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.



  1. Beautiful.

    I look forward, each day. Oftentimes, I beat you here and have to check back later, which is okay...always something to look forward to. Thanks for DOING this.

  2. Oh, those moments, when the world just feels like too much to carry. We all have them, thank you for putting them to words.


  3. ..." the world just feels like too much to carry." Thank you for putting that into words, Anonymous. Once step at a time, one parcel at a time...
    By the way, I hope Chewy came home?

  4. Thanks for stopping by. It does this writer good to know that someone is out there. A few someones...When I say, "Dad, how are you doing?" he smiles and says, "Step by step."

    That's all we can do really.

    Yup, Chewy was home two minutes after he scurried off. His name should be Rocket, he runs so fast. Keeping us all smiling.

    ps. I know, some days I don't get on here til late in the day. Sorting out what I want to say...


  5. i hope you always remember that there are other loving embraces in which you fit (my hug might be farther away, but it still reaches out to you!) thank you for speaking about those darker and deeper thoughts which weigh us down so often,now go look for the lightness of being - of love. you may not be able to go make lamps for the children of kenya, but you can send your loving energy at least.