Advent 2016: Humility Smackdown

I really, really miss Yancey these days.

One of the things he did when he wasn't away at paramedic school was take care of Wyatt and Loretta's every physical need--cutting nails, getting neosporin and bandaids, booking and facilitating docter and dentist appointments. Loretta has been suffering for 9 months from horribly ingrown toenails, and I've taken her to several procedures since Yancey left. She barely let me and cried for Yancey every time. (There has been lots of pain involved. Probably the most suffering she's had in her little life.)

Today was (hopefully) the last one, and that's where this poem came from. After the numbing needle took effect and she was playing a game on my phone, I finally had the good sense to reflect on what an ass I'd been AND the good sense to let it go (that last part is newer for me--thank you, therapists, spiritual directors, payer, and Emily).

How I wish I was as wise and centered as my discourse sometimes makes me out to be! I was with a friend last week who told me she put me up on a pedestal, and I wish she could have seen me in the car with Loretta today. Crash and burn. Big time. Jon Kabat Zinn says, “You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.” Shit. Real wisdom right there. If there was a way to arrive at wisdom without messiness, I would have taken that course a long time ago.

Run-in with a 9 Year-Old

We get in a fight over heat--
I'm hot, you're cold, I tell you
to quit bossing me around.

I give you the silent treatment
all the way to the doctor's office.

Then, you're holding onto me,
crying out, "Mama! Mama!"
like you did when you were two,
and that's all it takes

for me to find the adult I left behind
somewhere on the freeway,
the one who can sometimes rise above
her rotten day,
keep her eyes on the road,
put her hand on your knee,
laugh at herself,
take the long view,

remember that being human
is the only thing we can be.