It’s the last day of 2019 and there’s so much I want to do and say on this last day. It’s an artificial line in one way, and in another, a conclusion.
I realized today the two toughest years in my life have been 1969 when my father died, and 2019, when my brother died. The two years are fifty years apart, so since I won’t live another fifty years, I’m hoping I’m moving along on this journey that tracks joy and pain.
Somewhere I read that there is no life and death but spirit may need new form. I’m with how spirit grows and outgrows and needs new form. It helps with acceptance and release.
Each day I receive a poem and comment from Tracy K. Smith who served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2017 to 2019. I’m subscribed to her offering Slowdown. I receive it as an email but you can check her out here: https://www.slowdownshow.org
I love knowing that her father built bookshelves in the hallway leading to her parents’ bedroom. Books. Treasures. Insight. Growth.
In her memoir, Ordinary Light, she writes when asked if she wished she were white:
I don’t think we ever truly forgot about whites, even when we were alone among ourselves in the thick of family. I doubt any blacks do. There’s always a place in the mind that feels different, distinct; not worse off or envious but simply aware of an extra thing that living in a world that loathes and fears us has necessitated we develop. Perhaps that thing is the counterbalance to the history of loss I often tried to block out with silence: a riotous upswing that, quickly, painlessly, allows the mind to unravel from all the knowing and wondering it has been taught to do; a simple tickle of recognition capable of catching us up in a feeling—no matter how very fleeting—of historical joy.
Today, Tracy writes:
Every New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, my husband and I take part in a wish-making ceremony. It’s simple. We each make a list of five things we’re grateful for, five things we resolve to accomplish in the coming year, and a whopping ten gifts we’re ready to receive from the Universe…
It’s cathartic, a way of glimpsing yourself from three distinct perspectives: the recent past, the near future, and something like the Cosmic Present, where every conceivable possibility exists at once.
I sit with that as I also sit with these three questions from The Power of Open Questions by Elizabeth Matthis-Namgyel:
Can I stay present in the midst of limitless possibility?
Can I relax with wonderment?
Can I live my life as an open question?
And for a little humor. Two jokes have stayed with me this year.
Adam and Eve were the first people not to read the Apple terms and conditions.
And there is this:
“A horse walks into a bar and orders five shots of Jack.
The bartender says, “I think you’re an alcoholic.”
The horse replies, “I don’t think I am.” And promptly vanishes from existence.
This is a joke based on the line from the philosopher René Descartes. “I think, therefore I am.”
I would have explained the joke first. But that would have been putting Descartes before the horse.”
And for my grandchild:
I’m wrapped in love
A blanket swaddled, moving, breathing,
rippling, waving, trusting.
The balloon of my being opens-
You, grandchild, are my umbilical cord
breathing life and joy and love and bliss
in me and the wider world we see and be.