Monday, June 22, 2015


I suspect that at any other time, 
I would have walked right past it;
but I'm reading a book 
about spiritual practices 
that heighten mindfulness,
(An Altar in the World: 
A Geography of Faith 
by Barbara Brown Taylor).
so I was 'paying attention' -
even in the parking lot at Target.

It was right next to my car when I parked -
the discarded packaging for a toy -
and immediately the word
came to mind.
I imagined some child, 
so intent on finally getting what he thought he desperately wanted 
that he was oblivious to,
and simply didn't care about,
 the destruction he was causing around him.

I wish I could say that with Pope Francis's recent encyclical, 
exhorting us to examine all the ways 
in which we're destroying the planet we all inhabit,
my mind was immediately filled with thoughts and self righteous judgments
of global corporations and self absorbed billionaires,
looting and pillaging the environment,
but that would be a lie.

My mind, and heart, instinctively took a more personal turn.

I was forced to acknowledge 
that I know, firsthand,
about plundering.
It's been 30 years;
yet the truth is 
there is rarely a day when he doesn't cross my mind. 

We loved each other - 
and yearned for a different kind of relationship  - 
with a yearning that was both an intoxicating aphrodisiac
and an all consuming addiction
we couldn't  -
wouldn't -
give up.
Because that's how addictions work.

It had all seemed so complicated -
when it actually was the oldest kind of
simple -
he wasn't free to make a commitment 
to me
because he'd already made one 
to someone else.

And, for a long time, 
I didn't care.

I wanted what I wanted 
and would have willingly 
inflicted lasting damage 
to any number of people 
to get what I thought
I desperately wanted.

I have to admit,
this whole situation taught me 
one of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned:

is an answer 
to some prayers.

And thank God for the reality of that.

For some reason,
I needed to be reminded
of the very different trajectory
my life might have taken
hadbeen the one in control.

Reminders of important life lessons
don't always come in the forms you expect they would.

And they're fleeting ...
you can miss them
if you aren't paying attention.

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