At the bottom of this post is a little recipe for green beans.

In-between is lots of other stuff. Skip ahead if you're the utilitarian type. Many days, that's me. 

Thanks to my friend Elizabeth, I'm now part of a neighborhood Facebook page for women who are exercising (or trying to). I love seeing everyone's posts: "Saw you on the trail this morning--woo hoo!" or "My goal is 50 miles this month." They make me want to get out there.

So I am. I've even tried a few runs lately, which is fraught with anxiety for me. I don't talk about it much here, but I had a back injury over 5 years ago that has resulted in daily pain ever since. Sometimes my pain is a level 1 or 2, most days it's a 3 or 4, and there are moments of TEN. I've had at least 3 years of physical therapy, lots of massage (not the relaxing kind), acupuncture, an MRI, an x-ray. The diagnosis is that my lower back is tight as all get-out and won't flex for anything. It's kind of like riding in a car without shocks. I feel everything. And there's nothing that can be done for it except be diligent with my exercises, keep moving, and not doing anything stupid (like moving couches or entering a weight-lifting competition).

Yesterday, running on the trail with Padré (my perfect dog), I had alternating thoughts of "I hope to God I'm not totally *&$#ing up my back, " and "I'm doing it! Thank you, Jesus!" I decided to go with the latter. All of us have reasons NOT TO (exercise, meditate, take a risk, be vulnerable). For the last 5 years, my caution has been my back pain. It's not going away and I need to be careful, but I also have to LIVE. 

My spiritual director quotes Ilia Delio: "God is love, the fountain fullness of love, the unstoppable love of love itself, always in the process of becoming more love." In other words, love doesn't run out! Goodness doesn't run out! It's not a zero-sum game. Sometimes I think, "I'm so content in my life right now. When is the other shoe going to drop?" My spiritual director said to me, "Never. You don't have to wonder, 'Would I be content if I were paralyzed tomorrow?' All you have to do is be present NOW and trust you'll have what you need when things change (or your back gives out)." Unstoppable love.

I know I'm dipping into the aquifer of the Spirit when I start to write poetry. That's been happening (though my spiritual director cautioned me that I haven't fully let go yet. I agree with her). This one is about my 10-year old Wyatt and the unstoppable love I have for him. And the way dynamics are bound to change over time. That's the letting go part.

Dropping you off at Camp

These days, you’re a front-seat passenger.
You like to fiddle with the radio,
finding a song you can sing to,
one you can feel.

I try not to ask too many questions—
how summer is going,
if you’re nervous about fifth grade,
if you pray before you fall asleep
or if you ever get scared.

Instead, I bury myself in the pure pleasure
of being next to you,
sharing a car ride, humming along,
shoulder-to-shoulder before all the years
we’re not.


And here's the beans for you practical types.

Green Beans with Korean Vinaigrette
Parboil some very fresh green beans (thank you, Sage and Sky, for growing ours!). Do this by bringing a lot of salted water to a boil, dropping your cleaned and trimmed green beans in, bringing back up to a boil, and setting the timer for 3 minutes. Dump them into a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Make your vinaigrette by combining 1 minced garlic clove, 1 Tb. of Korean chile paste, 1 Tb. sesame oil, 2 Tb. vegetable oil, 1 Tb. honey, 1 Tb. toasted sesame seeds, a bit of crumbled seaweed, 1 Tb. rice vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with cooled green beans and sprinkle some more sesame seeds on top.