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.


In this household books are sacred.

Both Cooper and I are inhalers of print. Books are friends and teachers and they mark the cycles and seasons of our lives. To say that we have many of them is an understatement.

In readying our house for sale we have taken many trips to the second hand book store. We get a mere pittance for them, but at least we know they will have another life. Many of our books have gone to the library at Richfield UMC. We have thinned and it is not a task for the faint of heart but we did it.

So when I came home yesterday to stacks and stacks of books on the floor I was flummoxed. We had a stager come in to ready our home for photo taking tomorrow.

She had assassinated our bookshelves!

I asked her how it was she determined which one or two survived to grace each shelf.

Her answer? She chose the ones that were prettiest and looked the best.

I knew it was time for me to leave.

So I did.

Wow. All those words, all that beauty, all the hours of grace shared were summarily consigned to boxes until we unpack them in Rochester.

And so it is. We are being staged. I recognize my house, but it feels that I have moved into the time of transition when assumed relationship with space and surroundings is no more.

There is gift in this. I notice the lovely ways the leaded glass in the dining room creates prisms. I thank the trees in my back yard for their cardinal-bearing ways. I wonder at the foolishness of waiting so long to do so much good work in order to pretty up our home.

I can forgive the stager. She wants our house to speak welcome.

So I’ll box the books and imagine that they will find welcome and a place to be.

Stagers bring lessons.

Don’t they?