Driving to Lutcher has become code for – well you know what it is code for. Today, on my way to Lutcher, my horoscope says, only it’s his horoscope too – double whammy:
Love is an Infinite Victory
I saw this drawing and it made me think of the money tree that mysteriously appeared in the LaLa nine years ago when it was under construction. I kept pinning money all over that tree – from Russia, Poland, China, Croatia, Budapest, and everywhere I went I added another bill to the tree. All of those bills weathered storms, heat, and neglect in the garden until they disintegrated.
I’ve changed my mind about the fruits I want my tree to bear – I want a love tree. So I trimmed the money tree back, took off the rusted safety pins, and whispered sweet nothings to it. And love started flourishing there.
Sure, sexy Stanley has something to do with the new growth on my love tree, but my heart is bursting with love for much more than what he brings – and (um) he brings a lot – it is for all in my life who I love and who love me. Love, it’s everywhere these days. I even see it in Stella’s eyes.
L O V E
I was introduced to this Merton piece last week and it could not have come at a more appropriate time in my life:
“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.” This was written by Thomas Merton over half a century ago, imagine.
In other words: quality dissipates when spread thin.
The quality of my recent days have been long and the nights short and the weeks are burning up across the calendar humping their way to the end of the year. I’ve overcommitted. Juggling the projects that have come in for work that are welcome, and a relief, having a roommate who brings his own chaos into the Spirit House, being the board member of an organization that just held its second annual fundraiser last night, belonging to a community group that had not one but a total of two full day meetings last week, volunteering at Tin’s school, parenting a young child, and what? What about relationships – friendships pared down to speed dating type conversations, dating that succumbs to a reprioritization of everything, minutes, seconds. What’s left at the end of one violent day – not me. I can assure you.
You’ll find me dazed and confused.
Today, Sunday School was cancelled because of a wedding, so Tin and I had a welcomed respite to go meet a friend and her son in Annunciation park. A beautiful fall day with its slanted sunlight and fall chill that offered just enough chill to desire the warmth of a New Orleans sun. The boys – old friends – had a rare day of no conflict, just utter joy in being together. And I got to catch up with a friend. I need this time, to sit and reflect, to catch up, to enjoy – and how has this time become so rare?
The house bordering my yard was sold to a man who will convert it into apartments – I can check this off my pending list. The gala was absolutely wonderful – Michaela Harrison sang in The Healing Room as if the world stood still (listen to it here), Germaine Bazzle dazzled us in a revelry, her voice many instruments, Asia Rainey spoke her heart to Maya Angelou, while lit up in warm hues of purple and reds on stage.
The violence we do to others is unfathomable but the daily violence we commit on our own self is head shaking tragic. Is opening yourself up to love an act of healing? In the schedule of your day, who gets 86′d and who gets minutes of your time to the exclusion of another? Is work all there is time for? As I parent Tin and train Stella, my job seems more and more about the elimination of play, where’s the joy in it?
In the violence of doing too much, I confess to fear about standing still, about opening completely, about letting my guard down: come inside, come inside, come inside The Healing Room.
Che Guevara said, “All great revolutionaries are motivated by love.”
Hank Williams said, “I’m the only hell my mama ever raised.”
I cannot say the same – my mom raised some hell.
Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti, commonly known as Seun Kuti, is a Nigerian musician, and the youngest son of legendary afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Seun leads his father’s former band Egypt 80. He said this when he was interviewed at Jazz Fest a few years ago:
“Never think you are more successful than the next guy, because you don’t know where he or you are in the story.”
I thought of this quote this morning because our version of the story can get wound very tight and seem to constrict the very flow of life’s blood.
This chapter started at Armstrong Lighting, where I met sexy Stanley. When I hopped in the truck to head home, Anthony Hamilton was on the radio singing “Cool” – which is becoming the theme song to this part of the story.
QUIT YOUR WORRYING BABY
QUIT YOUR WORRYING GIRL
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY TOO MUCH
QUIT YOUR CRYING LADY
GO AHEAD AND DRY YOUR EYES
WE CAN CONQUER THE WORLD
My friend, Mudd Lavoie, reached out in the middle of the twilight to make sure I was alright. She’s a kindred spirit on this next level that I’ve reached on the wrung of life. So many were left on the lower wrungs that I sometimes carry the sadness like a ball and chain, but then I realize I moved up on this journey, the air grew thinner, the view expanded and became broader, the people here are intuitive and kind, we are climbers, sojourners, warriors of the light. On this path, we take no prisoners and we always stop and pick up the wounded, show them love, and help them scrabble back to the road.
My horoscope this morning:
One good friend is all you need to make it through the day — even if things look really dark. There’s definitely a bright side, though: You know there are people who’ve got your back.