Love. Presence. Sacrifice. With.

I have gotten behind on these words. A whirlwind 4 day trip to Houston for my nephew’s wedding left me backlogged. I realize that the point of this discipline, as a spiritual practice, is to encourage me to pay attention more closely throughout my day, not at all about producing something publishable here each evening. That kind of pressure actually takes me out of my intention to be present in a different way to my life. I also understand that a commitment to the discipline of any practice – be it putting pen to paper, seat to the cushion, or fingertip to the shutter release- is what cultivates the growth of a gift bearing tree.

The words on my list, the ones I have missed are these-




And today’s word –


Love. Presence. Sacrifice. With.

This afternoon I stood up my 7 year old granddaughter. I was supposed to arrive in her classroom to be the mystery reader at 3 o’clock. At 5 o’clock I received a sad-faced text from her father/my son.

I was devastated.

Now I could go into self-defense mode, in order to protect myself from feeling the brunt of disappointing someone whom I love so dearly. Mostly in order to protect myself from self-hatred. I could talk about how I spent an hour this morning seeking out accessible transportation for my 86 year old mother’s presurgery appointment because her facility’s van was scheduled by the time the surgeon was able to make arrangements, how I wanted to take the burden of that off of my sisters’ shoulders, how I have felt like I’m trying to make up for so many years of being the ‘bad daughter’.

I could tell about how the weekend unfolded at my nephew’s wedding. I could tell the story of me wanting to accept the invitation to spend a curative week at the beach with my sister prior to the wedding, how my husband was so disappointed about my wanting to travel early to the wedding ­­without him, when we had planned to travel together (making it a choice between him and her), that I couldn’t make that choice to go with her. I could talk about wanting to be there for her at the wedding itself, because I could be when so many others could not (how that saddened her heart). How another family member who was there had caused her great pain, how difficult it felt to walk that line of grace, about the moments of awkwardness during which I continually reminded myself that the weekend was not about me, but about being present for my sister and her son. I could talk about the beauty of that wedding, my sister’s glowing, her son’s.

I could mention the fact that I missed 2 granddaughter’s birthday parties this weekend, and a daughter-in-law’s birthday on Monday (to whom I sent an e-gift from Houston to the wrong email address, which I spent some time trying to amend this afternoon, when I should have been reading in her daughter’s classroom). I could talk about pondering with remorse that same daughter-in-law this weekend, wondering if I’d made her feel as out of place for not wanting to rough it while camping as I felt shamed by another for not wanting to shake it on the dancefloor. I could talk about always feeling like the ‘bad grandmother’, the ‘bad mother-in-law’.

I could talk about catching up with my daughter on the phone over lunch, about another son’s similar phone call on his way home from work, about connecting with a friend on a walk to the post office, similarly connecting with dear friends over dinner last evening. I could mention how good it felt to begin again my at home exercise routine this afternoon (probably about the time I should’ve been hopping into the car to drive to my granddaughter’s school), how I’d spent an hour before that in sheer luxury, reading of Charles Darwin’s overflowing delight at the world that was unfolding before him aboard the Beagle, feeling for a moment his sense of wonder, the resonance of that across time and space, the way his rapt attention inspired him to create his opus.

There, I guess I did it. Talked about it. Defended myself. Made my excuses. Denied my flaws. Still I feel awful. The truth is I easily could have made it. The truth is I really WANTED to be there and would’ve delighted in doing so- my heart had leapt at the invitation. The truth is I just didn’t remember to check my calendar.

Love. Presence. Sacrifice. With.

I expect that those words belong to one another, the way that we do.

Sacrifice is the hardest one of those words for me. I can never quite figure out what it is I ought to be sacrificing in order to satisfy the other three. Sacrifice whom in order to be Present With whom? And how does that equation balance out in order to equal Love. The truth is that sacrifice would not be sacrifice at all if it wasn’t something precious that we had to let go in order to be present with that which we Love equally as dearly. The truth is that relationship requires Presence in order to feel at all like Love, in the same way that practice requires discipline (its own kind of Presence) in order to bear its own gift of Love to the world. The truth is that being With myself in this moment is heartbreaking.

The truth is I just didn’t remember to check my calendar.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elaine
    Mar 09, 2018 @ 08:44:58

    Love it!!!#



  2. Trackback: free | Emmaatlast's Weblog
  3. Randy
    Mar 13, 2018 @ 05:03:37

    This is so beautifully, wonderfully human. I can certainly relate.



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