Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Meet Them At The Door Laughing
This morning Chewy ran into the neighbor's yard to chase a squirrel and didn't come when I called. The sky was gray. It started to rain. Claire and I went to the bus stop where the boys shoot each other with sticks and throw pine cone grenades. I knew she didn't want to go to school. I didn't want to send her. I felt like crying.
"I want to travel," she said, "and walk by the river with Chewy."
Back at the house, I sat on the sofa and cried.
"Michael, I don't know what to do! Where do I fit?"
"Right here," he said, putting his arms around me.
"I feel like a lost teenager, a slacker, a loser, a big crybaby! I'm a grown-up, for God's sake. Shouldn't I know what I'm doing?"
"You have to remember, honey, this stuff isn't always easy."
This made me cry more, that deep heaving cry that says, give it up already, dammit! I wasn't even sure what I was crying about so I gave him a whole list: kids, work, dogs, money, old parents, the world.
"I saw a show the other night," I said, "CNN Heroes. All these people, doing remarkable things against the odds. A man making lamps for children in Kenya. And the tiny woman who runs a home for women and girls who've been sex slaves, girls Claire's age! She won the award. She got up and quietly said, 'Namaste'. She asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine a girl they love, a daughter. Then she said, 'We must do something. We must stand up!' We should be doing something!" I said.
I cried for a half-hour straight. Then Michael went to work and I went upstairs to sift through a box of papers. When I found this poem, I cried some more.
This being alive/This being human...
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.