This morning, I sat on my sofa, watching Milo (finally using a real name here. 'bout time.) cram wooden puzzle pieces and dvd cases into his yap with speed and fervor usually reserved for chasing the cat. He is a storm of joy and giggles and terrifying diaper changes, a tiny critter that embodies a profound truth: that even the dirt beneath our feet is worth squishing through our fingers and scarfing down when no one is looking.
That's life: squish, squish, squish.
Eat it up.
I was writing a handful of letters while on the sofa, something I used to be much better at (the letters, not the lounging, though I used to be better at that, I'd guess), but is still something I love to do. It helps me keep the far people near, and selfishly, floods the little corners of my soul with sweet things.
This time, I was writing Elaine. Also a real person. It's time to be real on the blog.
Elaine is one of my particular favorites in this life. She is a fierce athlete, loves great coffee (and makes a mean cup), has fabulous puppy-training skills, is half of a killer side-of-the-river dutch oven cooking team, and far beyond any of her talents or outer qualities, is a beautiful rock of honesty for me.
That last one is where we are going.
This is her letter. She will still get it, but it rang so true in my heart this morning that I wanted to share the meat of it, because this is a paramount struggle for me: to tell the truth. Lest you think I am crazy and a compulsive liar, allow me to clarify. It is one thing to respond honestly when you are asked a question. Most people have cultivated this ability by age twelve, and are scattered somewhere on the spectrum of none-of-your-business to painfully blunt. It is entirely another thing to seek the truth and endeavor to live it: what is truthful to your experience and what is the truth that you believe, and to do this while keeping that path from upturning the lives of the people around you like mole tunnels in the yard. A dogged battle.
I'm sure this will be a little embarrassing for her, but chillax, Elaine. It's for the greater good.
When I feel discouraged, or riled up and I'm not sure what to do with my emotions, I think to myself, 'Elaine would totally get this', and it pulls me forward like some invisible string of steel and sunshine. Your honesty is a bastion for me, to remind me that lying is indeed bad, just like they've always said, but also the truth often feels (and looks) worse, albeit temporarily. The truth always wins, and is always good, not because it is kind, or necessarily healthy, but because it is by its nature raw and elemental and right. And this is where we start, and we do not need to be afraid, because though it feels like the end, it is - mercifully - just the beginning of something new.
This is my reminder:
Do not be afraid.
It is only a beginning.
Today's blog soundtrack: Josh Garrels' new album, Home. Get it: iTunes Free Download CD