weekending with family

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oh web friends, we spent our second weekend with my family in indiana. i feel so blessed to be surrounded by the beauty and love of some amazing people. it’s still such a painful reason to be together but through it all there is laughter,  learning experiences and incredible things happening. a family is being strengthened and i’ve said “i love you” more in the past few weeks than ever before in my life.

the canvas with the quote belonged to my cousin. i adore it. the crosses were sent home from the orphanage where my cousin was working.

we’re headed back again this weekend for services and hard-core family time. is it so weird to say i’m looking forward to it? because i am. in the best possible way. for now i’m just trying to get things under control at the homestead. i’m anxious to move forward with purpose. i think that is what my cousin would want. i think she’s been there, whispering to me of  ways i could carry service work into my own profession.

i’ll leave you with the full quote which was the inspiration for my cousin’s canvas:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God,
That is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
What you will do with your evenings,
How you spend your weekends,
What you read,
Who you know,
What breaks your heart,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

~ Pedro Arrupe


my tribute

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dear cousin,

this is a picture of my dad holding you when you were a baby. i have many, many vivid memories of my father holding you. you see, i think i had just become officially too old to be held when you were born. i remember you being content to be held by my father for what seemed like hours to a 5/6-year-old. i wanted to be you. and i was so jealous.

i’m officially over it.

now i am just glad that anyone, anywhere at anytime got to hold you. it’s something many, many people wish they could be doing just now.  i am reminded very much during this mourning period how things we don’t yet understand always serve a purpose.  my mind and heart keep clinging to the small ways our family has been taken care of during this, the small graces, the ways we’ve taken care of each other. everything seems to have its meaning and purpose and i’m so very thankful to be in a place to see those little cracks where the light shines in. i’ve carried around some guilt for being envious of your being held by my father but now i see that if i hadn’t been so attuned to the relationship he had with you as a baby then i wouldn’t have these vivid memories and as an adult they are beautiful.

i know each of us are processing in our own way. for me this means utilizing music, and i know you would appreciate that. mike and i saw jim james on tuesday night. if it had been ANY other artist i would have stayed home but I just knew it was meant to be. I reflected about seeing him at the rudyard kipling with you in louisville,  how excited we were to be hanging out as adults for pretty much the first time. it seems so long ago but so near, like it’s shrouded in a veil and i could reach out for it but for that thin piece of fabric keeping it separated from the here and now. it was a great night. if i never told you that before, i’m telling you now.

it means i’ve been reliving the great lake swimmers and yeasayer concerts from last summer. it means i’ve been cracking up about how vehemently and emphatically every cousin reacted when i asked “does anyone feel like a grown-up yet?” at the restaurant before great lake swimmers.

it means i’ve been listening to a lot of all things must pass and the last waltz. i’ve always thought Forever Young was a beautiful blessing. i’m just thinking of you, cousin, as i listen. i think you embodied the message. i think you got the essence of life that dylan was able to capture in this song. { i know, so cliché to have a dylan song but the man wrote songs apropos to every occasion } it’s everything i could think of to wish for someone and i wish it for you now.

so here it is now, in words and the best version ever for viewing. i love you. i hope you know you are kind and loving. i hope you know you are so beautiful. i hope you know you are so smart and fun and intelligent. you are such a lovely person. may you stay forever young.

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ps. forever young is right next to the lyrics for dirge in the bob dylan lyrics book. cosmic connections.

on earth days

i’m sitting here with a new meaning for earth day. i’ve been unsure about writing about this because it’s a tender, dear subject and i don’t want to give any indication of exploiting the matter for gaining attention.

but damn. last week can go to hell. it can go there and stay there forever. and i have to write and i have to process.

my family is reeling at the moment from an unexpected death. my family was still reeling from an expected death when this unforeseen second death came along and swept us off our feet again. i’m still in that space where facts and information don’t seem quite real but it’s slowly sinking in that it is the truth. and it will be the truth for all my tomorrows.

most of my day was focused on being with family hard-core, giving hugs, shedding tears together, listening to our collective disbelief, squeezing on my people, especially my littlest person. i didn’t even realize it was earth day until we were driving home this evening. i was struck by a new meaning to the term earth day. i’ve had 10,976 earth days. for 30+ years i’ve had the privilege to be on this earth.

we’re living in a disposable world where people throw away their time and their energy just as easily as their napkins, diapers, k-cups and razor blades. i feel we’ve truly lost touch with the idea of making something last. we’ve lost touch with how miraculous it is to be around for 30 years. or say 25…

we’re always trying to create time instead of realizing it’s there before our very eyes. it’s being hindered by the very things that are labeled as conveniences. our earth is being depleted by these conveniences. our relationships are slipping away. permanence is being lost and it’s all becoming disposable. even our memories. even our emotions.

maybe i’m tired and raw and drained and i’m not making sense. but i know this: making every day count is about getting back to the earth and living simply. it’s about refusing the disposables from your life and seeking the permanent. love is permanent. friendship is permanent. family is permanent. celebrating earth day every day spreads farther than just your consumer choices, your carbon foot print and your sustainability. it is essentially celebrating the good that is available for you to achieve every single day.

how much good could you achieve in only 25 years? honestly, how much? a whole hell of a lot is what i think. i’m going to stop thinking of life as too short. it’s a whole precious chunk of time if you use it wisely. if you celebrate what is really important and buck off the bullshit. we can’t belittle it by thinking it’s not enough. after all, it’s all we’ve got.

what good are you going to do with all the long days of your life? you have so little to do and so much time to do it.

all you have to do is love. care. cherish. live simply and be grateful for every day that creeps past with its long sunrise and slow afternoon minutes with slanted sunshine that seem to rest on the floor for an eternity. the still, quiet nighttime with the slow, toddler breath coming from down the hall and the low murmur of a tv show from downstairs. those are the details that pass by in their time just calling out; i’ve been here for all these minutes. have you even noticed me? what more could you have to pay attention to than this? this is life.

your years and life are long. they are adequate time to love and honor life on earth. be here. be present. have gratitude for that with which you are entrusted. seek the permanent. your life is not disposable.