I who have died

Eleven years ago I moved to Minneapolis a newly divorced woman with three grieving children.

We were all nuts.

Somehow we lived, one day to the next. The eldest left for college. The two youngest endured finding their own new ways in a new place, as did their mother. Life was marked by train rides to see their dad and sometimes visits with the Chicago-dwelling eldest. We were careful around each other. We grieved. Oh, we grieved.

And we lived.

Friends were found and life made and gradually it became easier to breathe.

We lived:

Pick ups to and from college for three. A”bonus dad” and “bonus sibs” to acclimate to. More friends, explorations, band concerts, leaving and returning and growing awareness that the bond of love is a rare and precious thing.

Graduations from college and jobs won and left. Partners welcomed and woven into kin fabric. Hearts passionate about healing and justice and beauty and community and the splendor of the earth. Pastor’s kids adept with people and open to life.

And now the youngest graduates on Saturday. There for his walk will be his deepest and most tenacious fans: his mom and dad, his step-Coop, his sisters and their partners and on the next day a raucous cloud of witnesses present to mark the good of it all.

It will be the last big party at this house that has known many parties – some I knew about and many I did not. We will be together, we who have been so blessed to walk from a world saturated by grief into a world near too-full of gratitude.

I can’t speak it fully. e. e. cummings comes close:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
e.e. cummings

We are alive.

I thank you God for most this amazing.

gingerbread

The ground keeps shifting.

For awhile shifting was something that felt important to resist. With change comes loss and grief about that loss. Letting go of what was in order to live what is felt somehow wrong or disloyal.

I spent precious energies trying to recreate what can never be again and in that insistence upon constancy I forgot the core constant: The ground keeps shifting.

Anything that cannot change will die. Biological truth is making its way to my heart.

Around the table at Thanksgiving were beloveds. Some were missing. Those not present were joining other families or they were doing what felt important to them. Next year the same will be true. There will be those who are there and those not there and rather than lament or rail or whimper about what is not my heart was and is so full of what is.

I am able to set a table and there are those who come.

The wonder of it.

At church, in my home, and through my heart I am able to set a table and there are those who come.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

in a name

At the hospital where son Jameson stayed, there was a white board.

On the white board there was a spot for writing the names of contact people for the patient.

In said spot for said son, there were three names written, each with a different last name.

What’s in a name?

While going through the shatter that is divorce, it feels like the word “family” will be forever grief soaked. The days of assumed roles and relationships are forevermore gone. There is a deep sense of loss in that. The “who are we now?” is question near desperate for answer.

And, resurrection is real.

Those three last names? They represent a dad and a mom and a step-father committed to the body-soul-mind health of our beloved. Those three last names represent a tribe of people who are committed to companioning each other through love and life.

Three last names represent family in all of its complex stunning foibled power.

What’s in a name (s)?

Family. Our family.

Our answer.

roots

We are rooted.

Today the Roto-rooter team is coming to pulverize our basement floor in order to tame the roots that have taken over our sewage system.

@#$% indeed!

Cooper spent a fine Wednesday dealing with the geysers that erupted in our basement.

Today we live into the healing of the problem, complete with a 24 hour no-water-use edict.

This root addressing comes on the heels of a wedding weekend that still has my heart humming.  Family came together to celebrate the wedding of Cooper’s youngest and on the dance floor and throughout the weekend we were a weaving of those who have gone before us and so very powerfully we participated in weaving that which is yet to be.

Blending families is no small adventure.  Those seeking to create the new are rooted in systems unquestioned and ways of being passed on from generation to generation.  In coming together through divorce and re-marriage, the ground shifts and sometimes it feels like nothing will ever feel stable again.

But oh, the fruit of years of negotiating and breathing and praying is heart luscious!

We are a different people now.  Somehow, in marking the powerful rite of passage that comes in joining families and hearts, we know ourselves to be rooted and grounded in amazing grace and we are whole and we know this.

We know this.

So the roots strangling our pipes?  They can be dealt with and matter not much (except for the obscene amount of money leaving our house with them).

The roots that ground and nourish heart are alive and well and we are family and thank you thank you thank you God for roots.

Ground is good.

 

seven years

Seven years ago today I married Cooper Wiggen.

We stood by the shore of a lake, attended by three others, and promised to love one another in covenanted and holy ways.  We eloped, since life being what it was we were buying a house, Cooper was commencing with a new church community, and we wanted to begin our living-together life as those allowed to marry in this state.

A month later we had a church wedding where we again spoke words of commitment; this time in the presence of our children and communities.

It has been a heart stretching endeavor, this marriage.  We each brought three children into this new thing.  We each tend two goodly-sized churches.  We each carried the wounds of divorce.  We each are a jumble of past hurts and core longings.

And we are yet alive, together.

I encountered awhile back an interview with an ardent feminist who had been in a marriage for decades.  She was nuts about her husband.  The interviewer made mention of her surprise that one can be an ardent feminist and a profoundly grateful lover of her male mate.  How could that be, the interviewer asked.

The answer was this:  in all the years of their life together, the woman never could predict what her husband was going to say or what he was thinking.  This to her was passion elixir.

I get it.

Through all the rips and wonder of blending families and life, I have been married to a man who fascinates and draws me.  The tender human to whom I have pledged my troth is gift.

On this day, I am remembering the joy and sometimes trudge of making this life we now share.  Seven years of meals and tears and laughter and love.  Seven years of stretch and soar.

Seven years.

Gratitude sings.

 

home

The computer is set up in the basement.

A nest has been feathered.

Jameson is home.  Just for a time he is cloistering himself in our home in order to do all things necessary for finals.  We have internet, true, but I suspect he is tapping into a wisdom that tells him that his chances of being led not into play temptation are greater while residing at home.

I purr when there are offspring about.  I suppose a lot of it has to do with the fact that I just can’t seem to get over the wonder of their being.  And, I really like them.  Between Cooper and myself we have six interesting, engaged and dangerously funny people we get to call children.  It’s amazing.

Having these opportunities to share morning coffee and informal down time are precious.  Finals will end and Jamie will be off to the house he shares with countless others.

For a time, though, some homing instinct in his heart led him here.

My heart gives thanks for the simple wonder of love; that’s all.

That’s everything.

home

Today is a momentous one.

The chair arrives.

When we got married and blended households, Cooper brought into our home a variety of furniture stuffs.  One of the most beloved by him was a man chair.  You know the type:  recliner overstuffed happiness.

When we tried to sell our house years ago (oh what folly, that) we worked with a realtor who helped us stage our home.  Most every piece of furniture Cooper brought into our home got tagged for removal.  Mostly, that was not so bruising.  But perhaps the first thing tagged was the man chair.

Since then, he has valiantly made nest in a comfy chair we have.  But there has been a sense of loss for him.  At first I laughed it off, figuring that a chair can’t really be that vital.  But as time went on, as Cooper has accommodated many comings and goings of children and critters through this porous thing called home, realization has dawned.

It matters.  Having a spot of one’s own matters.

So, for his 60th birthday, his son Louis and I went to furniture land and gleefully chose a fitting nest for our mutually beloved.

Today it gets delivered.  Cooper’s long sojourn is over.

It will have the place of pride in our house, facing the front door and a newly gifted depiction of “Dogs Playing Cards” given him by my children.  That story too has much to do with making claim on decorating ambiance.  It’s not on velvet (thank God) and it makes us laugh.

What I’m celebrating is that through the bumps and ruts and highs of blending homes and families, there are opportunities to mark milestones and make nest.

It matters.