a patchwork of thanks amid a long and winding (and sometimes bumpy) summer…
when you’ve been clanging on heaven’s door with the cacophonies i’ve kept up this summer, and suddenly you find yourself ankle-deep into august, when road trips have been clocked without incident (save for the chandelier shangri-la just outside the buffalo (NY) international airport, where a tolerance for prism-ed zirconium was a necessary toll of admission), when planes have taken off and landed without clouds of corona rising up from the itty-bitty pouches on the seatbacks, when bar exams have been re-routed online and virtual graduations did in fact include your own kid’s first and last and two middle names, when federal troops have been called back from the streets, and your tomatoes have grown succulent and drip down your chin…it is high time for a hallelujah of praise and glorious, glorious drop-to-your-knobby-old-knees thank you, Jesus!
and so, i begin…
i begin where i always do: up to my ears in amen, amen, and praise be the heavens that the boys i love are undented, undaunted, and safe in the world. of course, i’ve been chasing after all of ’em with this summer’s 70-percent-alcohol-content elixir of choice, purell by the boatload. i’ve been the purveyor of plastic shields for anyone taking to the clouds, and i’m the queen of counting to 20 (often rounding up to 25 or 30 for good measure) while anyone’s sudsing their hands. and, so far (knock on wood, marble, or cubic zirconium while we’re at it), not a single raised Fahrenheit of fever, thank you patron saint of mercury.
as i type, one of those boys is on the cusp of turning 19 — the miracle of his existence a miracle that will never lose its shine — and slinging away the summer hauling trash, whacking weeds, and otherwise delighting in the fuzzy outlines of his COVID bubble. (the rules they follow are vague, something along the lines of “if you’re outside you won’t get it, keep the windows of cars rolled down, and be sure to have your mask in your pocket if not stretched across your maw.”)
the bespectacled one, still the tallest of the bunch and my beloved for life, would have blown out his own birthday candles yesterday, but the line at portillo’s on a thursday night was 90 miles long, so there was no famed chocolate cake to be had (nor the italian beef that would have preceded it). (he made up for the confectionary dearth with raspberry talenti spooned straight out of the tub.)
oh, and the first one i birthed (the one under the jaunty cap up above), he’s joyfully — and relievedly — unpacking the boxes that finally, finally found him in his new portland apartment, after the moving van took a circuitous three-week pleasure cruise across the continental U.S.
so, bing, bing, bing, right off the bat, three giant-sized prayers rambunctiously answered.
hovering emphatically there at the top of the thank-you list would be a glory hallelujah for those rare amazing souls more than willing to hold the jittery hand of a mama with worries on the loose (that would be me, and the amazing ones are the ones who never shirk from the cockamamie worries i cook up, more than willing to coo by my side, and promise me all will be well. and if not, they’ll help me sop up the tears and gather the shattered bits). where, oh where, would we be if not for our bravest and kindest of comrades who stiffen our spine and coddle our hearts when the night feels so dark and so long?
moving from sublime to, well, fruitful…now that drowning-in-tomato season is upon us, and the branches are bending and bowing under the weight of their keep, it’s high time to genuflect at the edge of the so-called “farm,” in praise of the wonders of purple cherokees, san marzano plums, orange zinger cherry tomatoes, and that icon of heartland fertility, the ever-reddening batch of fat, squat big boys. just minutes ago, so it seems, i was the virgin farmer tucking her wee little sprouts into the loamy soils. all summer i’ve watched in wonderment as the earth (and my occasional scattering of tomato-mite root booster) did its thing, sky-rocketing stems and leaves and pert little blossoms and, finally, clumps and orbs that redden by the hour. and have me scrambling for things to do with tomatoes besides salting and peppering and downing like candy.
i take it not for granted any prayer that gets answered, nor the happy ending at the close of any heart-tugging yarn. and that is the point, or at least a crucial part of it anyway. i might be a one-woman smoke stack of worry, sending up fumes and plumes of the wildest imaginable what-ifs, but the flip side — the blessing side — of that tendency toward incessant disquietude is that, on an almost hourly basis, i am awash in the after-rush of relief (disaster once again averted), followed immediately and overwhelmingly by pure and unfiltered gratitude. thank you, thank you, thank you, holy God, the words that most often cross my worry-lined lips.
and so my necessary pause, the blessed interlude that stitches together the worry patches of my days, is the simplest — the most certain — prayer that ever was: thank you, oh thank you, for the grace of this sweet sanctity, for the safe-keeping you’ve brought and the sheer joy of knowing all is well (for now), all is under heaven’s unending gaze, and ever will be.
and that’s the only point that matters here today.
what’s on your list of thank-you prayers, here in the launch of summer’s last full month?
p.s. i just realized that the fourth corner above — yet another reason for thanks — is the front cover of my next little book, one coming into the world on october 6. it’s titled The Stillness of Winter, and my hope is that it will fill your wintry months with quietude and a sense of wonder as you contemplate the blessings of the curling-in months at the cusp of the old and new year….
i was going to cobble a litany of thanks for the glorious reads this summer has brought me, as i while away the days up in my tree-house nook of a windowseat, but the phone rang and someone came to the door, and the morning has unfurled, so the great reads of this 20-20 summer will have to wait till another day……
Will be pre-ordering pronto! Always thankful for you and all the chairs who are friends, near and far. ❤️
you are sweet! that is NOT why i mentioned it, but oh i know the publishers will be so very happy. xoxox
Hope you’re laying in a big supply of bookplates to sign! 😄
from beautiful lamcal, who could not get this to post from her own portal:
I love the litany of thanks embedded here. They drop like the acorns that are pinging on my roof over here in the woods. It is an August sound that has become familiar over the years. Life seems to be slowly pointing our attention toward harvest…new life paths, new trips around the sun, back to school planning (amid strife and storm), garden fruits and vegetables…AND a new Bam Book. I am working on storing up my “acorns” for the long winter which I think will be more challenging than any winter before. We started COVID with the promise of summer and long days. It has been a blessing and a resource that will have to be mined for gold as the dark closes in. Looking forward to the beauty of “Stillness” while happily wallowing in late summer. Love to all pulling up to the Table. xxoo
and love to you in return, beautiful lamcal. love, love, always love. ping, ping, ping…….
Your worries are my worries, your joys are my joys. I am grateful for all the good news and answered prayers in this post, and I look very much forward to seeing The Stillness of Winter in print! As always, I’m sending you love heaped on love. xox
xoxox that apron pocket in which you tuck your pals is a mighty safe place to reside. eternal thanks. xoxoxoxox
and heaping back love in kind and in kind……
so wonderful to join in your chorus of THANK YOU JESUS! and i love seeing your sweet will in cap and gown! xoxo *Mary Jo*
Mary Jo Hazard, MSMOB, MCC ICF Master Certified Coach Carpe Diem Coaching email@example.com 630.637.0624 http://www.linkedin.com/in/maryjohazard
i think i was channeling Saint John Lewis’ glorious funeral when i wrote that “thank you, Jesus!” there is nothing like the prayerfulness of a Black church in full praise….
Pre-order in! Can’t wait.
So relieved with the report on the “boys”. Enjoy your harvest. Wish I lived closer. Mmmmm.
i could try flinging tomatoes your way. they might land with a SPLAT but they will be extra-delicious. i guarantee.
and thank you, for heaven’s sake, for pre-order. i get my hands on first live real one on monday. it’s FedExing its way here now, apparently. but only three in the US now. others arriving by boat. because, well, that’s publishing in america these days…..
i love finding treasures and leaving a trail of them here all week. i just found this from a flock of monks i love who live tucked away in a monastery on a bend in the river charles in cambridge, MA. this line brother james pulled from his commonplace book this morning:
“the true pilgrim who has found the way says in his thankful heart, I will run when I can, when I cannot run I will go, and when I cannot go I will creep.”
amen…and blessings on all of us who so often creep……
I graduated from the School of Worry earned
my Masters in Worry with a Minor in Hurry.
I kid you not. What happened is the trifecta of
my nightmares—all three—came to pass.
Went down. The marriage. The two step sons.
The Blueberry Castle (the house music built)
ALL GONE NOW. Gulp. It’s strange WORRY
doesn’t stick anymore. I’m beyond it. And
happy as a yam!! I yam! I died. And rose 🌹
Gene gen-u-flects so do I @ :
ON YOUR KNESSUS THANK YOU JESUS
“i take it not for granted
any prayer that gets answered”
I asked for days before I read this
“Why does B worry so”
So you see we start at the y ~ the
last letter of worry…it came to me…the
very nature of yer nurturing is to embrace
fully—don’t get this storyteller started—so
worry I believe is the embracingness
that won’t let go y e t ~
and yes I concluded your epiphanies are
sweeter at the resolution like a
“Bach vii dim7 to a Picardy Third I Major”
so it’s not just “all good” IT IS WELL!! A
very very deep compassionate well that’s
welling with crystal waters.
I usually walk away from conversations with
you or having read you WITH ANSWERS TO
Q’s MY HEART HASN’T YET FORMED. 💦
“Didn’t know I was t h a t thirsty.” 💜
hmmm. can’t seem to get a reply to post. had tried to say it’s a blessing your worry days are behind you. that’s a gift life bestows, usually after some crash course in the hall of hard knocks. my worries aren’t usually for myself but rather for those i love more than life. and i worry deeply for this world, oh this too too broken world…..
“Imitation is the highest (sincerest) form of flattery” is akin to “altruistic worry is the highest form of fretting” (sounds like guitar
talk)—I COMMEND THE genuine love offered ‘up and over’ —‘tis beautiful!!
I attempted to clear my highest “bar” (parallels running through the family) yet, showing how I
now play a fretless bass freely, the price being countless near-death-days-and-nights from A to Z in AZ, and HOW YOU WERE FORMED AND MADE and keep on making CHOICES to earn the MIDDLE NAME “o t h e r” (“lower case with a space“ between “each pair to share”). I feel only honor toward your ways as I know your strumming compassions as a lifetime recipient y e t we can all learn to leave our
s t u f f at the altar with greater aplomb and loosen a bit our grip.