His phone beeps and though dinner is ready I step outside and respectfully give him time to talk to his husband. I sit on the concrete steps which are still warm from the afternoon sun, the dog is by my side quietly watching the world. I see two little pale yellow moths flying and alighting on a flower. And for but the briefest of moments my troubles are cast from me and I am free from the white noise of them in my head. I cover my face. And for a moment a few tears splash into my pressed palms. I feel both broken and whole. Strong as hell and yet still so very vulnerable. So very vulnerable. There is a certain feeling that rushes in on me, I am almost breathless with it, the feeling of accepting my vulnerable side. Of acceptance of all things I have and all I do not have, and a gratitude for the love that fills my heart. Love for my child, my family, my pets, my friends. I tell my mind to hush and all there is now is the lush green and dark red edges of the beard tongue leaf as it curves elegantly against the frost silver leaves of the artemesia fern. I hear the sounds of the insects as they go about their early evening chores. I have to go back to the Zen Center and to doing Yoga because I need some quiet in my mind. I am chaotic. My art is almost like the trite and ridiculous crap I did in college. I am floundering. But suddenly I realize that all of this imperfection is truly perfection. That even the broken pieces of me are loved by God, even if by no other. Or at least I hope they are. Because I don’t love them at all. Not one little shard. Not one tossed sherd. I think of this Footprint prayer. And I say to God, you know that prayer where there is only one set of footprints? I don’t need you to carry me, I can walk just fine by myself. But I sure could use some gluing the pieces back together, or at least making them into something more beautiful, like a finely crafted ancient roman mosaic. So maybe for a while you can carry this burden for me, and when you get tired of it, I will take it back. Then suddenly it hits me, all that matters really is learning how to carry it all with grace, fortitude, and integrity. You know what I think. Let me be this way. Let me be all big hearted and yearning for love, let me be a little bit ashamed of the way I carried on ignoring everything though it was smacking me in the face, was it really so bad to be a person who believed? Let all of this constant white noise of it go. I want to sleep again. I want to dream again. I want to feel full of love, whether or not it is well received. This is me. Take it or leave it. I have to stop trying to leave it.
I heft the heavy sack onto my back.
God, I say can you let me be the lantern too, so that I can stop asking for light, because God, I am afraid of the dark. So afraid of the dark. And I don’t want anyone else to be shivering frightened in some shadowed corner. I would rather be the light on this dark path than to be cowering on it alone and exhausted.
Bill has ended his phone call and we say a prayer for each lit candle. He says God we are okay. I say God thank you for everything good and bad, help us to find acceptance of both.