"I write above all for the reader, with the intention of giving pleasure, amusing, stunning or destroying. It is impossible to write without another person."
--Tadeusz Konwicki, Polish novelist and filmmaker, from a book-length interview called "Half a Century of Purgation"
This is week eight of the tree-cutters, drills, and jackhammers and I must say it is a sign of God's infinite mercy that I have not had a complete nervous breakdown.
My one true not-to-be-moved obligation is to turn in my arts and culture column each Friday. Then I have many many other self-imposed obligations. Amazingly, I have more or less kept up with them all.
I case I haven't spelled it out, this is what's going on. The foundation of the house where I've lived for four years (and which my room-mate owns) is being is re-built, after which the whole house and yard are going to be re-done. So I'm going to move out for three months is the plan. I've already found a place, not far from here. So that's good, but I still have to pack up all my stuff and store it and figure out what to bring with me and haul that over and move in by Feb. 1st and the morning of Feb. 1st I leave at 6:15 am for Houston for four days, then come back for a few days, then fly out on a red-eye the following Saturday eve for Honduras. Followed by two Lenten missions, a book release in early March, ET CETERA.
So while I've been pretty well maintaining, one day at a time, yesterday morning I had a huge blowout with my roommate. That's it, I'm moving out for good, I'd already decided. She is all about MONEY and I am all about LOVE.
Later in the afternoon I brought another friend home with me to pick up some of my plants. My roommate was out in the yard and mentioned that at the new place where I am moving for three months while the house is being re-done I will have peace and quiet from 7 am to 5.
"Yes," I snapped, and before I even understood what I was saying, added, "and it will be nice to be someplace where I am WELCOMED and TREASURED."
"You're welcome here!" she said. "You're always welcome here."
"I am not!" I responded stubbornly. "I am not treasured!"
And then this person who I've been accusing in my head of being emotionless and cold, Jacqui, my beloved roommate, came over and gave me a big hug and said she adored me and I am welcome to stay here always and it's been hard on both of us and she can't imagine how frustrating it must have been these past months--more like two years--with first a new sewer on the street, then her lawsuit and now a new foundation and house rehab.
I forgot to say that yesterday morning, before all this transpired, I had gone out to the yard and buried a little silver cross under the pink camellia bush and a Pope Francis medal under the red camellia bush, both of which I can hardly bear to think of leaving, to bestow a kind of blessing on the house.
And we just happened to be out by the camellia bushes when all this happened.
Anyway, apparently I am destined to move through life as a giant baby, wearing my heart on my sleeve, crying at the most inopportune and inappropriate moments, lurching from one position to another in the space of five minutes, from hot to cold, from resentment to love, from hardness of heart to humility of heart, from being convinced that I'm right to doubting that I've ever been right, from weariness to wonder, from fear to faith, from self-righteousness to an embrace, a truce, a guffaw.
I like to think I am so complicated, so deep, but at the end of the day I just want to be treasured. I think we all want that. And however awkwardly and ridiculously that comes out--maybe it's a good thing to say it out loud every so often. You have to be in a certain kind of poverty, one you would never have looked for or asked for, to admit that you want to be treasured. I mean we can't insist on being treasured or harp on being treasured. But it's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to speak our little "truth."
When we do, the world seems instantly to reach out and grasp our hand.
And one more time we're astonished: by ourselves, and--even more, even better--by the other.
|SCENES FROM MY DESK|
THANKS FOR LISTENING!