I’ve been wanting to write these words to you all here for a long while; we have moved. It’s important to me for you to know that the time finally came for my family and I to leave our beloved river house that I have written so many letters to you from.
Some of you, I know, will feel this grief with me in a very real way. It was an incredibly special place and time and gift for our family. In turn, and at the right time, it could be nothing less than special when it was time to say goodbye to that space in time as well.
“O Seeker, pain and suffering make one aware of God.” -Rumi
Movement is the foundational idea beneath the ancient models of health I’ve studied. As a medical QiGong practitioner I get to help identify stagnation in our bodies as the place of our deepest need. As a student of the Hebrew scriptures I’ve learned prayer and meditation on the most basic level have to do with making a sound, a vibration—movement.
“A man grows most tired while standing still.” —Chinese Proverb
One of the most gentle and powerful movements in our world comes from the wind and likewise in our bodies, our breath. I’ve known so little about this, most of my life—gentleness and breath. I’m making up for “lost” time as though my life depends upon it. Maybe it does.
An excerpt for you from my Diary of a Woman Healing in our Slice of Wilds, that I’ve yet to share from my time away:
Dec. 1, 2022: As I understand it in grief we have to let a lot of things change, let a lot go. In a really practical way this has looked like my mornings, my daily routines. They say the more we let this (from the small to the not-so-small) be okay (now, in the moment of grief) the better we’ll be in the long term.
It seems to me that “let it go” is the mantra of the people who know the sorrowful halls aren’t curses, they’re callings. “Let it be” is the shalom of the hearts who trust a story can be written by someone other than ourselves, that sometimes the way we participate is by praising (even if pain-filled) instead of complaining. I’m not talking about fate. I’m not talking about denial. I’m talking about hope.
My brother said something to me tonight about hope that is true for a lot of us though. Many of us have been taught and bought an idea that is really only a facade of hope, it’s looked like toxic pedagogy—because it was—but we didn’t even know at the time that we gave up on the real thing…because nothing kills like a hope dissapointed. It’s so human to hope. We were made for it. It was made for us.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
After we moved from the river house the children and I went on a pretty big camping adventure that started on the West Coast of the United States, took us to the East Coast in the middle and then eventually brought us back to Washington State again, though we did not know that would be the story then. It was a real-life, heart-sick, journey that lead to nothing less than a tree-of-life-adventure. I’ll tell you more about that in time, I hope…
Two days before we moved, May 14, 2023 excerpt from my Diary of a Woman Healing in our Slice of Wilds:
I continue to hold to the words I heard in the forest on my destined day of decision, “What do I have to do with the dead?”
I know my answer now:
I lay them to rest with as much respect and care as I can. In the morning all of the kids and I will gather at the tree where I first heard those words in the forest and will deposit my rock collection kept for the entirety of my life. All the little treasured acorns and seeds and rocks and shells my children brought me as well as left in their pockets for me to find at laundry time. Rocks and mementos from nature, leaves and dried flowers, from all of the places Jay and I traveled even before we married to all the places we moved and traveled since. I cannot express the worth of this collection to me. I always intended the children would lay it at our gravesite.
They’ve asked to keep the special jars I kept the collection in, covered with names of places and quotes that were meaningful to me then and a rock or shell or two to carry with them. I like that, and I also imagine the tears will flow freely once the act is upon me.
I’ve been saying goodbye to this place for so long now, thanking it, thanking Heaven, tomorrow I’ll do it formally and with some finality. I’m grateful for this.
In the midst of it all, these happenings and rushing waters that I could only do my best to keep my head above water throughout, the kindest hearts have shown up in our lives like the spring carpet of flowers in the front meadow. Human hearts and the animals alike (especially our deer) have been such gentle companions as we learn to release what was only ever on loan to us but that we have loved with our whole hearts.
That was it. That was my last entry until we were on the road, at our first campsite.
May 16, 2023 excerpt from my Diary of a Woman Healing in our Slice of Wilds:
Nehalem Bay state Park, tent camping site A47:
Our first night camp was sweet and the kids just asked me if they could walk to the ocean, a couple through the woods with moose and deer making noise behind us and three down a trail. My heart is full and I had the words go through my mind: I love this life.
I still have so much wonder over this. Over the way totally sincere sorrow-full tears can flow into sacred awe…I think it stands tantamount to, as Agur said,
“There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.”
-The sayings of Agur, Proverbs 30:18&19 (emphasis added mine)
Or, to quote Rumi again:
“Sorrow prepares you for joy.”
So counter intuitive, and yet, such. a. true. story.
I know this is one of my longer blog posts but stay a minute longer? The next thing I’ve wanted to tell you, and waited so long to say, has written these words of wisdom in my heart in a way that is still beyond speech for me, but I know is time to at least try to say out loud. Please forgive my bluntness as I begin…
Jay and I are divorced.
I won’t be going into the details of this now, but as I have said many times before and is true in my heart: you are my friends and it was important to me that you know these things.
We’ve moved. Jay and I.
I’ve been saying goodbye to this place for so long now, thanking it, thanking Heaven, today I do it formally, publicly, and with some finality. I’m grateful for your witness. It matters.
Some of you, I know, will also feel this grief with me in a very real way. I am sorry for your sorrow too.
Being united and in covenant with Jay was and will always be one of the most important places and times and gifts of my life. In turn, and at the right time, it could be nothing less when it was time to say goodbye.
“In each moment the fire rages, it will burn away a hundred veils. And carry you a thousand steps toward your goal.”
With you in Love,