I loved this book. Even when she annoyed me, she had me. She's at her best on the edges, and boy does she have a lot of edges.
She's a bad mom's best friend.
Evidence: The kickoff quote
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Rev. John Watson
"Including you." - Glennon
"if you are thin and smile a lot, people tend to believe that you have the universe's secrets in your pocket and that a raindrop has never fallen on your head."
"Since brokenness is the way of folks, the only way to live peacefully is to forgive everyone constantly, including yourself."
"Life is hard--not because we're doing it wrong, just because it's hard."
"You can hide from the sun, but it won't take that personally. It'll never, ever punish you for hiding. You can stay in the dark for years or decades, and when you finally step outside, it'll be there, steady and bright as ever, just waiting for you to notice, to come out, to be warmed. ... The sunrise was my daily invitation ... to come back to life."
"[W]riting, reading, water, walks, forgiving myself every other minute, practicing easy yoga, taking deep breaths, and petting my dogs ... don't fill me up completely, but they remind me that it is not my job to fill myself. It's just my job to notice my emptiness and find gradeful ways to live as a broken, unfilled human."
"My experience has been that even with God, life is hard. It's hard just because it's hard being holey. We have to live with that. If there's a silver lining to the hole, here it is: the unfillable, God-sized hole is what brings people together. It've never made a friend by bragging about my strengths, but I've made countless by sharing my weakness, my emptiness, and my life-as-a-wild-goose-chase-to-find-the-unfindable. Holes are good for making friends, and friends are the best fillers I've found yet. Maybe because other people are the closest we get to God on this side. So when we use them to find God in each other, we become holy."
"Writing is about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice. When you write your truth, it is a lover offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone."
"As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is 'to sift,' as in shake out the excesses and leave only what's important. That's what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away."
"Friend, we need you. The world has suffered while you've been hiding. You are already forgiven. You are loved. All there is left to do is step into your life.
"We had helped each other grow up together. Together is good. Not easy, but good."
"It's really hard to distinguish between a chute and a ladder. Maybe all my days are filled with little miracles, but I'm too distracted by what I think is my life to notice them. Sometimes bad news is the best way to see all the good quickly and clearly. Bad news has a way of waking us up, sort of life a glass of cold water in the face. We might prefer waking in a gentler way, but we can't argue with the efficiency of the cold-water method."
Joanna Macy: "the heart that breaks open can contain the universe."
"Grief is not something to be fixed. It's something to be borne, together. And when the time is right, there is always something that is born from it. After real grief, we are reborn as people with wider and deeper vision and greater compassion for the pain of others. We know that. So through our friend's grief, we maintain in our hears the hope that in the end, good will come out of it. But we don't say that to our friend. We let our friend discover that on her own. Hope is a door each one must open for herself."
"Reading is my inhale and writing is my exhale. If I am not reading and writing regularly, I begin to suffocate and tend to climb the nearest person like a frantic cat, clawing at the person's eyeballs and perching on his head, desperate to find a breath of air."
"I pray and pray for God to help me feel some peace and stillness in the midst of my mommy life instead of feeling constantly like a dormant volcano likely to erupt at any given moment and burn my entire family alive. And God says: Well, G, here's the thing. Peace isn't the absence of distraction or annoyance or pain. It's finding ME, finding peace and calm, in the midst of those distractions and annoyances and pains."
And you have to go read the ENTIRE "Initiation" chapter. I laughed until I cried. The description of her direction-challenged relatives and their misadventures in cooking are priceless.
"Repentence is the magical moment when a sliver of light finds its way into a place of darkness in my heart, and I'm able to see clearly how my jerkiness is keeping me from peace and joy in a specific area of my life.
The chapter on "Sucker - On Vacumming" is also hilarious in its entirety.
"I stopped sharing important things with [my husband] Craig. I stopped offering him special gifts because the offerings felf like a waste of my time and breath. Like each day we were building sand castles that were washed away each night. So now we go through the motions, doing what a husband and wife are 'supposed' to do... I save my real stuff--my hard stories and worries and thoughts--for Sister, my parents, my girlfriends, and the blank page... Is wanting more too demanding? Am I asking my husband to communicate like a woman? Or is it sexist to suggest that a man can't get as deep and true as a woman can? ...
[H]ere's what happens: I recoil from Craig's touch often. He hugs me, and I politely endure, looking over his shoulder at the unfinished dishes and the toys on the floor lying in wait to break my ankle... Sometimes the anger is mild, like annoyance. I'm so tired after a long day with the kids, so used up, so saturated by need and touch already, why must you be needy too? Can't we just be grown-ups and do something practical? There's so much still to do: the laundry needs to be folded, the lunches packed, forms signed... miles to go before sleep. Is there really time for something so unproductive? And really, we haven't talked, really talked for weeks.
Anais Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom."
"Look. I know it's hard. It's all so damn hard and confusing and complicated and things get wound up so tight you can't even find the ends sometimes. All I'm saying is that somebody's got to pour that first glass of wine. Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It's simply something to do."
"When Dorothy Parker was asked if she loved writing, she replied, 'No. But I love having written.' What I want to say to the sweet women [who tell me to enjoy every minute of raising my small children because it goes so fast, and oh, they just loved every minute of being a parent], 'Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
"There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time. It's one minute at a time, staring down the clock until bedtime time. It's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, four screaming minutes in time-out time, two hours until Dady gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow-passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.
These Kairos moments leave as fast as they come, but I mark them. I say the word Kairos in my head each time I leave Chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my Kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. That makes the pain of daily parenting climb worth it."
"what I do when I make a big or little parenting mistake, which is several hundred times a day, I try to remember two things: #1 Who I am / #2 My most important parenting job
human beings make mistakes. Almos tconstantly. We fall short of what we aim for, always. ... That's okay. It's just the way it is. We're human. Can't fight it... Then I remember what my most important parenting job is, and that is to teach my children how to deal with being human. Because most likely, that's where they're headed. No matter what I do, they're headed toward being messed-up humans faster than three brakeless railroad cars.
There is really only one way to deal gracefully with being human, and that is this: Forgive yourself.
It's not once-and-for-all thing, self-forgivenss. It's more like a constant attitude. It's just being hopeful. It's refusing to hold your breath. It's loving yourself enough to offer yourself a million more tries. It's what we want our kids to do every day for their whole lives, right? We want them to embrace being human instead of fighting against it. We want them to offer themselves grace. Forgiveness and grace are like oxygen: we can't offer it to tohers unless we put our masks on first. We have to put our grace masks on and breathe in deep. We have to show them how it's done. We need to love ourselve sif wea want our kids to love themselves.We don't necesssarily have to love them more; we have to love ourselves more. We have to gentle with ourselves. We have to forgive ourselves an then ... oh my goodness ... find ourselves sort of awesome, actually, considering the freaking circumstances."
"we don't love people and animals because we will have them forever; we love them because loving them changes us, makes us better, healthier, kinder, realer. Loving people and animals makes us stronger in the right ways and weaker in the right ways. Even if animals and people leave, even if they die, they leave us better. So we keep loving, even though we might lose, because loving teaches us and changes us."
And then the Transcendentalist chapter. Fall on the floor funny. Followed by Office Superhero. A true parenting parable.
"At the August's family meeting, I smiled pretty and announced to the children that I was officially done with the following: Smiling when people spill things. I am past the mommy point of no return. Which means that I can no longer pretend that I'm not mad at you when you spill your cereal, water, or entire dinner plate fifteen seconds after I put it in front of you. I know I've been acting calm and saying, 'It's okay, sweetie' through clenched teeth for a few years now. That's all over. It's not okay, actually. If you spill, expect the wrath. Prepare for it, take a deep breath, 'cause it's a-coming'. Oh yes, I know it was an accident, Mom! and i"m sure your future therapist will be happy to talk to you about how this injustice made you feel. Please know that I have forgiven myself unequivocally for my unfairness, random rage, and unforgiveness, and I can only hope that this will bring you comfort."
"Writing, painting, acting, creating, living out loud: Are they acts of humility or confidence? Yes. They're both. That's what I've decided. Confidence and humilty are two sides of the same coin. They are character traits that stem from the two beliefs I hold most dear. I think most of our character traits are simply manifestations of what we believe to be true.
I am confident because I believe that I am a child of God. I am humble because I believe that everyone else is, too.
They go hand in hand. They've got to. If I am humble but lack confidence, it is because I haven't accepted that there is a divine spark inside me. It means that I don't believe in the miracle that I was made by God for a purpose all my own, and so I am worthy of the space that I occupy on this earth. And that as a child of God, no deserves more respect, joy, or peace than I. As a child of God, I have the right to speak, to feel, to think, and to believe what I believe. ...
And If I am confident but not humble, it is because I have not fully accepted that everyone has won the lottery. Because everyone has the same amount of God in her. If I am in the habit of turning my back on others, it is beause I haven't learned that God approaches us in the disguise of other people. If I am confident but not humble, my mind is closed. If my mind is closed, my heart is closed. A closed heart is so sad. It is the ned. A heart cannot grow any larger if it decides to let no more God in. There is always room for more. A heart expands exactly as much a her owner allows."
Howard Thurman: "Don't ask what the world needs. As what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
"I have a sign in my house that says, 'WE CAN DO THE HARD THINGS,' and sometimes I think I should add a second one below it that says, 'BUT WE CANNOT DO THE EASY THINGS."