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May 22, 2013

life plan: doing what feels good, even when it's hard.

i pray a lot. and i ask for a lot when i do. sometimes i keep it informal and start by checking in.

how are things?

and then there are times i keep it extra formal. those are the times i need the most: the most help, guidance, love, and forgiveness.

hello, yes, it's me again. how are you? i have a few questions and a few requests and was hoping we could discuss these things. i seem to be needing you quite a bit lately. i hope that's okay. 

all of my prayers start with thank you. and then a list. these lists are long because there is so much i have to be thankful for.

thank you for another day here. thank you for so much for this day that started out really well and then just seemed to tumble downhill at a disgustingly rapid rate. please give me another day tomorrow and i'll try much harder to cherish it. i will be better tomorrow. i promise.

but the please lists are equally as long, sometimes longer. and sometimes i don't like that about me.

please give me a sign. please, please, please. 

in those moments, i imagine God looking at me and saying, stop searching everywhere. stop looking for it.  it. stop. just stop. it feels like such a big part of life is learning to wait. period. end point. waiting, but not desperately searching for things. waiting, but living at the same time. living. the waiting means nothing if we don't keep ourselves open to whatever God has in store for us. and i often struggle to remember this part. i am not open to receiving good if i doubt good is going to come my way. i need to pray and hope and then turn it over. i need to let it go, everything i'm afraid won't happen. everything i'm afraid will happen. everything i can't control.

there's that word again. that tricky, ugly word. control. i'm trying to loosen my grip and trust life more. this is hard and this takes time.

i say my lists and listen. i wait. i hope. i pray some more, just in case i wasn't heard the first time around. anne lamott says, people say God is in the details, but i've come to believe that God is in the bathroom. i agree. i do some of my best praying there: looking in the mirror and brushing my teeth, sitting on the edge of the bathtub washing eva's hair, shaving my legs.

i do the things that make me feel better.

i order the iced nonfat mocha.

i move my seat in the coffee shop so i can be by the window to watch the rain. i look at the nice little tree with bright green leaves and think, the only thing missing is fruit. oranges, maybe lemons like the ones i saw in florence. and then i think, nothing is missing from this tree nor from the two to its right. 

i watch the two men in their 40's sit in the big leather recliners and i make up a story about them: old college roommates who happen to be staying at the same hotel while on business. they ran into each other in the lobby while checking out and they decided to grab coffee before heading to the airport. or maybe they're cousins, or colleagues meeting for the first time. maybe they're lovers. one's named george. he's definitely a george. the other is either a jeff or a bill.

i watch the woman in her early 60's with the neon pink t-shirt and the peach straw hat and i think, peach is a good color on her. 

i think about the things i see when i slow down. and the things i miss when i refuse to. last week when the man who runs the fruit cart outside my train. he tipped his hat to me, how that tiny moment of kindness cracked me open. the woman on the train who sat talking to herself while folding a blue blouse. she was swearing a bit. but then she pulled out a tiny box of raisins. and how i thought in that moment these two actions, the folding the shirt and the raisins softened her.

i listen to ella fitzgerald and think, if i had that voice i'd never stop singing. i walk without music. just walk. i watch the fluffy shows and read the fluffy magazines and listen to the songs that make me smile and take the load off for just a moment. because this is enough. all of these little moments add up to a good day, when we let them. i take naps with sloth. i think of how wonderful it is that dogs are smarter than some humans. and a dog that curls right up next to you when you crawl into bed is a really good dog. i look for the helpers: in oklahoma, on the bus, in the grocery store.  i stop comparing myself to things that don't warrant the comparison. i spent forty-five minutes on the bike and close my eyes. i focus on the only things that matter in that moment, in this life: breathing and movement. the rest is noise. i cut out as much noise as i can, which isn't all that hard to do. i stay away from the scale. and facebook. i pack big salads and healthy snacks. i take pictures of everything. i thank God for patty griffin.

i take care of myself. i do the things that help me feel good, the things that calm and heal me. i try to do these every single day.and sometimes i don't. and these lists get thrown out the window and i swear and cry and eat too much chocolate. but i pause-and usually go to the bathroom for some one-on-one time. and i pray.

i say thank you. 

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