All In A Day’s Hike

Well-worn hiking resting in sunshine on rocky trail
A pair of well-worn hiking boots sit on a rock somewhere on a trail on a sunny summer’s day.

When I went down, I went down hard, the left side of my body taking the brunt of the fall.  Grateful for the pair of sunglasses, now scratched beyond repair, that protected my eye, I still hit hard enough that I will have a colorful shiner for about a week, not to mention the lump on my forehead.

I didn’t see the root that snaked its way across the trail, didn’t see that it was calling my name and just waiting for me. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t on the trail at all, but just jumped out in front of me at the last minute snatching my hiking boot in it’s nasty little teeth, causing me to fall. You think tree roots don’t have teeth? HA!

The long walk back to the car with Dean’s arm wrapped around my waist guiding me past other ill-intended roots and rocks helped me get back into my body, so I no longer felt like I was going to puke or pass out. Taking his husbandly advice to breathe, I’ll never underestimate the power of deep breathing again.

So, we made it home and I stood in the shower, soaping myself down, trying to get rid of the dirt and pebbles stuck in and to my skin.  Swollen face. Swollen shoulder. Swollen elbow and an awesome amount of road rash. Spray on Hydrogen Peroxide was no picnic, but hours later, the swelling started to subside. The road rash still burned like hell, and that shiner started turning a deep shade of purple.

What a blessing it is, to be active in my life. “I’m down, you stupid tree root, but I’m not out. I’ll see you again, on my terms!” I have no broken bones, and even though I’m sore all over, this morning the swelling has gone way down. I know that with a day or two of rest and I’ll be back to my old tricks again, though I think I should watch where I’m going.

In the meantime, I have a great excuse to curl up on the couch for the day, watching Home and Garden Television, in between naps. A little later I’ll soak in an Epson salts bath and begin plotting my revenge against that tree root!

Our Breaking Heart

iStock_000002145962XSmallI turned off the news, but I couldn’t get it to stop playing in my head–the young black mother, her baby girl in the back seat, “I’m right here mama.” Her fiancé dying in the seat next to her while a cop, still pointing a gun screams and shakes. He is so out of balance. Oh my God what have you done what have you done?

My heart won’t stop aching for the cops shot to death while they were trying to protect the protesters. I think about their families and their children and the big gaping wound it has left. Everywhere, the light of life is being snuffed out in our world and no one can see in all this darkness.

And politicians have been greedy and lying for so long that no one remembers the truth. Public service is just a quaint term that doesn’t mean anything, anymore. Only losers serve, isn’t that right? We want winners, isn’t that right? And who wins when we are shooting each other up? Got an axe to grind? Get a gun and go for it. God Bless the NRA. Is this what we have become? In Washington they stand safely behind their podiums and speak their ugly rhetoric. They point fingers and sneer while people around them die.

You know where the love happens? Not at the top, that’s for sure. It happens with old ladies in churches who reach into their pocket books and give up that last crumpled five-dollar bill that they’d been saving, so that someone else can have food. And those at the top who should be humbled by such a strong and noble gesture mumble “loser,” “taker.” It’s all backward, isn’t it?

And I pray “sweet Jesus where are you in all of this?” And damn if he doesn’t keep whispering in my ear, “get up and do something– don’t come running to me– you all made this mess. It’s yours to clean up!”

My heart is sick from watching cops getting shot, gays getting shot, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Blacks, children getting shot to death. When did we become so full of hatred? When did we start believing that guns are what would redeem us?

I keep hearing a truth. It bounces around my head. It is that we are all equally precious in the Creator’s sight.

I cannot sleep. I turn off the news but I cannot sleep and I want to cry because my heart is sick and I think I can’t be the only one. Our whole heart breaking. It creaks and moans from the strain and weight of so much anguish. I do what I know how to do and I sit up late with my keyboard and I write it down because words are my wailing. This is not my pain or your pain this is our pain. And it rushes out through my fingers onto the keys and onto the page.

Give me your hand and let me tell you that I see you, and that you matter before some
asshole on Facebook tells everyone to stop whining and sucking up all the oxygen. That is what our leaders have been modeling for us — ignorance. Just be numb. But I am not that. And you are not that. Look at us. We are all violence weary, suffering from a collective PTSD.

Each one of us is precious in the Creator’s sight. The asshole on Facebook is precious in His sight too. Take my hand. I feel you and you matter, I want to tell him. Stop worshiping “mean.” It won’t help you.

And today I will keep the news off again. I have to look away and catch my breath. Today I will look for the little things that affirm life: squashes ripe in the garden, a pink sunrise, a long walk with the dog. But I can’t stop hearing the unrelenting pain in that black woman’s voice, her baby girl in the back seat, “I’m right here with you mama.” And I can’t stop seeing all the senseless killing. We kill each other instead of loving each other. How did we get here?

I am not alone you are not alone. I see you and you matter. Here take my hand and I will take yours and we’ll walk together. Better, link your arm with mine and with the person next to you and let’s walk together. Love matters. Not the killing. Not the death. Not the news. Not the politics. Love matters. You are God’s precious child and you matter. I am not alone, and you are not alone and we are not alone together. Maybe if we cry together. . . then we can start the healing.