On Moving to Belize

Apr 18 2018

Exciting news, friends! Greg and I, along with our kids, are moving to Belize! We don’t have a timeline yet, as we’re just in the initial phases of looking for riverfront property in the Cayo district — probably on the Macal River — but stay tuned for more info.

Also — IMPORTANT — don’t tell Greg yet, please.

I haven’t technically mentioned it to him yet because I’ve learned it takes a while to break news like this to him.

First of all, he has no sense of spontaneity, so as soon as I say, “GREG! EXCITING NEWS,” he won’t wait to hear what it is. He’ll just say no by default, and then when I actually tell him, he’ll begin a litany of Why The Amazing Thing Beth Is Planning Is Impractical, Financially Impossible, and Against The Natural Order. As a result, I’ll need to both craft a slow and subtle way to ease him into this news — my current plan is to manufacture a surprise confrontation while he’s pooping so he can’t escape — and also prepare My Defense so when he says, “The kids have to finish school, Beth,” I can say, “There are schools in Belize, Greg, OR our kids could drop out of school and become billionaires like Richard Branson, or awarding-winning directors like Quentin Tarantino, or rappers-turned-entrepreneurs like JayZ.” I feel like that logic is infallible.

Secondly, Greg tends not to believe me when I make Exciting New Plans for our lives, so I’m going to have to invent a way to ensure he knows I Really Mean It This Time. See, THIS is why it’s dangerous to get someone a fake miniature horse instead of a REAL miniature horse; I SHOULD’VE FOLLOWED THROUGH ON THE HORSE, y’all. I KNEW I should’ve followed through on the horse. If I’d followed through on the horse, he’d know I mean it about Belize. So, you know, if you have any suggestions for convincing him I’m serious, LMK, K?

That’s really all I’ve got for now. I’ve been radio silent around here for a couple weeks because I’ve been on a homeschooling road trip with the youngest two, and now I’m visiting the oldest at college. I think I had a day and a half at home in between the two (five kids’ needs is a lot of kids’ needs, friends), and so I spent it wisely — researching real estate in Belize. 

More soon.

Love to you all,

 

 

 

P.S. Abby and I are busy creating new twinsie pics for you.

Because we care. 

 

Help Settle an Argument…

Apr 4 2018

OK — help me resolve a tiny family squabble…

My parents’ 47th wedding anniversary was yesterday, and I shared my congratulations on Facebook along with the observation that that’s a LOT of years not to smother each other with a pillow.

My dad says I’m recycling that line because I’ve used it before.

*I* say, YES, I’ve said it before, but it’s a UNIVERSAL TRUTH, and universal truths ought not be categorized as “recycling.”

I mean, really; do people accuse Jesus of recycling “love your neighbor as yourself” just because he says and/or implies it a lot?

Do people accuse others of recycling Ghandi just because “be the change you wish to see in the world” shows up everywhere?

Do good readers accuse St. Anne Lamott of recycling “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do?”

No. No, they do not. You know why? Because Universal Truths must be reused and repeated. They stand the test of time. They DESERVE to be reiterated so we can wrest every grain of wisdom from them. 

In the same way, “Happy Anniversary! That’s a lot of years not to smother each other with a pillow” is a universal fact beyond time and place, the very definition of a Universal or Absolute Truth.

I mean, I don’t want to pat myself on the back too, TOO much here, but I do want you to feel free to let my father know his daughter is a wise philosopher whose observations and salutations should be revered as such.

Thanks, friends. I knew I could count on you.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

A Letter to My Daughter’s Other Mom

Mar 27 2018

26 March 2018

We found her. Finally. After nearly 20 years and an international investigation, we found our daughter’s birth mom. So I’m sitting here on a Tuesday, at my desk, with paper and a pen and a view of the rainy Oregon foothills trying to decide what to say to a mama across the ocean. A mama in Vietnam who shares my child. A mama who’s waited and wondered and longed for news. A mama who didn’t know if she’d ever hear. A mama, it turns out, who wanted desperately to keep her baby and who didn’t know her daughter would be swept away to America. A mama who, through no fault of her own, was caught up in a fraudulent baby adoption business. 

Dear Mrs. Ut,

Oh, she released Abby for adoption. Thank goodness at least that happened, and Abby wasn’t stolen away. But she thought Abby was going to Saigon to be adopted by a Vietnamese family. She felt she couldn’t take care of her baby’s needs so she trusted a neighbor to take her, but she thought she’d see her again, too. She thought she’d know Abby was OK.

I hope this letter finds you well.

As for us? Turns out we were naive, and we didn’t know then what we know now about the international adoption scene. About babies for sale. About bribes and coercion. About kids who could have stayed with their birth families. We went through a reputable agency. We had lawyers on the ground in Vietnam. We did think Abby was awfully young at only 6 weeks to be available for international adoption, given all the paperwork and legal hoops one must jump through, but, assured everything was on the up-and-up — and very young ourselves — we proceeded with unbridled joy.

I’ve wanted to write you for a very long time.

God, how do I even start this? What do I say when words can’t scratch the surface? My palms are clammy, and my heart is in my stomach. I’ve thought about this letter since Abby was a year old. That’s when we discovered more than one woman claimed to be Abby’s biological mother. That’s when we first suspected fraud, and our guts twisted, and we contacted our agency, and they shrugged, because what could they do? Two women claimed her. Both said they’d released her for adoption. No one was contesting it. All paperwork was legal. And, DNA tests not being what they are today, there was no real way to know. Still, I thought; even though there was nothing to do — nothing I was willing to do — I couldn’t help but think “one of these women is telling the truth; one of them is desperate for news of her baby.”

I’ve thought about you often and hoped we might find you one day, and I’m glad that day has come. 

She has been in nearly unimaginable pain and uncertainty, while I’ve had 19 years of joy. That my relationship with my precious baby girl, now a woman in her own right, came at the cost of this woman’s agony is unthinkable. And yet I wouldn’t trade it, even to take away her pain. What does that say about me? That I’m willing to pay for my deep joy with another person’s deep pain? But if I’m honest, I wouldn’t change it, even if I had a time machine and a do-over. Does that make me horrible, or just a mom?

Most importantly, I want you to know your little Bé is safe and happy. 

Do I overwhelm her with info? I would want to be overwhelmed with info. I would want every detail. I’d scour a letter about my baby again and again. But there’s a language barrier, and translation still needs to happen, and I need to choose whether to spend days and days on this letter or send it off, the first volley of what I hope becomes an exchange of information. 

We call her Abby, and she’s been a light and love of our life.

I’ve already spent 10 days going through thousands of photos from Abby’s childhood, trying to choose a representative few to send. Age two with Santa Claus. Age 4 in the pumpkin patch. With her cousins. In the snow. On her first day of school. Except now I’m looking with a new lens, different than my own nostalgia and sweet memories. Now I’m looking with a new measure of joy and sorrow; Abby was so happy, and Ut will only have these images captured of seconds in time. I got the minutes and the days and the months and the years. She will have a tiny pile of colored paper. Proof her baby was well loved, yes, and proof of all she missed.

I’m sending photos for you of Abby growing up, playing, with her siblings — she’s the oldest with three brothers and one sister — with her cousins, and with Greg and me, her mom and dad.

How do I describe who Abby is to the woman who longs to know her as well as I do? A list of adjectives seems so very paltry, such a meager offering in return for the Greatest Gift. But adjectives are all I have. I feel like the drummer boy at Jesus’ birth, wishing I had gold to offer but standing here with just noise. I mean, I know she’d rather have the noise over nothing, but it’s not enough.

Abby is smart, beautiful, funny and talented. She’s an accomplished dancer and is currently attending university in Hawaii.

Gah; this sounds like a job recommendation. “In conclusion, I would highly recommend Abby as a biological daughter.”

Will she see the pride behind the words? The love? The fact that I would die for our child, hers and mine? Do you think she’ll know? I just… don’t want her to wonder anymore whether Baby Bé‘s second mama loves her as deeply and truly as she does. Whether I honored the unspoken Mommy Contract to give my very soul for this child. Whether her baby became also my blood and also my bone, tied as securely as any umbilical cord ever was. Will she know, somehow? Is there a way to imbue this letter with magic to ensure it?

We are so very proud of her and the woman she’s become.

We would love to hear from you and about your family and life. Our address is enclosed. 

With love,

 

 

 

Trophy Time: GOT DRESSED

Mar 21 2018

Hey, BIG NEWS. I got dressed today. To my shoes. In Not Pajamas. With everything right side out. BEFORE NOON. I have thus been awarded the following trophy.

GOT DRESSED!

To be clear, by “I’ve been awarded,” I mean I awarded it to myself which is only appropriate as I’m the Governing Body that oversees Dressedness in my home. 

You may remember last month, when I accepted trophies in myriad categories including Smothered Zero People With a Pillow and Injury Free Workplace: 60 Minutes. Well, this trophy was available to me then (in a burst of unbridled optimism, I’d ordered it for myself from the Trophy Store), but the time never seemed right to bestow it, partly because I avoid getting dressed whenever possible, and partly because 1. Getting Dressed, 2. Remembering I’m Dressed, and 3. Taking a Photo to Prove I’m Dressed was two steps too many. My three steps looked more like 1. Getting Dressed, 2. Getting Undressed as Soon as Socially Feasible (i.e. upon walking one step in my front door), and then, 3. much later, going, “DAMN. I FORGOT MY TROPHY AGAIN.”

In other words, it’s been a long, hard road to the trophy podium, friends. I had to get dressed, like, a dozen times at least, practicing and persevering like all elite athletes. Sometimes, I awoke before dawn to dress, and sometimes I found myself still wearing clothes when the sun went down. There were days of Clothes-Wearing that seemed endless, y’all, but I never — not once — took my clothes off during a school district meeting that ran late, or while having fancy dinner with my cousin when my waistband pinched, or in the grocery store parking lot even though the drive home would’ve been way more comfy without jeans.

I earned this award, in other words, so I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to work hard and TRY. Success comes one pant leg at a time unless you’re smart enough to wear a skirt which takes way less effort. And, in the end, dreams DO come true. 

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. I ALMOST FORGOT PROOF. Jeez.

Special thanks to Greg who took this pic in which I’m DRESSED…

…thus reminding me to award myself this long overdue prize. Sure, I’m both dressed AND back in bed in that pic (because what’s a girl to do when her puppy and her kid want to snuggle?), but that just means I ALSO get the “Made the Bed: HA HA JUST KIDDING” trophy today. 

P.P.S. Did anyone notice this in the first pic?

Yeah, me, too. IDK what that is or how it got there, but, y’all, I just left it the hell alone because it looks dangerous. I feel like that’s a solid choice. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

On Eating and Life: I Know You Understand

Mar 16 2018

I’ve been a little radio silent around here for a bit. Mostly because I’ve been eating. Or thinking about eating. Or planning the eating.

To be fair, this is the case for me All the Time. I like food. But in my defense at this particular time, my friend Maggie and I just held our first ever Food and Wine Retreat, so All the Thinking About Food = LEGIT.

I cannot adequately express how very much I needed the time away at the Oregon Coast to just hang out and relax.

It’s been a month, friends. One of those sort of Stunning, Beautiful, Brutal MONTHS. Anyone else?

And these pictures from the retreat have nothing to do with the Month I’m about to share, but, perhaps against the backdrop of the Real Life we’ve been living, you can see how grateful I am for Rest and Good Humans and Amazing Food by the Sea.

A friend approached Greg at church a few Sundays ago. She’s kind, and she knows our family, so she thought we’d want to know about the post in a public group on Facebook, describing a teenager on the path near our house who was threatening a young family, aimed at hurting or robbing them. A teenage boy who, when physically described, sounded too much like our oldest boy to ignore. 

Since the post mentioned his service dog, too, we had no doubt, really. I also knew he wasn’t going to hurt or rob anyone. Ian is very much like his Golden Retriever, Zoey; he’s much more likely to lick you to death than do anything to hurt you, ever.

But his disabilities — intellectual, verbal, and developmental — none of which are visible, mean he’s regularly misunderstood. And, if I can be perfectly frank here, our Guatemalan son is no longer seen as an adorable little boy with big brown doe eyes; now that he’s a 5’10”, 190 lb, brown male, people see a threat. I cannot adequately describe how much, over the last 15 years, our eyes have been opened to systematic and entrenched racism and to our own enormous privilege as white people.

So I did what any mommy would do. I joined the Facebook group, read the message about the lurking boy who followed the family, read the comments encouraging police involvement and warning the public to be wary of him, and attempted to defend my kid and dispel the idea that he’s a danger.

I wrote: “Hi. The boy you mentioned is my son, Ian. Ian is significantly intellectually disabled, and the dog, Zoey, is his service dog. As you noticed, Ian’s disability affects him socially, as well, and he is unable to accurately identify how others feel. His speech is also significantly impacted (he’s unable to understand others well or make himself clearly understood) — not sure whether you talked to him or not, but thought I should let you know that, too. I’m so sorry his behavior caused fear and anxiety for you and your kids. The good news is he wasn’t going to rob or hurt you; he cares deeply for others and isn’t violent or dangerous in any way — he’s just awful at understanding social cues. Ian’s only unsupervised activity each day is walking Zoey for 15 minutes on that path. He’s 18 now, so, alongside his therapists and teachers, we’re trying to give him “more responsibility” to do a few things on his own. Taking Zoey for a walk is his one thing right now. We regularly talk to him about the fact that people respond differently to him now that he’s “man sized” than when he was small. He’s very interested in and likes people, so it’s difficult for him to understand that lurking beside people, their kids, their conversations, etc. makes people feel nervous. Please know this is something we’re continuously working on with him and also that we had a long discussion with him about your experience. He said he “didn’t mean make them feel bad.” We’ve emphasized the importance of giving strangers a lot of space so we don’t appear threatening. Wishing you peaceful walks in the future…” 

I hit send, and then I cried for a really long time. 

There’s a grief inherent in raising children who experience disability. I haven’t met a parent yet who hasn’t felt it. But I’ll tell you… the last two years have been extraordinarily hard. Defeating. Exhausting. Relentless. 

We adopted Ian when he was 3, and, until he was 16 or so, we dealt in possibilities. He could possibly drive some day, we thought. Or maybe one day he’ll have his own apartment. While kids his age were earning trophies for their sports teams, we were happy for them… and grieved that Ian will never experience the camaraderie of going to State with water polo or wearing a letterman’s jacket on campus. But still, we thought; he still has potential for Some of the Usual Things. 

Until we didn’t think that anymore.

Until his childhood was over.

Until we arrived at the barriers he cannot climb. 

And then we grieved again, both for the life he cannot have… which we long suspected… but perhaps even more for the end of the possibilities.

 

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Ian has a LOT of potential and will learn and change and grow as the years move by. But the goals are different now. The capacity isn’t there to drive and it would be both foolish and dangerous to try. Now the goal is learning public transportation. Similar with independence; he won’t get to go away to college like his sister or live in an apartment unsupervised or handle his own finances. And so we look to what he CAN do… but we grieve, too. There’s a lot of that.

And the grief over the “threatening teenager” was founded in the reality that he will face this sort of thing forever. That he can’t live only inside our family bubble. That he’ll go out into the world for more than 15 minutes at a time, and more people will feel threatened by a man-child who really would love to have a friend. That 15 minutes is all the time it takes for that to happen. 

I mourn that he can’t go into the world like I can and disarm people with words. I mourn that he’s 18 and must still be supervised 23 hrs and 45 minutes a day. I grieve that he will be judged “creepy” or frightening or a danger to women and children. 

It’s impossibly hard to love a child and not be able to give him the world. You know? Impossibly hard.

The community response to my message was beautiful, really. Strangers sending love, letting us know they’re eager to meet and greet Ian on his walks, and telling us about petting Zoey and chatting with Ian. “I’ve met this young man and his beautiful dog, as I walk the trail very often. I also have taken the time to stop and talk to him and Zoey (who he was kind enough to let me pet) I never felt a threat or worry around him, to me he just seemed a little lonely and a friendly hello seemed to really brighten his day. I hope they continue to enjoy the trail.”

I cry again, every time I read that. I needed the reminder that some people are magic and have the power to see past the surface to the precious person within.  

But the whole experience threw me for a loop, especially coming, as it did, on the same day my oldest girl asked us to find her birth mom. I’m a fan of that plan. I’m really excited for her… and also for me, truth be told. I’ve wanted to hug her bio mom for years. To thank her for giving my girl life. To tell her Abby’s been happy and healthy and well loved. To share how proud I am of our girl, hers and Greg’s and mine. But dealing with the emotional aftermath of the Path Situation AND trying to figure out how to hire a private investigator in Vietnam? That was something, friends. Just a teeny, tiny bit overwhelming. 

So it’s been a little radio silent around here. And I think I’ve made the case for Why Food, and Why Retreat, and Why Rest and Respite.

Because life is lifey. Yes?

Yes.

Life is lifey.

But life can also — at least for a little while — be fixed with fresh pasta and pizza and risotto and local wine…

…with outstanding people and human connection…

…with goofballs and laughter and a frickin’ break from the grind…

…and with the reminder that we’re all in this together.

None of us alone if we’re brave enough to reach for each other.

Signing off for now (and headed to get myself some food, because obviously),

 

 

 

P.S. Retreat season is a busy time for me. Lots of thought, planning and energy go into these events, none of which would be possible without my steady staff,  Maggie and Polly Peterson, who have made my dream of rest and respite built on human connection happen. The retreats are how I’ve met and spent time with many of you, dear readers and friends, and I’m grateful for every minute. (Including the naked on the beach ones.)

P.P.S. We do have two more retreats coming in 2018 — the Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat in May (for new and experienced writers alike) and the Mindfulness Retreat in November. There are still some spaces available at each, and I’d love for you to come. Maggie will be cooking. 😉 You can find all the details here

Your Advice Needed: Prank Emergency

Mar 9 2018

EMERGENCY, friends. We have an emergency, and your advice is needed.

You may have heard that Easter is on April Fool’s Day this year. THIS GIVES US BARELY OVER 3 WEEKS to create a Master Prank Plan to Fool the Children. This is TIME SENSITIVE, folks. We have Things to Do, Plots to Scheme, and not a whole lot of time in which to accomplish it. I feel like it would be ungrateful to the cosmos that went to so much trouble to align these two events to waste this opportunity. I also feel like Jesus would want us to celebrate his resurrection by tricking small humans. I mean, WWJD, right? J is cheering us on here. I’m sure of it.

Here’s the thing, though; we need to make this April Fool’s Easter-specific. THEMED pranks, if you will. The plastic wrap on the toilet seat and the rubber band on the kitchen sprayer are good tricks for a Regular April Fool’s Day; I just feel like they’re insufficient for EASTER April Fool’s, you know? Like we’re required to step up our game here and make this super Easter-y.

Our family usually does Extreme Egg Hunts, Hunger Games Style, so our kids are primed for egg hunting as a full contact sport. We make all the kids stuff the eggs (because that’s a lot of work, man, and we had children for the free labor), and then the adults head outside to hide them in trees, on roofs, duct taped to top of the swing set; basically anywhere our children must risk life and limb to retrieve them. Obviously, this can take us a significant amount of time involving, as it does, ladders, rope, tape, and the occasional garden hose. 

I feel like the Easter Egg Hunt is a prime opportunity to commit acts of foolery this year. Like, the kids can stuff all the eggs per usual, and then we can swap those eggs with pebble-stuffed eggs for the actual hiding. OR we can simply take all the eggs under the premise of “hiding” and make a run for it. The kids won’t notice we’re gone for at least 20 minutes. We can head to a neighbor’s house, hide the eggs there instead and have a glass of wine while the kids try to find us. That feels like a win/win, you know?

BUT THAT’S ALL I’VE GOT so far. Two egg-related ideas. Which is why I NEED YOUR HELP, friends. I need a more comprehensive plan. I need better tricks. I need more tom-foolery. I need bigger ways to celebrate the Risen Savior by pulling one over on my kids.

EMERGENCY. TIME SENSITIVE. Help a mama out?? What ideas do you have?

With great anticipation,

 

 

 

P.S. I do have some teeny, tiny rules for pranks. I don’t like pranks that make people feel stupid or that make them feel sad. Except for the time I made Greg feel sad by faking the purchase of a miniature horse and having it delivered to our house. In my defense, he had it coming by telling me I couldn’t have one. I really had no choice. Pranks that force children to run all over the neighborhood to find the egg hunt I stole? Approved. Pranks that make them think it’s canceled altogether? I can’t do it. I’m too much of a softy. But other than sadness or making people feel dumb, I’m all ears. Minor physical jeopardy is fine. Emotional jeopardy, not so much. I can’t wait to hear your ideas. 

On Standing for Good When Evil Is Loud

Feb 28 2018

I wrote my first term paper in the 8th grade. It was on the Holocaust. I rewrote it again in 10th grade and one more time in college, partly because it was easier to build a paper on earlier work and partly because the Holocaust fascinated and horrified me and birthed an intense desire to work out why it happened, how it was possible that people could allow it, and how we might ensure it never happened again.

It was the first time I heard the clarion call of Good versus Evil, and it was the first time I suspected there may come a time in my own life when I would have to choose between championing the outcasts or protecting myself.

Eighth grade is an odd time of self-discovery and trying on new selves to find one that might fit. Rapid growth, of course, ensures nothing, not even our favorite clothes or selves, fit well for long. They get ripped and torn, threadbare, or suddenly too small to contain us anymore, and so we let most clothes and shoes and selves go, picking only a few bits to remain with us always.

In 8th grade, I was kind, and fierce, and funny, and creative, and a liar, and in love with Certain Boys after my friends and I had divided them amongst ourselves, careful to allot crushes the same way we divided treats, as equitably as possible. My hair was permed and feathered, my teeth were askew, my legs were perpetually covered in bug bites and scabs from scratching, and I longed to be pretty more than Just About Anything. Studying the Holocaust didn’t change that, but it added a depth, perhaps; a dimension I didn’t previously understand with only 13 years under my belt.

I waited during my teen years for the Crisis of Our Age to come. It would be war, I thought. Or the persecution of Christians, which the Church promised me was inevitable. I watched, and I waited.

I thought it had arrived when we went to war in Iraq in the early 90’s. I sat in my little Toyota Tercel hatchback, and I heard the announcement on the radio. But, as is true for so many of us without close family and friends in the military, it affected me very little.

And then the Twin Towers were hit on 9/11. I was a mommy by then, and I watched the second tower fall while my toddler slept in the next room. This is it, surely, I thought. But again, I wasn’t directly affected, and, well, life proceeded as life does. No gas lines. No rationing. No concentration camps. I mean, I don’t like taking my shoes off at the airport, but all things considered, no real change for me and mine or, I dare say, the majority of my countrymen and women.

I thought I would recognize it when it came — the Time I Would Have to Stand Up for What Is Right at Great Cost to Myself — but it came slowly, and I didn’t see it while I raised my babies, and went to the grocery store, and fought with and loved my husband, and went to church, and volunteered, and started writing. I didn’t see it, and I don’t blame myself much, because I’ve learned as I’ve aged how subtly Evil moves. How quietly. How insidiously. How it masks itself as Rules and Righteousness and Right Thinking. How it plays on our need for Belonging, afraid, as we are, of being Cast Out. How it cows the Questioners and shuns Those Who Will Not or Cannot Subscribe or Conform. How it creates Tribalism and Exclusion and Fear of the Other, lest we be infected or destroyed by the Them.

But here we are.

Here we are, living in a world where Evil has arrived. Where we turn away widows and orphans and refugees at our borders. Where we steal healthcare from the sick. Where we mock our young as immature and entitled while we steal their educational and financial future, and they beg us not to keep letting them die at school. We live in a world where our churches truly believe that their 20th century interpretation of the Bible is the One Correct Reading of Scripture and use that to excommunicate people who love God and love their neighbors as themselves, because that last is, somehow, no longer the litmus test, no matter what Jesus said.

Here we are, friends. And I’ve heard it said that people who compare this current time to the Holocaust are overreacting. Being dramatic. Being hysterical. While we let the world’s largest refugee crisis continue, millions suffering and dying. While we refuse to listen to our children. While we stand stalwart behind the closed doors of our churches and use Jesus to justify our rampant nationalism, our goal of self-preservation, our hoarding of weapons, and our lying leaders.

Here we are, and I can’t help but feel that the world right now is covered in a shroud, like the alien planet in A Wrinkle in Time. We’re covered. The heartbeat of Evil is loud, and many have believed Evil’s lie that it is Good or that it is Necessary or that it is the Best Way Forward. It feels… opaque right now, like trying to see through ash and move through mud. No wonder we’re exhausted. No wonder we’re sad. No wonder we’re groping about in the dark, trying to find our people, tentatively, by feel. We’re living in the darkness we all suspected may come.

The time has arrived. Our Crisis is upon us. Millions are dying — our refugee neighbors, our minority neighbors, our LGBTQ+ neighbors, our children in school — physically and emotionally, literally and spiritually, we’re dying.

It seems horrific, which it is, and hopeless, which it’s not. Evil is winning, as Evil does, but Evil doesn’t win forever, and I keep coming back to this one thing: we know that it is dark. We’re living under the shroud right now, and it’s oppressive and disheartening, but there are many of us who can see it. Who know that it is Not OK. Whose eyes are wide open to see that this is Wrong. Who are resisting. Who are fighting the crawl of Complacency and Compliance. Whose hearts still beat to their own wild rhythms which echo the image of God and who listen for the heartbeats of others, which is the way of Love.

Oh, friends, it’s hard right now. Just… hard to be under cover of darkness with only pinpricks of flickering light in the sky. It’s hard to be Betwixt and Between and to wonder when — when, dear God — the dawn will arrive. It’s hard not to feel helpless tumbling in the tidal wave, trying to stop its destruction. It’s hard not to give in to its power and be swept away. It’s hard, always, when the old is passing and the new is not yet come.

But this is our time. This is the one. This is when we Stand for Good or Fall for Evil. And the world needs us even though it’s hard. The world needs us especially because it’s hard. The world needs us to see through our fear stricken societies and find new ways of living. To lead the charge. To keep reaching out for each other.

All of which is an incredibly long way to say, I’m waving to you in the dark, friends. I see it. I see the dark. And I see you, too. Together, we’ll beckon the dawn.

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. In case this post is too heavy for you, here are some pictures of our latest foster puppy. Her name is Nikki, she’s 4 months old, has survived parvovirus and pneumonia in her short tenure on earth, and she’s partially blind, but the darkness doesn’t stop her. Not ever.

P.P.S. And this…