Friday, April 27, 2012

mamaw's derby pie.

when walking around the bart station with a homemade pie, it's hard for people not to smile. they stare, too, but they mostly smile. it seems that a young woman carrying a derby pie on a late thursday afternoon invites strangers to sit nearer and ask questions: where are you going? fresh pie, my favorite... who are the lucky recipients? the kids across from me who are eating chips ahoy original chocolate chip cookies are jealous- they haven't had an unprocessed sweet treat in years. in fact, they report they've never had a slice of homemade pie.

and it made me think about how the art of using my hands in the kitchen has been suspended in practice as of late. what a shame. there is so much joy, so much conversation, that comes from the beauty of baking... sweet or savory, it doesn't matter. creaming butter and sugar and adding bourbon and walnuts and chocolate chips to create someone else's mamaw's derby pie... it is so worth it, even if it doesn't turn out just "right." because it meant i received one-more-than-normal smile.

sometimes i crave this stranger's smile as it quickly reminds me of human existence.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

hey ma.

a haiku for my mother, on her fiftyfifth birthday:

your wisdom and strength
reveal themselves in your eyes,
love is in your touch.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

the quest for love.

i went on a hunt this week to determine what love means. when things aren’t linear or black and white for me, or if i don’t understand something or it gives me anxiety, i externally process and ask lots of people what they think about a topic. this week it was love.

i thought the questions i asked were simple: what did it look like when you fell in love? what does it mean for you to love? how did you know you first loved your person?

some responses i received:
it was a feeling in the beginning but now it just is.
love is getting up in the middle of the night when you're warm in your bed to get your partner a cup of cold water.
i knew i loved her because when we weren’t together, i wanted to be with her.
why don’t you try reading c. s. lewis’ the four loves?
a co-worker said, “i heard first corinthians has a good list.”
a better question is not whether you love your person, but whether you respect your person.
loving is a choice.
bask in this shit, because new love is so epic and it has an expiration date.
dude, you're over thinking this.
i missed him when we weren't together.
i just knew.

you should know that only some of these answers were satisfying. ultimately i was looking for a prescription and no one could offer me that. it was highly disappointing.

but a dear friend who knows me so well wrote this: emily, this isn't a question of loving your person, this is about receiving love and allowing yourself to [sit in your anxiety and drama and] be loved.

i re-read her words a few times. i took a deep breath and was able to let go of the responses i'd collected from the week. she was right; my quest for love hasn't actually been about my love for another. instead, this is about whether or not i'll allow myself to be loved by another... to work hard enough to believe that i am lovable. will i take this risk, stop asking what you think, listen to myself and swim face to the sky?

i can. and i will.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

last night i had dinner with my friend rusty.

i hope when i'm eighty i'm as vibrant and beautiful as she. we found ourselves sharing ideas about love and grace, and the concept of time as my friend. i kid myself as i write 'sharing ideas'-- rusty amused me and listened to my young thoughts, rambling on about redemption and life coming full circle. of course i listened intently and held on to her every word; as she spoke i could imagine Wisdom coming through the lines in her face, her crooked little fingers and white hair. God lives in rusty.

i hope when i'm eighty i'll have read more poetry and slowed down enough to memorize some. i'd like to be able to sit with a person and recite one as it relates to the conversation at hand. rusty shared with me this poem about grace... it was so fitting.

As swimmers dare to swim face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to freefall and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.
-Denise Levertov

i hope when i'm eighty i have house guests and visitors and the ability to parallel park in the city and a desire to break bread with someone one third my age. i hope i still travel and i hope i still vote. i hope i have faith as beautiful as rusty's and i hope God still lives in me. i hope.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

a corrective emotional experience.

this weekend i am going to have what we in the therapy world refer to as a corrective emotional experience.

last year at this time i attended (and coordinated!) a wedding. i remember asking lisa to meet me in the bathroom for a pep talk; i cried and whined and didn't want to do what i needed to do but she was a gem and probably said something great and recommended i lean on my liquid courage. after the wedding ended, i endured the longest and most tearful drive back to san francisco. hope tortured my heart and anxiety consumed my mind. i didn't want to go home. the next few days were a blur filled with more disappointment, but some of the most grace-filled words exited my mouth and forgiveness was the only response i knew. a big God surrounded me, as well as a strong group of cheerleaders.

this year i will attend another wedding. i won't coordinate or have any responsibility except to listen to the bestman practice his speech and tell him how dashing he looks in that tux. [i will be a great plus one.] i won't be preparing to end things with someone, but rather, i'll be excited to continue on with this really good thing that's happening. there will be no long drive home, just a quick flight back to san francisco where i'll be thrilled to walk through my front door. i probably won't shed a single tear unless it's representing joy. that same big God and cheerleaders are with me.

the fact that this weekend aligns with the easter holiday encourages me; this story has come full circle and demonstrates redemption. never, not once, did i imagine this would be my current situation. i'm so grateful for the way things are unfolding, and especially for what i did not know i even needed. this is good.