One moment

Twelve hands shot up when I asked if anyone wanted to share poetry today.  Then, while others in the class kept working on their writing, the poets who were ready to share met on the front carpet.  Stunning work.  Better than anything I cold write.  Ten-year-olds.

“N” wrote this:

You’ll never know that I’m a stranger in my mind,
that I always have a great big brave dog running through me,
and that my actual love is always just.

That from a girl who knew a hundred words in English last year.

“D” shared this, a memory from his life:

I remember when I first went kayaking with my friends. They were experienced kayakers, but not me. Their boats got so far ahead of me, they looked like colorful dots in the distance. I was scared, lost, and tired, but I knew I had to keep paddling. I did, I paddled.

“G,” a boy who barely did one ounce of math homework for me last year, wrote this.  Apparently, he has found his calling.

My secrets live deep inside my heart,
and they are locked up.
I will whisper them to you
if you want to hear them.

Then “I” asked me to read his poem.  He prefaced my reading by telling everyone “it was deep.”

My name is XXXXXXXX.
I love to ride my bike down the road with my friend.
and play in the pool in the summer.
My shadow self is sadder and more upset than my real self,
he punches his pillows and cries
while others play and laugh.
You don’t know that I to used to always be shy and dark.
You also do not know that I went with my dad
to the gun range and got to shoot a bb gun.
You will never know what I love or who I love.
You never know what happens in family.
My secrets stay close to my heart,
the secrets I have you never know until I trust you
You can find me in at the bottom of the earth,
each burn on your skin,
with every pain in your body.

The whole squad of fourth graders was silent, respectful, looking at their classmate with love.  I said, “We never know what is going on in the cave of someone’s heart, that’s why we must always try to be kind.”  Then the poet told his classmates that someone from school hurt him last year, said something to him that he will never forget. His eyes welled. His classmates listened. Then one of his classmates – a girl – stood and gave him a hug.  Then another.  And a third. Not half hugs.  Not one arm slung around his shoulder. Heart to heart hugs, arms completely circling this boy, holding on tight.

This is a moment that changed all of us.  The poet.  His friends.  Me.  His classroom teacher who was sitting at her desk, listening in with tears falling down her face.

This moment was a tribute to our school, all of his former teachers, his current teacher, the children who surround him, and the sweet kiss of poetry.  Ours is a school where this happens. Ours is a school that leads with the heart.

Inspired

Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into,’ from in-‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’

When I tell people I am teacher, I always add, “but not a real teacher.” Then I explain how my main function is to be the IB coordinator at our school, which I then explain as a position that helps teachers develop and work on curriculum and its components within  certain framework.

Truth be told, mostly, I organize.

This week I spent a lot of time organizing BLT meetings, field trips, document storage, district surveys, a behavior matrix, planners in Managebac, visitation from Kent State.  I typed a lot.  I emailed others a lot.  I creates and shared google docs a lot.

But today?  Today, my friends?  I was inspired as if I had been blown into with new energy.

Over the course of many years, the teachers at Fernway have developed inquiry units and all of the pieces and parts that go with those units. It’s a broad and engaging set of learning experiences and I’m very proud of the work we have done.

But a couple of weeks ago many of us attended the Service Learning workshop with Cathryn Berger Kaye and her ideas have been stewing around in my head.  Today was the day they decided to bound their way into our grade level meetings.

I was juiced up when the 2nd grade teams liked my idea to flip their next unit and lead with action.  From the get go, students are going to have to figure out how they can raise enough money to help support a micro-economy in a third world country.  Second grade!

Then in the third grade meeting, we discussed doing more “under direction” of students such that they might end up doing passion projects related to an element of culture.  Maybe someone will study the pastries of France.  Maybe someone will study the origins of Kente cloth.  Then we just kept rolling…maybe they could hold a mini-exhibition…maybe it could be tied to the international feast…maybe we will decide to take further action to help the hungry nearby while we feast…maybe instead of multi-layered rubric we will try a “one point” rubric to increase student reflection.

Maybe we could, maybe they will, if we tried – the whole day was filled with ideas that will build a better iteration of the good work we are already doing.

I was so excited at one point in the afternoon,  I noticed my hands were shaking and my speech was quickening.  I was that pumped by the shifts we were imagining together.  It was a full-on dorkfest of the charismatic kind.

All of this is to say that today felt like the kind of day I always dreamed about when I started teaching.  Creative, energetic, the best minds coming up with the best ideas.

Also today erased and stomped on the idea I have been floating around about moving to retirement.  All because I knew my gifts were being used and given a long leash.

That’s what happens when we are at our best.  The people around us give us the free range to riff and jam.  The people around us get caught in the current.  The team unifies around something it has never attempted before but knows it can do.

Once inspired, we conspire to aspire to new heights.

Thank you, second grade team.  Thank you, third grade team.  I am so grateful you let me be me and that, together, we made the big leaps we made today.

Wow. Yes. Oh yeah.

 

Burgers and Tater Tots

Sarah, my niece, is heading off to St. Louis on Wednesday to begin her first real job.  John, my nephew, is a senior at St. Ed’s.  Their parents are in London with Grace, their sister, who is studying abroad.  I told Sarah and John I would take them out for dinner while the others were traveling and, boy, am I glad I did.

It was one of the best conversations I have had in many years.  There, at Wahlburgers, in kitty-corner to Jack’s Casino, we talked and talked and talked. About so many topics.  Taking a knee. Political parties and the purpose of government.  The consciousness one needs in this diverse world.  What it is like to pigeon-holed.  Sexual orientation. College choices.  Abortion.  Gubernatorial races.  Grant funding.  Apprenticeships. Unintended and intended stereotyping.  Calculus.  Hockey players.

These were my two favorite sentences of the night.  When we were talking about putting and being put into boxes, Sarah said (and I am paraphrasing), “Our brains want to do that. They are programmed to look for patterns.  But what needs to kick in is the soul.  That part of you that asks you to see beyond the pattern.”

Later John said, “My morals matter more than my political views.”

God, I love these kids.  And now, not because they are related to me, but because of who they have grown to be, with their own well-developed thoughts and personalities.  They are lovely, loving, aware and committed young people. Easy to admire.

We were talking about homophobia at some schools and how it is hard to be clumped into a group of people who behave that way.  And for the first time in my life, I explicitly said these words to Sarah and John, “As a gay person, I spent so many years worried about what people thought of me. ” I started to tear up as I continued, “And I grieve those years that I wasted.”  John nodded, and Sarah gave me that look – like she knew we had just crossed an edge we had never wandered before.

What I really wanted to say, but could not because I would have lost it right there in that burger joint, was, “And I grieve the years I missed with you, even afraid of what you would think.”  Thank God we have found our way back to each other.

This talk tonight made me realize that I want to do this kind of thing more frequently.  I have been thinking for years that I wanted to have some kind of Supper Club.

It would work this way.  I would post the place on Facebook and whoever could come would come.  I’m thinking a medium priced place, not typical  (because honestly, as someone who lives alone, I want to go to more places downtown).  The 1st and 15th of every month so the dates would be known.  Always at 6.  We would probably cap the number at 6 per dinner.

We would gather – everyone would know me, but many would not know each other – and we would talk about a question that that’s month’s host would pick.  Possible questions might be:  What one decision did you make that shifted your life in an unexpected direction?  Or, what trip made the largest impact on your life?  Or, when did you feel a breach in your civil rights?  The host job would float around and be given after the location was posted.

I want to do this because a) life is short and we might as well eat at good places, b) I want to know the layers beneath the layers, c) I think people are craving this kind of thing, d) tonight’s dinner with Sarah and John completely energized me and gave me hope, e) why not?

Give me some feedback – if you’d be in, let me know.

I am so thankful to know Sarah and John in this new way, as fellow journeymen in life.  Helen and Grace too.  I am so grateful to have had a chance to talk as we did tonight, person to person, idea to idea, feeling to feeling, fear to fear.

I want to have this happen every time one of them is in town.  Every single time until they are middle aged and I am old, old, old.  Maybe, the Supper Club will still be going on and they can be my guests.  Until then, thank you, Sarah and John.  I am so proud to be your aunt.  I am happy you are on this planet, thinking and feeling what you think and feel.

 

 

 

 

Greeting

Every month, the service jobs in our church shift to a new group of volunteers.  September is my group’s month and I requested to greet today, my parents’ anniversary.  I hate greeting, truth told.  It’s a form of punishment for extreme introverts like me.  You have to smile at everyone, make extended eye contact, give and receive hugs (sometimes unexpected).  You can smell people’s breakfast breath, they get so close.  You can smell whether or not their suits have been hanging in a musky closet.

Today, I arrived at 10:40 and plastered myself against the wall in the far corridor (it’s way worse if you take the main corridor to the sanctuary).  Then I did my job, trying to summon my mother, now ten years gone.  Mom loved greeting.  To me, it seemed like she did it every week.  When images of her float through my mind, I always see her dressed in a red and black plaid Liz Claiborne outfit.  Stockings, black low heels. Makeup, jewelry, a big smile shining off her face.  In the Hall of Fame of Greeters, my mom would have her own commemorative bust.  She was that good.

I tried, I sweated my way through it.  I did it for her.  And dad too, a steadfast servant at Southminster Church.  Today would have been their 57th anniversary.

I snuck into service a tad late.  And from the transept I could see the rest of the sanctuary facing the front of the church.  One woman, with dementia, cleaning her nose with her finger.  One man in a wheelchair.  One man, nearly 100, curved over the hymnal, his back unable to straighten.  One woman, just a bit older than me, facing early onset Alzheimer’s.  She kept looking at me, because – I suspect – I have been to her church, I am a lesbian like her and her partner.  I returned every gaze as if to tell her that she was here with us, in a new church to her, and she was welcome.  She will always be welcome. I saw grandparents hugging their grandchildren.  I saw a man who brought his new girlfriend.  I saw a woman raise her hands in praise.

The offering song was a song whose lyrics I penned.  Our Music Director wrote the music.  It’s long and mystical and I always get a bit nervous when it is played.  But I watched the congregation settle into it and I watched my minister, Lois, nod in affirmation when it was done.  For most of the hymn, I buried my head in my hands and listened to what a younger me was trying to tell me on this day.  My own words told me to be loving, quiet, patient, courageous.

After the hymn, several people from across the crowd and in the choir loft were trying to catch my eye, acknowledge their appreciation for my poem.

Then, in that moment, I felt like I was greeting the church – and by that I mean seeing them and being seen.  The word “greet” comes from the old German word meaning “salute.”  An act of honoring.

And I knew that standing at the door and shaking hands is not the way I contribute to my church.  I’m not my mother, but I have within me her strong current of service.  I am not my father, who could balance the books and do long term strategic planning with his gifts.  I can serve by seeing people, accepting what they bring to altar and by writing (and sometimes speaking) words that tread on that sweet long arc to justice.

That’s what mom and dad were doing too, in their own ways, reaching out for justice with love, and planning ahead for justice with a calculator and a spreadsheet.

God bless, Sally Cowan and Bruce Reinhold. God bless their marriage.  God bless their unbending commitment to doing good in the word.  Happy anniversary, mom and dad.  I love you.

 

 

 

 

International Day of Peace

You know that notion that peace begins with me?  That we cannot start to create a peaceful world without the actions we take as individuals?

Well, today  I saw three things that made me take this idea in a new direction.  I am kind, I hope, more days than not. I have done things to create peace with my actions, like the 30 years of heading up mediation at Fernway School, or speaking to the Presbytery of the Western Reserve during a critical vote. I hold doors open every single time.  I let people pass in front of me when exiting  space, men, women, child.  It does not matter.  I defer.

Yes, I know I can be untempered and raging.  I know I lose my shit and I can be overbearing and outspoken.  I can snap at people. But best I can, I know it and apologize.

I used to want people to think of me as smart but now I want them to perceive me as kind because it matters more.  Way more.

This notion of being peaceful by showing personal acts of peace, though, has shifted in the last ten hours.  I saw one woman – a beautiful middle aged, well-dressed woman – at East Coast Custard get a triple scoop of vanilla then go eat it in her car.  Then she came back in and get another triple scoop and eat it in her car.  I wanted to say, “C’mon in, honey. Come sit right here beside me and have six scoops of custard.  Its okay. No hiding , no judgment.”

Then, just minutes later, I saw an older woman, maybe 70, walking down Mayfield Road all dolled up.  Short skirt, lots of rouge, purple in her hair, spiky glasses.  It would have looked great, or more great, if she were nineteen, but she wasn’t nineteen. And I wanted to say, “Come here, sweet cheeks.  Now who has you thinking you need to dress that way?  A man?  Our culture? Something you saw in a magazine? It’s okay to be you without all of this jazzing up.”

Now, before I go seeming all preachy, I ached for these two – whatever was making them shield and decorate. I am a liberal though and would never deny each the right to do and dress as she choses. It just seemed heartbreaking.

Then, just now, I was watching  The second season of Tig Motaro’s “One Mississippi” and there was a flash-forward scene of Tig with Kate, holding hands in a nursing home when they were much much older.

That, to me, would be a perfect love. Sitting next to my love into old old age. Her protecting everything that is sacred to me and me doing the same.  Smiling, every day, just because we were together.

And, boom, this idea of “peace beginning with me” sunk down a deeper layer.  It’s good to hold doors and say thank you.  It’s good to ask a waiter, “May I please have the…: instead of saying, “I’m gonna do…” All of those pleasantries are crucial for a generous society.

And “peace beginning with me” is so much more than that.  Peace means acceptance of self.

It means saying I am a heady, anxious driven woman.  I am fat and yet I am grateful for this body.  I swear too much and often at the wrong time. I am proud. I am beautiful. I am filled with a mercurial hope that will not release me. I am young. I am failing. I have contributed my best at Fernway School.  I have contributed my worst at Fernway School.  I wasted too many years.  I am bold and confident. I am loud. I am too quick sometimes and magnificently quick other times.  I am a math wiz, I don’t know where Estonia is.  I don’t fit in an airplane seat without a seatbelt extender. I am the best conversationalist on a long trip.  I say too much. I say nothing at all.  I keep pushing against a system that will not change. I am a great kisser. I am afraid of dying.

Peace is saying all of those things.  Knowing all of those things.  And accepting them.  Fully. Not with resignation or placation, but as truth.  The same way I accept that there are five toes on each foot, and a breastbone above my heart.

So, what about that? What if today we could welcome peace of self? Imagine how hard our brains have been working fielding troops and munitions in the war we rage against our self-perceived faults. Put down the weapons.  Here is an olive branch.  Go now, right now. Wrap it around your tired head like a crown.

 

Happy New Year

At 3:45 this afternoon, I texted a friend and asked 1) Dinner? 2) Columbus? 3) Los Gauchos? And she said sure! Now I know most people who live in Cleveland don’t drive to Columbus for dinner,  but Tia and I did.  It was the very best way to start a new year.

For a Presbyterian, I really love the High Holy Days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. I know that this day is to be spent in the synagogue, celebrated with the call of the Shofar and by eating sweet apples dipped in honey.

I know you’ll have to suspend judgement, but I would call the car a temple of sorts, where we reconnected and spoke true truths – the ones beneath the crust.  Work, bodies, broken promises, therapy, relationships, new iterations of understanding.  It took me a long time to really learn how to pray, saying honest words to God about what matters most.  That’s what the trip to Columbus was for me – that’s what any good conversation is.  I know it’s not your typical sacred text, but the trip down was sacred nonetheless.

Then, yes, I know that a Mexican torta made with al pastor is not exactly an apple dipped in honey, but, with that slice of pineapple and a bottle of Mexican Coke, is a sweet meal.  A special meal, something that happens rarely and means a lot.

The shofar? Well, the whole way back, we listened to music.  My friend and I share a love for the same genre, lyrics-driven alternative folk (Joshua James, The Pines, Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, David Gray).  Two hours of music, uninterrupted by the words she and I needed the whole way down.

And, to do this – start the new year – with an act of invitation, friendship and adventure? Well, I hope that signals the tone of the coming twelve months.  I know in the next ten days, I will think about my place, my mistakes, and how I can rectify the ways I put distance between me and what God intends for me.   I know I will beg to be included in the book of life as I do every year.

I hope that, this evening, God noticed the way I entered this period of reflection.  Asking for companionship, doing something unusual, and listening to invocation and intercessions heard in word and song.  I mean business this Rosh Hashanah.  I’m taking it seriously.  You get that God, or should I say, G-d?  I hope so.

 

 

Intervention

Well, I went from the best professional development to the worst in four short days. At the PBIS training, when I realized the pace would be slow and the content unclear, I paid attention but also started grabbing lines from the facilitators that might form a poem.  Here’s what I came up with:

Everyone has a jagged profile. No food, no backpack, some skin that will never see sunlight. We are gambling with heaven, so we must receive the message. Find assets, create success.

Collect any ticket you find. We have an obligation to listen and give every voice a voice. Place all of your expectations, all of your restraint, in one place. There are no green kids, no red kids, only a village.  

What are your strengths? Write them down. Do it now, before the timer chimes.

Always time to pray

I had a crazy day.  Taught three classes back to back, then practice and lunch with the mediators, then Common Planning Time with the kindergarten team.  From there I zoomed to a coordinator meeting with my PYP colleagues.  We talked about all of our responsibilities and, by the end of the meeting, I was – honestly – completely overwhelmed. And I am not someone who gets that way easily.  I work efficiently and productively; I can keep all the plates spinning.

But I don’t actually know how I will get pacing guides done with teams, schedule field trips, analyze all of the units with rubrics, make curricular changes, upload everything to Managebac, teach classes, organize Heinen’s, schedule the Kent Sate visitors, then the JCU students. And, and, and…I really don’t know that I have the time and talents to do all of this well.

That may be the first time I have ever said that about anything I have ever attempted at Fernway School.

The expectations exceed even the most capable among us, and, trust me, my coordinator colleagues are supremely talented and supportive. Massively skilled and motivated to do their best.

After that meeting, I ran through the store grabbing dinner then lurched into my seat at a church meeting by 7. We start every meeting with Joys and Concerns.  I thought about saying something, then I backed out.  Finally, being jabbed by true need, I eeked out this. “It is only September 18th, we have been in school for a month.  I am completely overwhelmed and I do not see the load lessening at all, ever.” I took a breath, and starting tearing up, adding, “And I am doing all of this without any social outlets, too exhausted for anything at the end of the day.  I am tired and lonely and I need your prayers.”

“And I need your prayers.”

It’s so simple to say that. And so hard.  We save our public prayers for illnesses and lost jobs and strange spots on our feet.  We ask for prayers after death, before weddings, when facing an unknown.

But I turned to these church friends and told them I am weary.  That’s it.  A small truth, nothing climatic. I asked that they hold me in the light.  That they think of me, a time or two, and send me some energy.  And I know they will in whatever way they see fit.

Do not be afraid to tell these small truths.  Do not be afraid to say you need help.  We are all we have, after all.  Thank you Forest Hill peeps.  You know I love being with you.

Circles

There were 500 images to see this afternoon at the annual Art Museum chalkfest, but once I found the section with circles I barely moved from the zone.  I ignored 3/4th of the paths.  I just wanted these wobbly concentric images. I wanted them all.  If I could have, I would have laid down on the sidewalk and tattooed my black shirt with them.  I would have asked an artist to draw one on my face. I would have swallowed them like sweetarts.  Like pizzas, like pie.

Is is womb? Is it sun? Is it a hole? It is pattern?  Finite yet unfinished? Is it unity?  Wholeness?  Layers of personae? An egg? An onion? I do not know.

I am curious if this image arrives and speaks to me when I am most laden and low.  I wonder if it pulls me in, hypnotizes me with its simple integrity.

It’s funny how fickle and jagged my days have been.  Yesterday, flying high.  Today, morose and woolly.  I prayed in church.  I went to the sanctuary of Cinemark Valleyview.  But today the circles saved me.

I think it may be because the circle contains both the falling and the rising, the turn of events and the recovery.  The circle is like breath, it is like the beat that leaves and returns to the heart. It is season, it is plate, it is the moon shining back the best and worst in us, indiscriminately with light.

Action figures

One of the first things Cathryn Berger Kaye had us do was to stand up and, on the count of 3, make an action figure pose.  I raised my right arm like Tommie Smith did in the 1968 Olympics.   That’s what most of us chose to do – we powered our limbs up, or forward.  We leaned into the space around us.

By the end of the day, that is exactly how I felt.  Like I wanted to lift kids up, I wanted to move  them forward into meaningful action, I wanted to lean into hope.  It was an extraordinary day.

100 years olds have lived through a remarkable time in history.  They have seen the world before planes were invented and now they are reading about unmanned missions directed to distant planets.  They have moved from coal to solar powered energy.

The same is true for the field of education in my lifetime.  We have gone from workbooks and getting the correct answer in the limited given space to creating ways for students be purposefully engaged in shaping the world.  We have moved from gaining power and starting “life” after graduation to asking that students mold and create their lives at the very earliest age.   Teaching is not about delivering wisdom; it is about stirring and unleashing power.

Thank God these were the 35 years of my career.  Thank God I have had a chance to be part of this transformation. It makes me wish I were 40, with the ballast and confidence needed,  and 15 more years to make a difference.  I don’t have that time, but I am able to peek at what is coming and it’s revolutionary.

Another inspirational part of the day was simply being in the presence of a woman who thoroughly loves what she does and is unrelentingly excited to give it all away.  Sure, she earns a living doing what she does, and she has earned a status that most of us will never achieve, but she wears a cloak of generosity, humility and humor.  It’s almost as if she completely knows why she was put on the planet and she is going to enjoy every single minute of making the world a better place.  There was no complacency.  There was no I-have-done-this-talk-a-hundred times (though I am sure she has).  She was a host and she wanted us to leave sated and curious about our next meal.

There is something distinctly magnificent in that – seeing someone so gracefully, and agelessly, living into her gift and mission.  Megan said she wanted to be Cathryn’s new best friend, and I relied, “Line up, sister.”  If I had a wish, it would be that Cathryn would be my accountability partner.  Someone who asked me every few weeks, “What are you doing that is making a difference?” Followed up with, “And are you having fun?”

One of the things CBK starts her workshops with is the sharing and trading of quotes.  She has them printed on the back of her business cards.  The one I ended up with today was from Will Rogers: Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. True dat.

Today, I am thinking of one of the most motivating quotes I have read, from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I have met just a few people in my life who seem to know and live into this.  Today, I met another.  Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your time and talents.  Amazing.

Capture the beauty

I spent some time after school with A, working on taking and editing photos.  I hope I convinced him buy a Lumix bridge camera after using mine for a bit. I love the way it “walks the image right up to you,” as my friend said.  I liked passing on information to A.  He has a great eye, and he’s curious.  That’s the best combination.

This is my favorite of the photos he took.  Just a guy watering his lawn.  A fall tree changing in the background.

One of my Facebook friends put up a challenge to switch your perspective and simply look up.  Dozens of people commented on her post with images of skylights and chandeliers and ceilings.

I like the challenge of getting closer.  Just now, I studied the grain of my coffee table, a piece of furniture that’s been in my house for twenty years.  Earlier, it was the hydrangea.  Not the whole bush, just one flower –  dappled with pinks and blushes and April greens.  So damn beautiful, this ordinary flower on an ordinary bush in an ordinary yard in an ordinary town. So amazing.

Look close, friends.  Pass on what you know to people who want to learn.

How else will see beauty, now, and for years to come?

 

I take pictures like these

…because I don’t want you to see the pounds of fat that puff out around my neck.  Nor do I want you do see my big boobs, the ones that hang like full beetle catcher bags.  Or my stomach that bulges out from edge to edge.

So you see this over and over – half of my face, the good half.  I told my mother I had a perfect nose when I was ten. That’s a story I’m sticking with.

At counseling tonight, we talked about many things. One of the goals I have is to not eat after dinner.  I know for some of you, that is a weird sentence.  Isn’t dinner the last meal?  Who eats after dinner?  I do, every single night.

I’ve been charged with doing something else instead of coating my loneliness and feelings with food.  I am listening to music, Passenger (my favorite artist), and writing.  It will take two loves to counterbalance my ardent affection for food.

I am so thankful for D, who will guide me through the next phase of my life.  I am so thankful for her direct compassion.  She said, “Together we will figure out how to make you as responsible to your own wellness as you are to school, or church, or your house.”

I am thankful for Les, who years ago said that we keep giving ourselves chances to solve the biggest challenges in our lives.  That’s what I am faced with now: another chance to solve this challenge.

I cried.  God, I cried, tonight about so many things. What I have lost, what I may lose, how I feel about myself, what I long to experience.

When D asked me what I did, years ago, to injure myself (which resulted in a massive weight loss), I told her about when I broke my arm and could not work for 5 months, could not drive for 5 months, did not have working nerves for 8 months.  So many of you helped then – Lorene, Melanie, Sherry, Sheri, Dawn.  I am still thankful to this day.

I cried thinking about how my exploded bones found their way back to each other.  I cried thinking about how every night, when we lay down our bodies, white blood cells are zooming to their targets – healing, healing, healing – a mantra they never abandon.

I think bodies long to be healthy. Spirits long to be whole. Becoming healthy will not be hard if I keep remembering that my body is here to serve me.  My body is aching to move through the world with grace.

There are hurricanes and mud slides, fires raging all over the west.  There are refugees seeking sanctuary. There are far bigger things for me to weigh in on than my weight.  But, to me, right now, I’m in a natural disaster and I need to muster my own Red Cross, I need to cast out my own life boat. I may do some of that here – working it out own the page.  Thanks for permitting my indulgence.

Onward. Be brave.