20 May 2009

be where you are

i am reminded again that we are all full of terror and fury and shame--having been shattered by the fall. we are all caught in the act. we are all scrambling to cover the foibles, the stains and the broken dishes, the lies and the bad decisions.

(an aside: i think i need a man who wants to make this into a song—a slow, sad, bluesy song with a slide guitar).

but i am also reminded that this isn't where the story ends. hallelujah.

she wrote that details matter. otherwise: drop a bomb on all of us. "say yes to life, all of life" she says. say yes to the real things about who we are.* we carry around the details that say life matters and each person matters; the making of music matters--those pictures and memories we carry around matter. even the mistakes.

i want to get it down: the knowing look and smile between friends--that moment when we realize that even though the sorrow is killing us, we are going to be OK. this matters. write it down, for goodness sake.

it will help us remember in all of our shambles and shitpiles that God is going to help us, like he always does. when we learn to tell the truth and admit our need, we see how Faithfulness works on us without giving up.


in morogoro, tanzania, in the hills called faulkland, i found myself in the middle of a thousand stories with names and sights and people you could never even dream up if you tried.

there are the giant racing snails hiding in the blades of grass that cover the hills, waiting for wet sidewalks to travel. there is a small girl named selena, whose tattered light blue dress falls off her shoulder as she dances and laughs. there is a semi-circle of grass thatched huts with a fire burning in the middle, and a woman bending to collect wood. there is a church with no roof surrounded by plantings of pink impatients in the brick red, dusty soil, where women come each afternoon to sit on wooden benches and sing together, over and over: "the blessing of God is around us."

i wonder: is it still a story if what came before and what comes next cease to matter? if these memories are enough to take me there, to remind me of my friend saying to me "when you see that place, you can't even cry"?

there is a place where the smiles and gentleness of the people in the stories seeped right down into the cracks in my heart and stole it; i think i fell in love for the first time in a long time.


we each have moments like these, don't we? the ones that sneak in and shake the foundations of our hearts in a way that we know we will never be the same. in a way that we are broken and healed all at the same time.

in a way that tells us yet again that we can't pretend like none of these things matter.

*natalie goldberg writing down the bones