Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grace and Peace

I have people in my life who sign all their emails with with "Cheers!" or "Blessings" or "Best." But one in particular uses "Grace and Peace." This simple phrase weaves in and out of Paul's letters in the New Testament, almost always followed by " you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." It's something I've read dozens of times that's never sunk in til this morning.

It's Thanksgiving, and, yeah, I'm supposed to be thankful. But sometimes I find it an impossible assignment. There are always loved ones struggling in some capacity, unmet needs, unfulfilled hopes. There's that stupid extra weight, or health challenges, or a shortage of time, or a conflict or three.

Things are not always as I would have them.

The grace part--the thing that smooths out the edges and makes each new day at least marginally doable--has to come first. And since that's an undeserved gift that we can't manufacture for ourselves, we've got to at least be aware of its existence. We've all been shown it, likely at some of our worst moments; it's the grease that keeps things running.

And then peace--glorious peace--follows: Likely you've had a glimpse of this, too, recently. The baby finally falls asleep, the job finally comes through, the teen finally gets home (even if it's 3 a.m.). It can range from a momentary glimpse to sheer relief to some stunningly clear vision, in the midst of imperfection.

You know peace when you feel it, just as you know what life feels like in its absence.

Somehow this morning, in between making a disgusting turkey hand puppet to completely gross out my daughter (just because I love to make her laugh), to talking to my big brother, to anticipating a houseful of friends 'cause we don't have much family nearby, I accepted some grace and got the peace to boot. It's a Thanksgiving first since my divorce, all those years ago, and I'm so incredibly aware of their presence right now I hardly know what to do with myself.

I don't have any illusions that this will last. And that's OK--they will come again. But for now, I feel them, this remarkable duo, on either side of me as I type, and I'm more thankful than I've been in a long time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Exiting Chaos

Not unsurprisingly, I'm overcommitted. Seems it's that time of year where I say "yes" to practically everything. I should know better: I function so much better in what I call my Zenny place--manageable, organized, quiet.

Too bad life isn't like that with any regularity.

Someone with some actual perspective reminded me this week that being a single mom requires a lot of juggling. Somehow, I forgot. But maybe the bigger lesson is that our lives in general, single mom or not, are prone to overcommitment. The more we learn, the quicker we run; the more technology, the faster we're expected to go.

Today, I'm jumping off the rat wheel. We get to have friends over for dinner tonight and I think I will forego autoclaving the house prior to their arrival. I may read a little while the roast cooks slowly. I'm going to ignore the sticky notes all over my desk, in 6 different colors (that means I've gone through 6 different pads of them recently), with the exception of crossing "BLOG" off the list.

What do you do to slow down and exit chaos?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Six months later...

I have a magnetic notepad on my fridge with a quote from Joan Rivers that says, "I hate housework. You do the dishes, you make the beds and six months later you've got to do it all again."

When I saw how much time flew by from my last blog, I kinda felt the same: I suppose it would be beneficial if I actually kept up on it... And while it hasn't been six months, it feels like it. A lot of life has happened: kids back to school, kids leaving home, friends having medical crises, friends getting jobs, things breaking and things getting fixed...a whirlwind of real life.

In some ways, I feel really blessed to have this existence, balancing mom duties with work duties with Eve's Ds duties; in other ways, I find my heart breaks on a regular basis due to mom duties, work get the point. It's that cyclical nature of life that, ironically, keeps us both tethered and on our toes. Strangely, it's the promise of do-overs that helps me keep going: When things are good, I've got to remember to enjoy it because it will change. When things are bad, I can remember what I've slogged through before and that likely an oasis is coming.

The past six months of Eve's Daughters has seen more activity, more women, more successes, more failures, more stumbling and bumbling with a few things that really stuck. Kinda like real life. I don't know where we'll be six months later--but I'm grateful to be on the journey with you amazing women.