“Okay” Can Be a Comforting Prayer

BPyUYW1CIAA-IFqIn part of a passage I posted the other day by Anne Lamott she said that

“okay”

is one of the four great prayers.

o TN_handsigns_O

I wonder what the other three are?

I’d bet they are one worded – perhaps thanks. Amen would be kind of obvious. What about yes? or Hallelujah, or yipee or yahoo or agreed? That’s what amen means in terms of word roots I think. I’m fairly sure it just means “Yup, I think the same thing as you my old pal God the greatest.”

About a month ago my prayers were not close to being quite that amiable. “Greatest” is still not the first thing that pops in mind with how I am feeling about the heavenly host, but I’m starting to ease up on my internal sky rant which started out pretty much like this:

Are you *%@+&ing kidding me? What happened to that giant life plan that you and I mapped out and you were so generously CLEAR with your instructions about what you want me to do with my life? The hints you left were not random on this one. It wasn’t like the time I thought I could somehow make a career out of folding origami cranes and little paper frogs. That wasn’t very practical was it now? Did I try to figure out if that’s what you want. Well YES SIREE I did! I prayed, I journaled. I reflected. I went to mass and made the sons come along as well. I even started reading Anne Lamott books. I may not have gotten to my goal of making a thousand paper cranes, but I got good at that craft and hosted a couple of really fun workshops for kids and showed those little kidlets a good time. Did I whine and moan when I figured out that the want ads had nothing that said: “intensely reflective and fairly forgetful paper folder wanted to fold cute little animals out of beautiful asian paper squares” ? NO MA’AM! I kept on truckin’ and started out working on Masters degree #2 because the first one was not in big demand in the countryside where we were living. Was I bummed when it stopped working out for me to continue in that program. Well sure. It was really interesting and the career demand was going to be huge. And did I stop trying to figure out what you want? Hell’s bells no I didn’t. I dug up all of the Thomas Merton books that we own and got friendly with him again. And I found another hobby as instructed and spent hours and hours building that outdoor porch train track. Giving up that corner of our house that became my little prayer space was pretty damn hard to leave, but I did, DID I NOT? Our buddy Merton says keep reflecting not matter where and no matter what so when I discovered how ridiculously large the Mississippi river is compared to my serene corner on the great Ohio, THAT’S WHAT I DID DUDE! REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECTED MY *#%…..

There’s more, but I’ll spare you the details. Consider that a prelude.handsigns_K

By the way, I know that I used both “he” and “she” words for God. I’m one of those people who feel like God is so big that gender kind of limits the whole point of divinity. And I get irked at continued references that imply that our collective imagination stopped at the image of a white guy with a big old beard being in charge of the universe. That’s kind of boring I think. And none of my grandfather’s look like that anyway. One was a motorcycle cop and the other a journalist with big thick eye glasses.

Anyway.

My dear friend sent me a beautiful gift after I called her to tell her what was upsetting me so greatly. Wait, no, She is the one that had called me first. I had sent a rapid fire set of text messages saying “ahhhhhhhhh” and “eeeeeeeeeeeeek” and “yowwwwwwwwww”! She knows me well and called and said “I’m calling to talk about the weather and want to know what you are making me for dinner.” So we had a great and funny conversation that was mostly a “not talking talk” about what I was upset about, but at the same time she got a basic run down on the scene.

Shortly after, a gift that she had promised came in the mail. I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon! The card that she sent with it had a cute front that talked about how God’s world is full of all that is good. On the inside though, the little bear was shaking her hands at the sky and saying “give me a *xyz#%ing break!”

So all of this to say is this….

yeah. I agree with Anne.

It took me a month or so, but the best prayer I can burp out at this point is “okay.”

And once I said okay, my load started to lighten. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry, but this particular situation is not one that I can afford to pout about for very long.

Some new realities have fallen into my lap that are complicating my plans to get through this Sign Language interpreting certification program, but thus far there is no reason to do anything other than continue to enjoy and get as far as I can in the courses.If some fine tuning needs to happen, then so be it – I’ll deal with it when that time comes.

I’ll say this though – and again, I won’t bore you with the details, but adjusting this quickly from a “BLEEP YOU” cosmic conversation to a kicking my shoe in the dirt and mumbling “okay” prayer stance is completely unheard of for me…pun intended. I hold grudges like a toddler who is unwilling to release a blanket during nap time.

And. I have fallen in love with my studies about a language and culture that surrounds and protects the lives of those who have less than perfect hearing. Somehow, some way though, I didn’t wait even a day this time before sounding the alarm bells to get help and comfort when I had a wrench thrown into my plans. I scattered out a few “hey friends, I’m freaking out” messages and predictably there were those that said “huh?” and those that said “got your back girl. Bring it on. You’ve got this thing. Don’t stop now.”

And the best part? Some of these people are new friends. I survived the three-year mark of relocation and am meeting and entrusting some really, really great people in my new world. I’m encountering people who are flies in my soup too…but I don’t care. This is not my first trip on the pumpkin wagon and I know to be careful to trust only those who gain my confidence. I hope that I have the sense to pay that back.

I don’t know that I need to read up on what the other three prayers are that Anne Lamott mentions. Saying “okay God” is comfort enough for now….gotta start somewhere.

(The top photo is mine and is morning sun on the Mississippi River which is now a favorite water way, second only to the Ohio.)

A Great Quote, A Creek Photo & a Sentence or Two

“There but for the grace of God, go I.”

 

~ John Bradford

 

Photo by Kevin Lester, Ripley Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*random disclaimer: I don’t do heated political debate, and the above quote, the photo and these couple of thoughts are about missing my Mom. Merci mon ami!

If we could talk by phone or email, my mother and I would be hard at appreciating the contagious effect of Michelle Obama’s sense of joy.

Is joy more hard-earned for this generation of young kids than in the ’70 ‘s when I was playing hopscotch?

Who knows. Joy is important, that’s for sure.

Confession: I’d Rather Type Than Talk to You

Knock, knock? Anyone home?

I always feel bad when I’ve not been here posting or reading. When I take these breaks it always begins with busyness, but ends with pitiful return to the computer with the mindset that no one missed me in the sphere.

That’s the problem with the internet. It’s all so, so sphere-y.

For ultra introverts like myself, social media is a haven and a temptation. It is so, so much easier for me to sit here and converse with friends, foes or figments of real communication when it is by way of the word wide-spread.

I

have

complete

control.

No seriously. Yeah, yeah, bla, bla – the net’s a powerful and potentially dangerous place and invariably leads to lots of eye poking.

I’m pretty scrupulous though, even in my emails. Most of my grandmother’s were much more wild than I am. This makes it hard to go with Dr. Phil’s advise to never type anything that would be embarrassed to have my grandmother see. I use my youngest son as a yard stick though, and try to not to even go all sister potty mouth in email or chat functions.

He’s hitting fifth grade in a week though, so now that I think of it, I need to start typing with my little niece in mind.

For me, the slippery slope is that belief that the internet IS the communication I’m working toward, not a means to an end which is “real” connection.

Real connection, as in, just a few minutes ago I caught a friend from the little town we moved from a year ago. I’ve not seen her in person on any of the multiple trips back.

Sunrise on the Ohio River, Ripley Ohio

Her life is busy beyond busy, and when we visit – so is mine as we only have a few days to catch up with a lot of folks. One of the last times I visited I had an hour window of time and sent her a wake up text at 7:00 a.m. (this indicates that she is “real” friend).

She’d been up for an hour or some such and actually had to be somewhere for a photo shoot or some such (no joke, she’s kind of a celebrity), so we started planning for a visit this coming fall over labor day weekend.

All of this is to say, that this morning when we were typing our hellos we could have called – and “voice connected.”

Ha. I just made that up and it sounds so millennial when used as a verb.

definition (verb) Voice Connect: Expressing such euphemisms as “I miss you” and “you are SO bomb” by way of vocal cord vibrations rather than digital typenations that involve kissy faces made of punctuation marks.

I was so excited to catch her by “chat” and thought about searching out the phone and calling. It would have made her late for work probably, because we would have had a hard time hanging up. As an ultra extrovert though…she would have handled it fine and loved it, because her days are filled with conversation and noise so she can safely assume that we’ll pick back up as planned in September.

Me. Introvert? It would have woken up my son and I’d be on early toast duty. For me, It would have been emotionally hard to hear her voice since I (voluntarily) spend so much time in the quiet and know that chances are good that the only voices that I hear at length will be some or all of my family of men today.

I’m cool with that.

Really. It’s why I love the sphere! I can surf my heart away and connect by way of the net any time I want.

I need to be careful to not get too much virtual groove on, because it’s the means to connect, not the goal, rightO?

Forgiveness Friday: A Little Band of Angels

“ Then a voice came from Heaven.

‘I will show myself. And I will do it again!’ ”

(John 12: 24-25, 32-33)

Okay. It’s good that I went for a walk.

Here’s the bottom line of my past couple of weeks based on a 20 minute cruise around the block:

1: I’m Homesick

2: I’m Scared

As it should be, there is media frenzy in the United States about one of the many murders of a young black man that have happened in the past few weeks. I’m struggling to respond to both the frenzy and the brutal loss of life.

Over most of my last, say, ten Lents that I’ve observed, I’ve found myself needing to give up some or all forms of media that include the news. I’ve always been a hater of news that frightens.

I’m tempted to blame it on the press and my memories of war footage during dinner meals as a little girl. For now, I’m taking the easy way out and blaming it on my brother. That’s what siblings are for, right? Hopefully he’s not still angry that I cracked the code for his little 12” square safe when he was out playing in the yard back in 1970 whatever.

Nah. Can’t blame him for even the price of tea in China…he’s the bestOof the Pesto and he didn’t turn my t.v. set on when I watched too much news. I did. Right?

Last year I tried to give up sarcasm for Lent. It was a good idea – “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Unfortunately, I only lasted 48 hours.

HOMESICK

This year my plan was to give up Facebook, and do for others as I read about and pray for illustrator Maurice Sendak.

The Facebook thing has been fairly easy as I find myself bored and confused there most days of late, but gave into peeking and full out looking by last week as I was waiting to hear if a friend’s baby had been born in Ohio.

Done! Hudson made it to the world safe and sound so my temptation to peek is gone and done.

So, yes.

That’s the homesick part. This is my first Spring West of the Mississip’ and I’m giving myself a reprieve. Patiently waiting for baby photos is a good and healthy thing.

It’s funny isn’t it?

Homesickness, I’m realizing, is no different from grief. It’s all about: “Daaang, I’m miss that <enter place, time, person, food item, grandpa, special tree with the handmade swing…etc, and et cetera>

Yes?

I wish I could remember which friend or family member was checking on me a few months back about our transition from one state to next. I was trying to explain that what stinks about the level of change in our family in the past year is that moments of sadness pass and at my age, I can’t exactly remember which <enter place, time, person, food item, grandpa, special tree with the handmade swing…etc, and et cetera> I am missing.

Ha! Like just now! I just finished closing my eyes for a second to remember what I was going to type next and a crow went screaming by outside. As I started a nano doze I must have been thinking of – jeepers, who knows, but it jolted my eyes back open.

“Whoah!” My tired and adult mind says – “Wake up. You’ve been hearing crows for 45 years now. Bzzzzzzzdt. No times for a nap dearie. In just a bit you need to conquer the urban sprawl and get to the store.”

FEAR

So, my Forgiveness Friday post is this:

Grace, for me in the past 24 hours or so, arrived in my kitchen a few hours ago in the form of Eric Clapton’s version of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

It was 5:40 a.m. or some such and I’d just sent one son off to track practice (gotta’ run when it’s cool), and turned around to see the Jordan River, and this is what it looked like:

Though as a first world mom I am inordinately thankful for a dishwasher, the drama queen in me wanted to fall to the tile and weep.

I know. I’m not the only woman living near the Mississippi or Jordan rivers with lots of worry or weary on this fine spring morning. Dishes to need to be done and boys are being murdered on both sides of the planet as we speak. Scary stuff. I guess I was feeling like I needed to solve both problems by noon.

Enter our boy Clapton….I stood there at the sink for a second and tried to get my bearings and found my self jamming out to my sweet little BandOfAngels sink shelf for a couple of minutes. I went over to the window and looked at the sun that was just up.

I remembered that one of our boys has a new best friend in said house, took a deep breath, and went back to my Sticky Note plans for at least today.

If you too need a little Clampton to get you to noon…here’s a link: Swing Low.

Pax, Kate