Traveling Mercies

Broken things have been on my mind as the year lurches to an end, because so much broke and broke down this year in my life, and in the lives of the people I love. Lives broke, hearts broke, health broke, minds broke. On the first Sunday of Advent our preacher, Veronica, said that this is life’s nature, that lives and hearts get broken, those of people we love, those of people we’ll never meet. She said the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward, and that we, who are more or less OK for now, need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers. And then she went on vacation.

“Traveling mercies,” the old black people at our church said to her when she left. This is what they say when one of us goes off for a while. Traveling mercies: Be safe, notice beauty, enjoy the journey, God is with you.
~Anne Lamott

Positive Thinking versus Being Positive

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~Anais Nin

We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.
~Anne Lamott

Positive thinking versus being positive.  One is a concept; a precept of the mind where you try to convince yourself of your own enough-ness.  The other is a knowing that you already are.  At what point do we start believing and stop trying to persuade ourselves?  At what point do we realize how unnecessary all the positive thinking was?  It does come you know – FINALLY.  Maybe it’s age or experience or perhaps a great love finally sets us free, and we stop reassuring ourselves with thoughts of devotion and beauty and fulfillment and just relax into being.  No longer needing the stories we used to tell ourselves.