Saturday, March 5, 2011


I could never give my trip to New Hampshire its due except to say that, in spite of the arctic weather, those were a gilded two weeks. Even though challenges arose, and lots of various kinds of hard situations, I never felt the situations as too hard or burdensome myself. I felt happy and useful and grateful the whole time, and somehow the balance between solitude and people worked out perfectly, and to have a rental car AND stay in a hotel were unbelievable luxuries that allowed me to have a whole different experience than I usually do staying at someone else’s place.

I could sit by the little heater in my hotel room and be comfy and warm and look out the window at Route 95—the people heading north toward Maine; the people headed south towards Boston—and ponder. I hooked up right away, as I always do, with the local sober drunks who, also as always, saved my life. My brother Geordie, in from fishing, called almost every day and we must have gone out four or five times, just driving around or to breakfast. We are both up early and had no-one else that was up early and  just to have someone, however briefly, who will call you and wants to hang out for an hour or two was a huge gift.

But the main thing was my realization that, at this late stage of the game, I may at least have started to grow up. I visited with many family members and friends who were in chronic physical and/or emotional pain, and for the most part I was able to not somehow make their pain about me. I was able, in whatever small way I could, to stand at the foot of the cross with people but also somehow didn’t try to do TOO much. I was available to others if they needed me or wanted to be with me, and at the same time I think I probably would have been okay even if nobody wanted to, or had been able to see me.

The real deal, in other words, is that my childhood wounds, my narcissistic wound, may at last have been healed. The fretful craving, the stubborn grievance based on my insistence that I didn’t get “enough" love, the misguided idea that my job was to save my family, my whole story that I’ve told myself all my life…all, for the moment anyway, were simply gone. The result being that, also for the first time in my life I felt like I truly loved the members of my family. I was way more open and available and loving somehow to them, and of course, consequently, the love was returned in a new way: pressed down, good measure, overflowing…

What can I say? All is grace. I loved seeing my mother, even if she didn’t seem quite sure who I was at times. I mean what’s not to love, she is so…accommodating. So accepting, so wants to know about you, even if, with the Alzheimer's, she won’t remember from one minute to the next. And Sunday, as if to reassure even there, the Old Testament reading jumped out as if written just for me:

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
--Isaiah 49:15



  1. Everyone grows either more reprobate or more holy. I'm glad to see you're growing the right way.

  2. This is a beautiful account of coming to terms with some real losses, while realizing that much of their impact depends on how you approach them. Congratulations on coming into your own in regards to loving your family well -- that is truly a rite of passage in Christlikeness.

  3. What a gift to you and to them; to just be with them rather than trying to solve anything or turn it into something about yourself. Is there anything better in life? Pax

  4. To be present to others, to simple be, without qualification, well, this a very hard thing to do, to be. It's a gift of grace, I think. It is being a grace.


I WELCOME your comments!!!