endless well, surrounded by stones of choices and stories and impossibles, things done and undone, words said and left unsaid, all that is aching and unsustainable.

Why must this be a world of sadness and sorrow?

The river flows on. The sky fades gray, then orange, deepens to cerulean and indigo. Here, even here, I am grateful—not for how I’m filled, but for how I’m emptied. Sorrow is the gift of being hollowed out for hope and future joys. This jagged joy of being human is more than joy. It is also joy’s counterpoint—sadness, sorrow. All of it is a call to gratitude. All. All. All.

This moment. Even this.

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Quick Gratitude: 19 January 2014

So very much to be grateful for today:

-The feeling of being loved for exactly who I am
-Spanish mass and the opportunity for new cultural experiences
-Worship and praise
-Avard Fairbanks and his gorgeous sculptures—Oh! How I love his work!
-His grandson, Dr. Fairbanks, who repaired my middlest son’s broken jaw after he fell out a window
-Companionship and connection
-The peace of cemeteries
-Running down hills
-Music, guitars, beautiful alto voices

Stark and Beautiful

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Today I feel grateful for barren winter trees and how they feel like sisters and kindred spirits right now. They look so bare, so stark and lonely. And yet… And yet… What green does spring have in store? I think they are so beautiful, just as they are, but also beautiful because of their promise of spring.

Also, grateful for this poem by Carol Lynn Pearson that has been coming to me a lot the last few days.

My Season
by Carol Lynn Pearson

Seeing the tree
Beneath a baptism of snow,
You may call her barren.
But is it so?
And for all your watchings
On a March night
When the twigs seem dark
And the bark
Feels cold to your hand —
Can you call her fruitless
And so leave?

She smiles,
Calm in the station
Of seasons
And in the ordination
Of sun, and sap, and spring.

As for me?
You turn away,
Impatient with the promises you’ve seen.
But — inside I fill
And pulse and flow
With the urgency of green.

I’ve a season,
Like the tree.
And all your
Faithless doubts
Will not destroy
The rising spring
In me.