Photo: Like it never even happened.
It’s the Friday after and the offending limb is in my yard in little pieces. Drawing and quartering comes to mind, which is a gruesome image but that’s what my mind conjures. My yard is a mess, the destruction clear and undeniable. It’ll remain this way until the snow melts and we can move around again.
My neighbor is the one who performed the work. After putting us up for the night and feeding us breakfast on Tuesday morning, my neighbor suited up for the deep cold of the sunny morning, got his chainsaw, and got to work. He’s delighted by the idea of the big spring bonfire we usually have in his yard, all of these fallen limbs reduced to ash for the benefit of all of our gardens. He helped the Comcast guy untangle the old cable line, then he got up on a ladder and put that board back. He did it all without any help; my husband was at work and he wouldn’t let me help.
As I said on Wednesday, I got two pieces of wisdom from friends this week as different responses to my same lamentation. After my distressed Facebook post about the tree, my friend called me up to offer a her warm house and some “bunny therapy”: she has the most beautiful, softest little bunnies on the planet. She asked me how I was holding up, knowing full well the rough go we’ve had these last few months. I said:
“God clearly wants me to learn some lesson. Lord, I hope I learn it soon.”
She laughed. “Humility! Maybe it’s that!” She was joking, though I nodded to myself. Maybe I do need to be humbled a bit.
“I am serving as best I can!” I said. “I guess I could do more.” (I don’t really think I can do any more. All my time is spent in service to something. Any more and this house of cards is going to fall down.)
We laughed for a moment, but then my friend got serious. “Maybe God just wants you to know how many people love you.”
That, perhaps, was the humbling lesson God wanted me to learn. When true words are spoken, they hit hard. For the past few months, all we’ve received is love and help from the people in our lives, this “found family” that surrounds us here. Church folk, school folk, Boy Scouts folk, our exceptional neighbors… I don’t even know how it happened, but somehow we’ve become connected with a wonderful group of people, people who love us. If my neighbors hadn’t snapped us up, someone else would have. My babies would have been warm and fed and clean on a winter’s night no matter what.
My Quiet Thoughts today are about the relief that love offers, the safety net that comes with community, and the good, hard work of weaving that community net. I’m an introvert. Being social is exhausting. But people make our life rich… even New Englanders!
Haha, “even” New Englanders.
On the day of the Super Bowl, I put up a nasty little post about New England and New England football and New Englanders on my Facebook. It went something along the lines of “Let’s get this over with so I can go kick the nearest New Englander.” The husband of a dear friend of mine had the nerve to quip back, “Kick yourself New Englander, with your New Englander family in your New Englander house.”
I was aghast. “I am not, and will never ever be, a New Englander. Geography isn’t everything.”
I write all this because it was the first time anyone from New England has actually pointed a finger in my direction and named me the same. It’s my understanding that such a thing doesn’t happen. It takes generations to belong to this place. And maybe that’s still the case. I’m still a Marylander in New England and probably always will be. But this week, I feel fully embraced. I feel belonging in a way I never have. Embraced, delivered, loved. Community matters. It takes time to build, with patience and grace. Once you have it, Lordy, it’s the strongest material there is.
I hope that’s the lesson God wants me to learn. “You belong here. Space has been made for you here. Stop denying what you have and what you know.” If that’s the case, I swear I’ve learned it. Please, let me keep heat and power for the rest of the winter!
It is a sunny Friday afternoon here in Massachusetts. Warmer than most of the other days this week, though snow is in the forecast for tomorrow morning and Sunday night. That’s mighty inconvenient, because this weekend is Kinkling weekend. I’m waiting for the 5 o’clock forecast before I officially decide to make this a Sunday-only affair, which would suck, but is probably necessary. Better to have one great and crazy day than to move to next week or not at all. I don’t think Grandy did two days of kinklings anyway. I think it was one and done!
Fridays are for wishes. Breathe into the change between this week and next. Take the time to leave the done and the undone, pivoting to the next set of time. Fridays are for wishes because transitions are important. Tell the universe what it is that you want and need, then help make those things manifest in the next week. On this Friday, I wish for you a bit of time in community: with a favorite friend, or a cherished group, or at your favorite little shop or cafe. You don’t have to be in service, you just have to be out and about with people you care about in the place where you live. Bonus points if you support a small business while you’re at it. I wish you some reading. Any book will do, but do be sure to keep your heart and mind open to a little truth and wisdom on the pages. I wish you something to sip and savor: an exquisite broth perhaps, or a well-produced wine. I’m really into blended Italian reds lately. It doesn’t have to be alcohol. My new favorite thing is split pea soup. Whatever feeds your soul, have some and sit with it this weekend. I wish you time in silence, but also time with music. Clear your head of thought and fill it first with a bit of nothing and then second with a bit of something that stirs or soothes. I wish you two jokes: one that makes you roll your eyes and another that makes you double over with laughter. Go find a good dad joke to snicker at. My husband is full of them. Finally, I wish you a held hand, or a kiss on the cheek, or a look from across the room meant only for you. One little bit of intimacy. A loving moment, created and gone in an instant, yet powerful and echoing. You can do it.
You are loved. I write that every week because it’s a truth that’s sometimes hard to remember. I write it because I know it about myself, even when I am feeling my loneliest or my most homesick. I know that I’m loved. I hope that you know you’re loved, Dear Reader. If you don’t, here is another reminder: you are loved. Here, there, near, far, known, unknown. Your presence in this world matters. Your life and story matter. There is someone on this planet thinking of you right at this very moment. Knowing this, you have few other choices than to continue to be your beautiful self. Choose yourself. Choose to be your most beautiful. Choose to shine your very brightest. Choose to honor the light of the others around you. Together, we hold back the darkness.
I will see you Monday, God willing and disasters notwithstanding. Until then, take care.