Love Note

muffin-eating Loretta

I dare you to sit in front of this muffin-faced rascal and feel blue.

Winter is doing a number on me. I've heard there are some people in the world whose sadness, madness, or darkness means they paint more. Or write more. Apparently, that's not true for me. I was just beginning to wonder if I'd ever log in here again when some universal promptings showed up. A comment from Grace Young, my hero of Chinese cooking and wok love. A nudge on Facebook. And finally, some little well in me beginning to fill up. Some quiet voice that said, "When you don't have anything to say, that's saying something, too."

In my professional life, I help individuals, groups, and organizations be appreciative as they go through change. Usually, I get helped too. Recently, I facilitated a retreat for a friend who's trying to discern what's next. We read this passage from William Bridge's Transitions:

One of the difficulties of being in transition in the modern world is that we have lost our appreciation for this gap in the continuity of existence. For us, "emptiness" represents only the absence of something. So when what's missing is something as important as relatedness and purpose and reality, we try to find ways of replacing these missing elements as quickly as possible. That state of affairs, we imagine, cannot be an important part of the transition process: we hope it can only be a temporary, if unfortunate, situation to be endured.

In this view, transition is seen as a kind of street-crossing procedure. One would be a fool to stay out there in the middle of the street any longer than was necessary; so once you step off the curb, you move on to the other side as fast as you can. And whatever you do, don't sit down on the centerline to think things over!

I'm on the centerline. And it feel dangerous! Moving from Seattle to Bellingham seemed liked a clear end and a clear beginning. But I forgot about the drab Neutral Zone. And then there's sunless days, two funerals in six weeks, and the little boy in Wyatt's class who said to Yancey, "Can I trade my dad for you?" 

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I love Valentines Day. I always have. Especially those little white bakery bags, decorated with red and pink hearts, full of friendly messages. I remember keeping everything intact for weeks, taking the cards out, reading them, and putting them back in in their envelopes. You don't have to tell me twice to celebrate love. I'm all over it. And that makes me very open to sadness, too. Sometimes it finds me and it takes up residence, right there with the love.

Were I to relate this to food (not hard!), I'd say my New Year's resolve to take care of myself has been what's sustained me. I've been getting outside to run or walk, eating great, and doing crazy things like drinking kale smoothies. If I try, I can see this (mild) depression as a gift, getting my attention and maybe leading me deeper into love if I don't try to squirm out of it, if I don't try to get to the other side of the street too fast.

The photo is from Loretta's preschool valentine party today. 16 5-year-olds opening Valentines. If that isn't a cure for what ails you, I don't know what is. Wherever you are tonight, favorite readers, I hope you're reaching in and pulling out some love notes. Consider this one. xo