Measuring

September 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

The pictures and stories from the Black Hills adventures are still coming. I haven’t forgotten. I’ve just been focusing on other things, and I want to spend a nice good time on it so you have a nice good full-ish story when I tell you what a perfectly wonderful vacation we had.

For now, I am in normal life. It is not always my favorite place to be. I like it – oh, I totally love so many of the things I get to do each week, and then at week’s end I go through the rich vivid things I’ve gotten to do, and touch, and see, and there is so much color and life in it. But do you ever have those moments when all the things you have been quietly, or not-so-quietly, brooding and stewing over for the last day, or week, or even months just pile up on your chest so that you literally feel like you can’t breathe? When the pain from this-or-that – sometimes little pains, sometimes big ones – that you have been suppressing for so long suddenly pushes back? Things are good, things are fine, you keep telling yourself and everyone else, and there you go still grabbing onto hope and trying to be everything you need yourself to be, and not always succeeding.

I am crawling out of that and noticing how easily lately I can get shot down into that tailspin. Sensitive, much? I thought I outgrew it after life punched me in the gut a few times, but nope, it is still there. This is certainly a little bit of a feel-sorry-for-me kind of thing but much more of a I-am-really-tired-and-running-out-of-ideas-for-how-to-fix-stuff kind of thing. Although, actually, the ideas abound but the means to actualizing them gets gritty. Do you have what it takes, girl? And if not, where can you get it?

So much of life can seem to be about measuring up. For a perfectionist this is exhausting. We have to extend grace to ourselves and to others. We just do. Everyone slips; we are human. Everyone caves to their disappointment and pain sometimes. And everyone is just trying to make it. Some are trying to not only make it, but to help others make it, and to love the world and its people, and this is incredible.

Some recent reading of comments to online articles and youtube videos and such has made me shudder. How wretched we can be! How vile, and hateful, and hurtful. (Sorry if you’re one of those sorts who thinks everything is relative and okay, and we should be able to say and do what we please, but it isn’t and we shouldn’t in all cases.) Some of the things said seem to ask for someone to track that person down as they are on the verge of truly troubling crimes, and I’m not exaggerating. It’s startling how hiding behind online names/personas allows people to be so open that they walk and so often cross a precarious line, moving from freedom of speech towards assault.

Yet at the same time there are good-hearted, well-intentioned nonprofits abounding. There are people dedicating their lives to the well-being of other humans, animals, the earth. There are people who cry for others, who fight for others, who equip others. Maybe these people are so busy doing these things that they don’t have the time to lurk and comment on the online news and entertainment pieces. (Ooh, that’s a comforting thought.) The negative comments and the mindless ones far outweigh the good ones. I’m going to stop reading these follow-ups as, usually, they go round and round and only make me end up despising humanity and wishing to be a sleek, cheerful, laughing bottle-nosed dolphin instead. Or maybe a baby bear.  At the same time I wonder who is hiding and why they are hiding and how they got to such places, and if someone can reach them somehow. Everyone has a heart; some hearts have just gotten clouded or overgrown with thorny tangles.

I don’t know. What I do know is that as I, the formerly avid real book reader, become a part of the online writing community (one that is now huge and happening), I want the voice I have – even one that is from an imperfect, still-wandering, often a wee bit discouraged person – to offer light, hope, encouragement, and kindness. I hope you can find these things here. I hope you feel free to check me if too much criticism, anger, or even resentment creeps in (I am still human, not a dolphin, unfortunately). I sometimes imagine tossing (magically biodegradable) gold glitter out over the earth’s surface, over the people in parks and the people on bicycles and the people walking stolidly to work along the sidewalk – sparkling handfuls to make the day a little brighter, to garner a surprise and a smile.

Can words do that? I like to think that they might.

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