rabid bits of time

I’ve been processing time.

I think about it a whole lot. If you’ve ever read this blog, you know I’m always rambling on about brevity and grace and how messy all of this is.

There is so much going on in the broader scheme of things that worry me — that load me down and sometimes it feels like the light can barely get in. It’s an anxiousness. Perhaps even a restlessness that I feel — like a bad dream where you open your mouth to talk and nothing comes out.

This is the dark part. How people don’t recognize their dark parts is beyond me. I am in a constant state of sinking into my body and learning about myself in ways I wouldn’t if I didn’t allow myself to wander around.

I wish I was easier to understand, sometimes. I wish I didn’t speak out as much about things people don’t agree with or comply to the standards of my own name.

I sense the sins of a past. All I want to do is cover them in grace and move forward. Being stuck in that life is no way to live. I have made bad decisions based on being deeply emotional and full of that urge of wanting to be right, and wanting to feel good. We all do that. Then something happens. We change. They change. We get shot out of orbit and find ourselves once again, floating around something that is familiar, but altogether different.

We are not a graceful people. If anything, this past months shows us that there is a force pushing forward and another pushing back. (And I’m not taking sides here.)

I am opening my mind to everything, trying to see the most good, for the most people. To me, some things feel like they’re moving backwards. For others, it looks like things are going forward. This is where I get lost in everything. It’s when I feel the most chaotic and raw.

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God. I have no idea what to do next. Life is mostly simple sounding. We go to work and we come home. Some of us have kids that we take care of — and we do the whole thing over and over again. That is what life mostly is, spotted with bits of sadness and joy and vacations.

We get to have it, though. Just for a little bit. I am not built for changing governments or being in a trench. Truly. I support some people who are, but I’ve always said my place in a revolution is hovering over pots and pans and feeding bellies.

My heart for justice came first out of that. I know that I am not in Calcutta or Chicago anymore. But I am still feeding people, and giving them good memories. I am still caring more than I have to about a silly sandwich and maybe hoping my co-workers still believe in me enough to be a decent leader and friend. These balances are awfully hard.

Most of the time I write I do not come to any conclusions. I don’t have a sense of clarity or any answer that might turn on some switch in my brain.

I write to explore and to explore myself. My little galaxy spinning almost effortlessly in the midst of a vast sea of space and time.

We are moving in rabid bits of time.

It is impossible to know the next step, but we take them regardless.

So, keep pushing on and keep pushing forward. Time has an easier way of moving forward than back. Whatever it is you are hanging on to, it’s time to start loosening your grip. You don’t get a lot of time here.

You are your own little time machine and have the incredible opportunity to use it to the best of your ability.

Open yourself up. Wander around in your own truly unique humanity and let some the light in.

After all, it’s the only way to see where to go next.

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mosaic.

Mr. Roger’s always said to look for the helpers.

I was a Mr. Roger’s kid. Maybe it was his kindness — his softness.

I can say now, as an adult, I value those words even more. Yet again we are left with a bunch of painful stuff. As Anne Lamott would say, “we gather bits of broken mosaic” — and that together it makes something altogether different.

This is a mosaic kinda place. So many times, broken into millions of pieces and put back together again. Maybe a few more awkward pieces to fit in — but it works, again and again.

I’ve been bursting at the seams to write this week. I’ve gotten to see so many faces and have been so many places. I again step into old worlds where I used to feel so desperate and clingy — to a place of great hope — and back again to my home where I get to gather up them pieces.

We have a hard time touching pain. “Show me where it hurts?” No. I don’t really want to, because you’re going to want to see it, maybe touch it, maybe tell me what to do with it. Sometimes you should. Other times, you just need to sit in it. Sometimes you need dig yourself out so that the sun shines on your face again.

This is where we all come in — this part right here.

Reaching our hands and arms in to that darkness; struggling with; hurting with.

Ultimately loving, but it takes us a while to understand intentions. It’s not that easy to be with someone or something that hurts. It takes our own skin and heart and bone. Do we really want to drag ourselves into it?

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Lately people have been asking how I’ve been doing. Words like great, good and ‘not bad at all’ come to mind. I am so lucky, first and foremost to have those words fresh on my tongue. Because truly, I’m doing well, to my knowledge.

And this is my season. There were my times where I broke down a lot. Questioned some deep and spooky parts on my soul and I still see them, from time to time. I still see some darkness. It is always there. Like I’ve written before, I am not strong enough to keep it at bay. Instead I’ve made it a point to embrace it like that old friend. It sits with me and we will devour pain and sadness together.

Joy arrives abundantly. Swiftly. Like the way a walk-in feels after a hot rush.

That is how it works. This is how I move. Which I do, quite often, from place to place.

I don’t know how people handle a situation as terrifying as that. With weapons and that kind of hate mixed with that kind of violence. A deep, deep wound by wounded peoples all over the place.

It should be noted that I am writing from comfort.
I can hear my heaters hum and I am sipping on hot coffee.
But I can say that two hours ago I was doing this on and off again teary/snot-coming-out-everywhere thing.
Thinking about my grandparents.
The places in the world that are picking up pieces.
Remembering all of the things.
Feeling all the feels.

The pieces you help pick up are part of that bigger thing, ya know?
So we need you keep picking them up. And I will too. Okay?

It’s never finished and nothing ever has the final say. Thank God for that.

And thank you for being there for other people and baking them casseroles or listening to music with them or scratching their backs. You are healers and all angel-like.

We see you,
and with that deep and still place,

I want to say thank you.

billion different pieces

I always want to apologize for not writing enough on this thing.

Or at least it seems that way. After all, writing was my first love and the way I first began to create.

I guess whoever is lucky enough to write and make money is doing okay. I know it’s hard work, regardless. Though it might not beat being hunched over a sink full of dishes after a busy night. You can be the judge of that.

I don’t like to say I’m busy, because there’s always time to jot stuff down — to share a little bit of this and that. The truth is, the things happening in my life are pretty good right now. If anyone is an advocate for sucking up things when they are good, it’s me.

And that’s what I tell other people. Live in the goodness of it when you can, because the world is notorious for slinging sh*t into the fan when you least expect it. When it’s good, live in it. Be thankful for it. Store some away, if you can. You’ll need it.

I woke up to pictures of flooding in Sierra Leone, a natural disaster where thousands of people will never be able to rebuild. That is one of the many hellish things about extreme poverty. Starting over is nearly impossible. My heart breaks. So many people lost their worlds today. I feel that loss in my belly.

With the way the world works today, we are able to witness more pain and even more ridiculousness. Sloppy GOP debates highlighted with Kardashians and global warming.

Maybe a hundred years ago we were all sticking to our corners of the world, for the most part. Now, we see everything, and it all happens so fast. I don’t know if you can process it, but I can’t.

So I choose to dwell in what I can. I walk in the knowledge that I am part of the problem for so many things. I choose to walk lightly however I can. Mostly you will find me thinking about food and how to make my life work better. Which seems pretty selfish maybe, but I do it in hopes that it will overflow into something bigger. I’d like to say I have a lot of space for relationships, but I feel a strain there as well. We are all just busy, yeah? I don’t ever want to fit people in. They are more deserving of time and time is more valuable than gold.

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I don’t know, but I feel a strain. I suppose that is the introverted side of myself feeling it. Feeling all the feels, as I like to say. I’m not sure what to do, so I work hard at creating space for myself and for other people. Not that others should feel a certain way around me, it’s just me wanting to give you a good listener and friend, rather than a dazed, distressed and spotty friend.

I found myself featured in two local magazines in the same month. One for a dinner I helped put on and the other a chef Q&A which I thought was really fun. I had my picture taken and everything. I feel so thankful for all of it.

And it’s really funny walking around places and people saying, “Hey, I saw you in this!” which generally leads me to smiling shyly and covering my face with hands. It does feel good. It also feels crazy. I am surely not magazine material, I tell myself. But it has been fun and I am thankful for the goodness that comes out of it. I suppose the pressure to keep performing the best that I can is even more so, but that’s okay. I put that on myself regardless. I just hope that I can continue doing what I do, for the best reasons I can.

Which is you.
And I know that sounds crazy. But you deserve it.
You also get the worst of me too. I guess that’s how this broken thing works.

Today, in this moment, I feel good. I also feel heavy with loss. There’s a lot I don’t understand. A lot about the world and myself I don’t understand.

But, I will clean my apartment and listen to some good music. I will meet a potential client and talk about wedding food in hopes that she likes what I have to offer. I may share food with others and I will fall asleep to the sound of my fan.

That is what my corner of the world looks like, and it is made up of a billion different pieces.

Now, I’ve got some dishes to do.

tiny worlds.

Okay. Okay. Wow. Hmm. Okay. It’s okay.

Those were my thoughts on a Monday morning.
Two of my best friends, terrified and excited and worried and exhausted.
Their details, I won’t share here, but the circumstances had me holding back tears on the line.

“I need sides on 48 and 12!” I would holler out to my buddy, also cooking on the line.

I would pace back and forth, heart beating and trying to keep it together.

After things settle, and my heart is more at ease, I start focusing on my week, getting things tucked back in, like tapping a stack of misaligned papers on a table.

Tuesday, Work and Ramen night. Visit friends in hospital.
Wednesday, Work and Cater Captain of Zeus party. 13 hour day.
Thursday, Work and Prep for private catering gig. 13 hour day.
Friday, Cater private gig. Clean. 10 hour day.
Saturday, Record day of lunches at work. Cook gumbo for Mardi Gras event. 12 hour day

More often than not, I would say to myself, “Okay dude, don’t freak out. It’s going to be okay.”

My friends, so heavy on my heart, and so many other hearts.

I did what I always do to clear my head.

Clean.

After my private catering gig, my kitchen was horrid. Tomato sauce splattered everywhere from rushing around in my tiny space. Pots and pans stacked and my oven was a mess. After visiting with my friend, I came home and put on some music. I steamed my windows with the heat from the water and washed dishes till my fingers were wrinkly.

I get my steel brush and scrub the tomato off of everything. I remove my burner tops and scrub scrub scrub. I scrub it all away. I tear up a lot. I take deep breaths.

On my knees, I’m scrubbing my floor with a towel, enjoying how easily the dirt just washes away.

I take out the trash, let out a sigh and turn off the light to my kitchen knowing I will be doing this exact same thing again in 24 hours. I am okay with that.

I don’t mind cooking for people. You have to know that deep down, they will not know how much work goes into the food you cook. How much you have to clean up afterwards and how serious you are about your craft.

It is, at the end of the day, about the table we all sit at. That place I write about so often where we sit and talk about hard things that make our necks tight with fear and also the place we fall in love again and again with the people we share our tiny worlds with.

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I think about the breath of a new baby, and its cries that are as natural as breathing. Cries that make you believe in God again and restore in you that there is something bigger that ties us together, even in the midst of small nightmares and restless nights.

The truth is, you never know when the world will crack beneath you. You live in the terrifying moments and exhausted moments as you would when waking up next to a warm body, while the rain taps against your windows.

We live in all the moments, and we breathe life into each others worlds.

We are all, like I always say, small galaxies, floating infinitely, capable of such deep love and pain and beauty,

Birthed from the bellies of our mothers, and the mothers before them,

breaking water. breaking bread.

discovering again and always, the sacred life of the Beloved.

weapons

I wonder what would happen if we laid down our weapons today.

For just a week, maybe.

Warlords.
Soldiers.
Police.
Citizens.

Oh, we will all still get angry at one another. There’s no stopping the friction that is caused by needing to be right all the time.

You’re wrong, I’m right.

The absolutes are killing us.
This or that.
Or else!
Our lack of self control and

patience and
kindness and
understanding.

We are products of what we see and how we are made to feel.
We move in patterns left before us by our parents and grandparents.

We repeat history over and over, because we’re afraid that maybe we just didn’t get it right.
Like returning to a bad lover because you want to believe things will be different.

War and death and injustice carve up this world.

Scars.
Deep dark wounds.

I usually just throw my hands up, or shake my fists at the heavens.

When really, I should lower them and place them on wounds.

Of my brother and my sister
In hopes that one day,

they will do the same for me.

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Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other-that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister. If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we would still need tanks and generals? – Mother Teresa