Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beautiful Mess

I haven’t blogged in a long time, and I have the same reasons and excuses that we all have. Too busy. Too much. Too full. For myself, underneath that is the desire to blog from a really relaxed, calm, centered place. I imagine myself spending hours in a quiet place looking out over magnificent trees or ocean. Words and beautiful reflections would come like spray off the waves. The one time this
the oasis of fish camp
summer I did write was at fish camp when trees and ocean and sleep and time with friends were mine. I wrote out the beauty I was experiencing (and it WAS beautiful!), but it felt false to latch on to a small window of beauty for my blog rather than the messy patchwork that is everyday life.

Everyday life is messy. There’s either too much or too little, the sun is scorching or the rain forces us inside. We are over-stimulated by too much activity or lonely with too little. Our desires flip-flop like the summer salmon we drag onto shore, trying to get comfortable and finding it impossible in the open air. Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about! We all know what it is to be overwhelmed with work or underwhelmed with life, to feel far from source.

When I blog (and when I live) I tend to take a gleam of light in the midst of the mess and celebrate it, feeling this is the medicine I need. The beautiful question a student asks in class, the glass ball that washes up onto the beach in-between Styrofoam and plastic, the sweet cup of tea in the middle of the morning rush. But what if the gleam of light is the mess? What if I give myself permission to complain, to sit in the ashes, to be overwhelmed when I’m overwhelmed, and not to make it something beautiful? What would happen if I just let things be what they are, messy, beautiful, harsh, boring, loving, uncomfortable? Yesterday at dinner I shared that a taste of yogurt and candied roses transported me to heaven, and my son said “but MOM, heaven is right HERE.” Is this mess, right here and right now, heaven?

Here I am, writing from a lovely and mundane mess. Tchabo is at Boy Scout camp this week, giving me the luxury of day time to work instead of in the wee hours. I have mixed feelings about it, as his day at camp is too many hours for his age, but the time for me is a treasure. This morning I smelled the smoke from the forest fire outside of Anchorage and felt a profound nostalgia for Uganda where the aroma of wood-smoke permeates every inhabited nook. I’m working on a curriculum for 10th graders to talk about their identity and how to honor themselves, and I have a giddy excitement that I get to go on that journey with them, and also a sense of how daunting it is to talk about identity, what a life-long process it is to discover the always-changing self. I dreamed last night that I couldn’t make a crepe correctly, that everything kept going wrong. I’m enjoying a cup of green tea. I am sticking with the waves, and I look forward to seeing where they take me. Perhaps, like salmon, upstream to my source. 

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