Monday, July 12, 2010

Place and Time

Today, I was so glad to be in all the places that I was.

I was at the beach, as the fog drifted by and the paragliders floated overhead. I was in the Pacific, getting sand in my jeans, getting salt in my hair. (In the evening, the dog licked my leg, and tasted the sea.)

I was in Haight-Ashbury today. I was eating coffee-malt-English toffee-whiskey ice cream from Ben & Jerry's ("Peace, love & ice cream"). I was in a vintage store, making my boyscout friend wear a giant floppy burgundy hat. In the photo, the hat has draped over his eye, like a veil. His face is hidden, and he says he's glad.

I was walking a dog today, a sturdy black terrier. He barks, he jumps, he races out the door. I walked him for an hour as dusk descended, and he left his scent on every corner. There are secret messages for him all over the sidewalk and the ivy and the posts that hold up the mailboxes. I watch him get the messages but I never know what they are saying to him.

I know what was being said to me, though... I was on the phone today. I was sitting in a stream of words, letting them flow over me, even as I walked down the tree-lined lanes and tugged the terrier out of the street. The stream flowed from far away, but the water was just as fresh as if I were at the spring itself. Listening is good. Later I spoke, and that was good too. (You thanked me for my words, and your gratitude was a blessing. To refresh you refreshes me...)

I was at church today. A visiting pastor, who had conducted a 24-hour funeral, sang to us, about the new Jerusalem. (I thought of you, how you would close your eyes if you were there to listen.) The pastor spoke about prayer, about God's heart for us, about disappointment, and the words rolled over me but they didn't sink in. My friend's words sank in, though: "We need you." Someone is badly sick, and the crazy hectic amazing day camp for a hundred kids is starting tomorrow, 9am. So: I'll play Sally a few mornings. I'm here, I can help--because I chose to rest this summer, instead of trying to fulfill some imperative to be productive. They thanked me, over and over, and I could genuinely tell them, "I'm happy to help."

Blessed to be a blessing, my pastor says. To be a blessing is to be blessed, some days: today. I am blessed. Here is my note of gratitude, and here is my note of apology for the days I despair. Thank you. Life is beautiful, and I am so glad to be here.

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