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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Some Thoughts

For days I have yearned to sit at my keyboard and pour myself out.

To reach into the sadness and gladness and all the profound and ordinary. To lay it all out and wrap it in words, and move it from churning into sentence and paragraph.

But I've not yet found that sweet release, and with each new try the words look cheap and profane. Too contrived to be authentic.

Let me say this, for sure.

That life is so short (see, how cheap, how ordinary, how tired these words appear?)

That kindness matters.


What doesn't matter, though I sweat and strain as though it does, is that

my kitchen cupboard doors are ugly

and the bathroom vanity is swelling.

I've grown a poochy little belly and

liver spots are cropping up on my face

I didn't pay my credit card in full.

or put the bikes in the garage before the snow.


It won't matter.

It doesn't really matter.


Here's the part where words won't help me say what does matter

because it will sound trite to talk about


It will sound contrived to talk about making sure that people are seen, and valued.

or to speak of sticking up for annoying people (because they usually annoy me, and I wish they would just go away).

It will all sound tired.

I know firsthand how impossible it is to be kind to little children at times, even though it matters.

I know how hard it is to forgive little and medium sized hurts, not to mention massive, horrific, life-altering wrongs.

It's even hard for me to tolerate the girl at McDonalds who puts an "X" in ESPRESSO when there clearly is no x.

So why would it make any sense for me to attempt to wax poetic on being kind, on caring for others, on "keeping the patient comfortable, and handing out tumblers of cool water", as Anne Lamott has been teaching me.

I can't ask you to learn from me, but I can say this. I think this is what it all comes down to- to show up. To care. To keep your patients comfortable and hydrated. To let your heart break. To not get too comfortable with your storing up and hoarding for the future. To say the stuff that's hard to say, but is true and good and Holy in some inexplicable way.

Even as you hate the colour of your bathroom and the laminate is cheap and chipping and the car has a billion thousand kilometers and the driveway isn't even paved.

Even as the kids pee on your kitchen chairs and floors and what you think you really want is for them all to go away.

Little urges and senses will come to you, and they may smell like banana bread or red wine, and you will know that its time to distribute the elements. To get off your pinchy, grumpy little self involved attitude and cut some slices to hand out with glasses of cool water or wine to share. Even if it feels a bit uncomfortable, and you're not sure your people even like banana bread.

Or maybe you'll know to just sit with your tribe and study their eyes and kiss their bald heads and nod while they tell you stories that make no real sense but that pour out of their old bodies like incense or rain.

And although you know that you're mean and self indulgent and grumpy, it will all return to you, your hands and heart overflowing. Your eyes will overflow too, and you'll be glad you always forget about make-up and that kleenex is cheap and you'll remember that life is short and precious. In that overflowing, it will matter less that your cupboards suck and your floor is broken, that you always forget to remind your kids to brush their teeth, and that your boy's room hasn't been vacuumed in a fortnight or twelve, or that your thighs are touching in weirder ways than they did when you were in your thirties.

These, I suspect, are some of the things that do matter. And on good days, it's not so hard to see that the profound is all mixed up with the ordinary, and if you blink, or spend your time sweating over those cupboard doors,

You just might miss it all.



Carol said...

Beautifully said Joyce……..

Judy said...

This. This is truth.

janice said...

Joyce, my house is perfect, being brand-new just a year ago. I still manage to conjure up an amazing array of fears and issues here, in my mind. As you know, ugly cupboard doors are not an issue outside except in your head. The truth is the love in your house.

I did not get the gene that is supposed to go with the vagina that makes me keep my house in a state ready for visitors at all times. I raised my daughter in a sometimes-very-squalid home. But I always had nice kitchen cupboard doors, as well as love, so she is OK.

I do love reading your blog. Thanks.

brenda said...

Funny how so many of the very things that bother you about yourself or your house are the very things that endear me to you. I love your house because it's a home (not just a conglomeration of functional stuff). I love you because your raw and real and you don't hide behind make-up and designer clothing. So, perhaps you've made greater strides than you often give yourself credit for. The fact that you think about these things as much as you do is testament to how incredibly large your heart really is. I'm so glad to know you!

joyce said...

I really love my home, and I enjoy dressing as myself. No problem. I do dislike my cupboards, but I don't deeply care. Same as my puke coloured bathroom with the fally apart vanity. My words about them are more to reflect on how often I come back to conclude that they don't matter. I love my porch because of ally the love that has bloomed there over all the years I have formed friendships with the moms and dad's of the little people I try to love well. Sometimes my body horrifies me, but mostly not any more. I'm grateful to it, it's my vehicle through which to live out my life. I talk about all these things (somewhat repetitively) because it helps to remind myself of what feeds my soul- caring for others, living with an open heart and an open door. In a terribly flawed way with grumpy self indulgent small. Minded , endlessly needy reality. Irritable and pinchy, insecure and all that.

If I wrote only about loving others, without mentioning my pride and greed, people might expect me to never be hurtful. To meet their needs. To show up.

But that might fall on a day when I'm hating on my belly or my bathroom sink. And I might miss it.

That's the thing about this life: it's entirely scrambled together.
And that's ok.