It’s true, I talk too much. I’s a burden but one I have chosen to bear. My teachers always noted this on my report cards, “Cheryl likes to talk,” along with notes on my poor spelling, and uncommon citizenship. I was nice but I would make a terrible secretary. Thank God my parents choose not to curb my voice. I was definitely an anomaly in my quiet family. I used to think I was adopted but I have my Dad’s eyes and my Mom’s temperament. I still talk too much but I have learned to project my voice. I blog.
What is the point of blogging? I’ve been thinking about this lately. Do I keep going? Has my voice become chatter in a crowded room? Does my writing have relevance? Or has this become a form of cheap therapy?
Seth Godin says, “Next year is almost here. And doing what you did this year probably isn’t going to be sufficient.”
Godin explains that we now have more to contribute and this is worth sharing. He calls it our “important work.” When I translate an experience into story it is my desire to create some sort of engagement with the reader. Maybe you’ll connect with me on a deeper level or disagree with my interpretation of a notable experience altogether. The point being you will react to my narrative and it will somehow engage you to feel, move, respond in a way that was previously unexplored.
“Our speech makes us conscious of the transcendence that characterizes human experience,” Karen Armstrong.
Have you ever experienced driving while tired? When you literally try to shake yourself awake? I hear that cars are now programed to detect your level of alertness. If the car thinks you are falling asleep it triggers all sorts of warnings. An alarm sounds and the dashboard flashes suggestions like stop for coffee, eat, time to take a break. Is that incredible?
Lately I’ve been doing the same thing trying to shake off a mild sort of depression. How come my car has failed to detect the signs? There must be some sort of connection on an energetic level? I call it weary and woe. I do notice when I allow myself to embrace this space it is unusually fruitful, devoid of common distractions, and frivolity. Like wine when not overindulged.
Doing a final door check before we leave for the lake I let my eyes linger on the Christmas decorations sprinkled about the house. I’ll have to put them all away once we return but for now they remain centennials to our Christmas celebration. I know there is spiritual significance in remaining unattached to things but I do love this house. In layer upon layer my fondest memories are bound up in these rooms and I am beholden.
If I let my focus fade I can almost see my children sitting around the tree, wrapping paper scattered about the room, boxes and bows shoved to the side. But it is the faces that intrigue me. Expressions of gratitude, love, and rapport. This is Christmas. Just as quickly the ordered room comes back into focus and I realize they are no longer here. They have moved back into their own lives and I feel a tug on my heart as I turn off the light.
“In order to be known to another, we must take the risk of loving that person, and this includes the real possibility of rejection and the even more painful prospect for heart-break if the beloved is lost to us.” Cynthia Bourgealult
Walking up the the creche nestled in the bookcase I can’t help but think about the shepherds, the magi, and the Herods of the world. You know the ones I’m talking about? The people who come into our lives as witnesses, who encourage, and draw us towards the good. The ones who recognize our value and leave us with precious opportunities to spice up our life. But always there are the ones who live in a place of fear and resentment, who seem to defile our very existence, leaving us wounded and displaced. These people are the real challenge. And I suppose they are called into our lives because we are the only one who can transform them. This is also part of the Christmas story.
When I think of young Mary giving birth to her first child I want to know her thoughts. The back story. What did she whisper to God as he slept in her arms? Did she worry about the crazy shepherds and magi hanging around the manger? Did she long for home? Did she turn to her mother Anne (same name as my mom) for advice? Did she believe in the validity of the threats from King Herod? From one mother to another I believe I can understand something of her experience but every year I encounter her story from a different place. It begs the question, am I to be witness, gift, or threat in the new year, because I’ve been all three.
I’ve been reading Cynthia Bourgeault’s Wisdom Jesus over the Christmas break and I love her premise on spirituality. She claims this is a heavy place in which we live, bound by gravity, and sharp edges. It’s so true, I watch my wee grand-babies fight against the pull as they learn to sit up, crawl, and stand. I can hear them wailing against the unfamiliar restrictions of this world. I believe I must have a touch of bird envy because it’s impossible to consider a life without these constraints. I think that must be heaven. Bourgeault notes the gift of this life is bearing the weight of real love which requires boundaries in order to make sense.
Bourgeault says, “qualities such as steadfastness, tenderness, commitment, forbearance, fidelity, and forgiveness. These mature and subtle flavors of love have no real context in a realm where there are not edges and boundaries, where all just flows.” Bourgeault claims this is our one chance to experience love that is only available here and now. She says love surfaces most brightly when suffering exists and is consciously recognized. That might be the whole point of the Christmas story.
Today the world appears gray and uninteresting even though it is the same world I inhabited a few days ago. I’m sequestered in the double wide chair in the living room (interesting name), computer in lap, the lake as my view, and I’m listening for my inner voice to come through the words. What will we be talking about next year? What conversations will be memorable because they inspire instead of discourage? Whose voice will rise above the general chatter and give birth to something new in my life?
I know, I know, I talk too much, but I hope to continue this most sacred of journeys with you.
PS. My apple watch has just triggered a warning that I’ve been sitting too long and has asked me to stand up and move around. I comply because it is time to refill my coffee. Then it rewards me by flashing well done. Now why does that make me so happy?
PSS. When I started this blog early this morning the lake was shrouded in fog. About half way through I noted it was beginning to lift. The lake was coming into view. As I stand and stretch, refill my cup, make a final pass through the words, the fog has completely lifted, as if a perfect reflection of my mood.
I’m Living in the Gap, drop in anytime, I implore you.