It is the coldest day of winter so far. Well below zero. We are up before sunrise and loading the baby in the car because today is the day I become an American citizen. I have lived in this country since I was 11 but as I was brought here and did not come by choice, my decision was a long time in coming. My wish was to become an American before the vote in November so that I could vote for Barack Obama. I missed out by several months but for his inauguration, I will be one of you.
I am sitting with my fellow immigrants. I have a mixture of emotions. Fear, a slight tinge of sadness, but mostly I feel joy. The wait in the courtroom is long but we don’t mind. We have all been waiting a long time for this day and we approach it with determination.
Soon the judge is before us and we pledge ourselves to this country, the United States of America. We were not born here but we choose to remain here among you, as one of you.
Today, I pledge myself to you again, my fellow Americans. I pledge myself to you citizens, and immigrants, and I especially pledge myself to those of you who are the most vulnerable, including the undocumented, who are still protected under our laws.
I face these dark days with my heart full of love for this country and her people and though I resist the terrifying change before us, I am still one of you and will be forevermore.
This could pass over or through but your eyes are not clouded. The leafless branches of the tree hold up the nest just like your empty heart will expand, refill.
Let go of that dark time before. Let it seep away. It was never anything more than a halo around your brightness. Nothing more than a trick of the eye and the heart.
All you have to do is open your hand and take it. Take it all. Now.
Be brave, soul. Recognize that moment when everything is full.
Last year when I wrote my preview post, I was in a much different place in my life than I am now. I was in the thick of breaking myself down to the core. Now, that core has been reinforced and all that I am radiates from it and becomes again. This new me.
2016 was the year of me understanding my capabilities. It was the year of me bleeding all of my blood onto the ground and letting it soak in and feed these new roots.
From these roots came me, my child, our new life.
This year I stood before a judge and said, yes, we are breaking apart what no man can put asunder. We are humans and we are doing what only God can do.
There is a great deal of pain in admitting your failure.
What a lifetime of writing has taught me is that failure means learning and I am determined to learn from this one. As I have.
I will continue to raise my child up in every way–physically, emotionally, spiritually.
I will turn 50 and have a colonoscopy.
I will trust my intuition (that voice inside you speaks to you for a reason. Never stuff it down. Peril awaits you if you do).
I will turn my face to this broken self and take her in my arms. She needs me and so I will learn to love her in a way that no one else can. I will raise myself up in every way.
You. You raise yourself up. Bring your new self forth into the light of this day and gaze upon her. She is bruised but not completely broken. I see her magnificence.
I see you.
I bought some of those LED candles for our windows for the holidays. So easy. No wires. But I accidentally broke the glass flame of the one in my room (I had a spare). Such a small, fragile bulb, but the glass went everywhere. It took me a long time to clean it and I still stepped on pieces along the way.
Tonight a piece fell onto the floor from seemingly nowhere as I was getting into my pajamas. I thought of the heart. How your heart can be fractured into millions of tiny fragments and you try to clean them all up and you think you’re doing a pretty good job of it. At least superficially no one can tell that anything is broken. But every once in a while you find a piece and quickly scoop it up and throw it in the trash. Oh and then you step on something and it’s another damn piece and it wedges in your toe and hurts you for a while but then that pain goes away too.
And then you forget about the pain. You move on. You start to feel okay again. And then good. And then great. But then a piece of glass tumbles onto the ground in front of you and as you pick it up you cut yourself and you remember again.
But the supply of glass needn’t be endless. Eventually you will run out of glass if you let yourself.
It was the smallest light bulb after all, even though it did burn so brightly when it was lit, letting passersby know that you were there, inside, alive.
Go. Find your own bulb to replace it with. A bulb that, while just as fragile as the last, will burn brightly still. A beacon. Hope shining out in the darkness.
Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” On the first of each month, Catching Days hosts a guest writer in the series, “How We Spend Our Days.” Today, ple…
I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Wha…
It starts with a girl. It always starts with a girl.
She presents herself as unafraid but she is fearful or we know or suspect that she will become so as she ages. As her innocence fades, wears thin. As the eyes of men and boys weigh upon her bones. The judgment. The lust.
She meets a stranger. She is enlightened, emboldened.
She learns why she is special.
(Be wary of people who tell you you are special. Tell her that. But you can’t tell her, because you are writing her. She belongs to you after all.)
She doesn’t know what she’s capable of.
She is 11.
She loves the woods.
She is at home there.
She is the one who saves everyone.
She saves herself. She saves her father. She saves her mother.
Saves the town. The world.
(Maybe that is going too far. No. It’s not too far. She saves the world.)
It starts with a girl.
It starts with a girl in the woods.
Her heart is big and open for now.
It always starts there. With a girl in the woods.