This is hallowed ground, the space I live now. It has seen, absorbed, reflected, cried, and held the living of a life myriad and vast, endlessly new and achingly circling back on itself. One more chance to say the thing I haven’t said the other go rounds. One more pass by, not quite yet, the pull of the unknown tenuous, the sameness gradually better, cleaner, sturdier.

I live by different rules now, more mine, less justified, stirred together with some old unsaid rules that keep me in a small state of confusion, a tension between the two the thing I notice, the thing that leans me a little to the left of gratitude.

A few things bring me back, swift and straight~ my children, gathered in a room, laughing, piled on and entwined, these people who before me didn’t live, didn’t know how much they loved each other. I introduced them, and that act is a saving, wavering grace, that will last long after me, a gift to them of each other, my lingering love ever dusted up when they are together.

I follow their togethered love in pure wonder, I will listen to them laughing long after I am gone, isn’t that what all parents do? Conjured up in the delighted spaces where siblings become soul stunning friends.

It is easy to heal the tension I carry when I am in the middle of this comfortable pile of beloved humans, who didn’t know each other before me~who made their way here, all because they wanted to, and oh, how I needed them to find me too.

This is hallowed space we share now, grounded in the kind of love I didn’t know before I met them.


I’ve tried religion. For a good portion of my life I followed the prescription of fast, pray, read your scriptures. I wanted to know what it felt like to feel the spirit and then, caught, wondered how to stop repenting. I stayed on that road until it became a path littered with my own failure to stay unquestioning enough to believe.

In the library of my small public school, I found an illustrated book of bible stories that I checked out many times, the pages a map of glorious hope that there was something I could be called to do, to be. I have always been a seeker, a finder of lovely words and possible magic. I sensed the divine in shadowy places, ever thinking I have finally found it.

I have known the study of book after book, spines broken against my questions, forever evolving past the point of needing them, only to open the next, the newest. The soul friends I have gathered saying no need for them to find the chapter and verse of their knowing, I will do that for them, bringing them the highlights, the best, the eye opening passages of insight sold and bartered for connection and togetherness.

There is a temple door, so small, so quiet, so brief, and the way to get there is to stop trying to get in; to stop trying to bring people with me. I fear being alone even in my love for alone-ness. I fear the empty chair more than I slow myself enough to sit. I endlessly speak—and that could be what locks the door to that small sacred place. The entryway key to my own salvation held fast in a hand that does not need saving.

Once religious, is there always a part that stays sorrowful? That pines for a shimmering afterlife while living in the here and now—that pleads, even silently, for redemption, absolution?

Once bereft of a connection to god, can there be connection? The cycle of worthiness played out without the release of the prayer of resolution, the supplicant left the same, unbaptized and dry, and yet—

There is one more way that calls to me, and it is one I have not dared try, because it must be alone, unshared and unspoken. I hear it in the toll of a faraway bell with the last light of day. I dream of its beginning, hallowed and whole, and the invitation means an ending for me of the old ways, the final laying down of what I have held, believing.

For someone who has never not worked around the fullness of religion, it’s seeking, finding, struggling and leaving, the one last sacrifice in this many roomed mansion is it’s undoing.


Are you happy, someone recently asked me. Sitting still for just a moment head turned to think that through I answered, no. That’s not a word I believe I am. You’re not happy? No.

Then what are you?

I’m not happy because I’ve tried that. I’ve done the dance toward something that feels uphill for me, sliding back down at the first dark twist of the full moon. The wolf howling I can’t listen to when I’m reaching for happy, cheerful.

So what are you then?

I’d like to think it’s joy I feel when I see a field of purple flowers against a white mountained backdrop, that it’s enjoyment when I sip the perfectly hot cup of coffee, sweet and held in my morning tired hands. I’d like to think it’s content I feel when I sit back against a hard day, relief and gratitude that it’s over mixed up in the choices I’ve made to bring me back to the home that holds me to the ground.

Happiness for me is a pendulum that swings too quickly back to unhappy, pulling too far one way pushes me so far the other into unhappy, discontent, apathy, and the fast fight to get back to the other side. One bad, the other good; that thinking has upended the balance that otherwise holds me suspended in the middle. Everything gathered in the small storm that is all mine, all feeling, all the time.

Happy takes explaining, and I think I’m done with that.

So you’re not happy?

No, not happy, but so many other things, that when put together make me more than happy, I’d like to think they make me just—me.


My life has been lived in third person, so much of it a retelling of what has happened, a foreshadowing of what might happen, and all the winnowing ways I have gotten here, to avoid there.

This kind of living leans forward and back, unsure of whether something happened that way, or did I retell the story this way? Every projection of what’s coming slightly different, each ‘what if’ casting me in the circle of the things I might stumble over.

When I can see myself in the the mind of my life, I know I’m not living. It can’t happen at the same time; either I’m five-sensed experiencing it, or I’m wondering about it, my minds eye seeing me, two dimensional and barely focused. But it’s clearer now; that’s not living. That’s rehearsing.

I’m beginning to understand that the retelling of my story is more a chorus than a soliloquy, the gathering of other peoples’ recollection of me knit into an ill fitting vest of reminders of when I let someone down.

The story of my life has been told back to me, in small whispers, shouldered and filtered and carried to this place.

And this is where it rests.

The life I’m living forward won’t hold the stitches of the way other people wished I would have been. All the times I wasn’t true to someone’s version of me need to be laid down, the exhaled understanding that the seams won’t hold because I didn’t tailor them.

It is a gift to sense what someone else wants, the filaments of need snaking in the air, ready to be charmed back in the basket by music played from memory. I just didn’t realize how many times what someone needed was for me to be different. It wasn’t that I charmed the snake, it’s that I was cast as it; and then it was mine to coax back into submission.

If my life is to be lived in first person, the first person I cannot betray is me. If I look back it is to remember what it felt like to be unwatched and unnoticed. When life was fully lived in one day, wandering in bee buzzing fields free and wild, charmed by the music of day croaking into night.

That is where it begins.