Some Things that Matter to me on this Good Friday Morning

This is for me, but also for a few others in my sightline right now—wonderful and courageous human beings whose little spot of earth they travel has buckled or narrowed or just shifted dramatically beneath their feet.

A story matters to me—a good one. One in full colour, one that includes reality and hope and courageous girls and boys, throngs of them. Courageous men and women too, men and women unafraid of speaking their truth on behalf of the marginalized. A story that transcends this moment, these bodies, our fears, one that is captured in the word Love.

Peace matters, everywhere of course, but right now I mean peace with myself, body and soul.

A blanket matters, and having an extra to share. Pretty things, yes, definitely. A colouring book, sunlight through the window, gold sparkle on hand-stitched medicine pouches, a blossom through the green.

medicinepouchCreative energy matters. The freedom to capture the things that matter, and then paint them, make something with them, love someone with them, or be on the receiving end of that creative love.

Empathy. Being able to feel the sorrow of another, perhaps even being able to diamond-heart transform it, and then return it
to them as something brighter and lighter and warmer.

Pleasure with which to balance out pain and sorrow. Hot tea. The arm of the man or woman you love on your back. The smile of your son or daughter. Sunshine on your face. Tastes that delight. A friend across the kitchen table. A circle of women with open hearts and ears. Men who have your back, or, depending on the situation, who are unafraid to show their tears. The ability to inspire hope.

Shady forests in which to walk, and which offer up clean air. Lungs in our chests, for cellular respiration and energy. Rich soil, uncontaminated and heavy-metal free, in which to grow plants that nourish and heal. Congee, as the gentlest of healing foods, to transform into muscle and movement.

Agency: Knowing what you need, and having a voice, feeling no shame.

Children. Babies who fill us with hope and laughter, and become children who re-teach us how to play, and then adults who make us thankful and inexplicably wealthy.

Our mothers and grandmothers and mother earth, right behind us, ready to catch us when we falter, our fathers and grandfathers and father sky, stronger and wiser than we once believed. The Universe as an ultimately safe place to land after all. Stories that have room for human beings, difficult emotions, defeat and despair, but also for splashes of light, resurrections, spring equinoxes, Easter Sundays.

You and Me

girl buddhaThe city is still gritty and muddy and brown, and we’re mostly still wearing black, and I have a hard, hard pebble lodged under my skin, deeply housed in the muscle that carries me. But we’re waking up after a very long sleep, and we’re outside again, walking on the dusty sidewalks, and the ice on the river is breaking up, and the sky is blue this afternoon. And when I left my student yesterday she leaned out her open window where the wind was whipping her curtains around, and shouted something, and I felt a spark of something I’d almost forgotten.

She and I are working on English language skills, but we’re working on so much more. She asks if my husband is a good man. I tell her he is, and she crosses her arms over her heart in gratitude. When I tell her she’s done an excellent job reading a story we’ve been working on for a while now, she grins suddenly, puts up her hand, and says, “high five!” When she meets a new neighbour in the hallway she shouts his name and embraces him.

She is teaching me about the magnificent size of our spirits, about just how much grief a single person can carry with dignity. She lowers her eyes and tells me a few more bits of her story, and I tell her I’m so sorry for her loss. She can’t look at me. I put my hand on her leg and suggest she misses terribly her husband and the children she has lost. She doesn’t seem to know exactly what I mean by this, and says only that she has become very tired, but I see tears slip down her beautiful cheeks. I feel tired too, just thinking about her losses. Grief does that, I remember as she speaks, it makes us tired.

So we sleep, we sleep, sometimes for months and months at a time. And then the mountains of ice begin to break up, and we feel a little less tired, and I think I may feel inspired enough to try dislodge that other old pebble again.