Saturday, November 05, 2005

If Everybody Did

Note* You just gotta laugh with me on this. Today when I sat down to write I closed my eyes and simply typed away so that the gist of what I wanted to write would flow and I would be content with what Anne Lamott calls a "shitty first draft". That is until I opened my eyes to correct what I knew to be a blatant typing error and found I had been typing with one of my hands one key out of pattern all the way through. Looking it over I thought to myself, "Aunt Helga, I might just learn how to speak Norwegian yet. It looksl ike I can type it with my eyes closed!" I actually went back and decoded it all so there you have it. Enjoy.

In the last few weeks I've tossed several apple cores out the window in the pre dawn light. It's been a little freeing. You would have to know how I have berated my family for doing likewise to understand how out of the ordinary that is for me. In fact any family member reading this will be clapping their hand over their mouth to know I actually did such a thing. I'm guilty as charged, dear. When anyone in my family throws an apple core or banana peel out the window I remind them that the fine for littering here is 200 bucks. They've always responded with telling me that the banana peel is biodegradable so they're really just helping the enviroment. In turn I remind them of the book we used to read called If Everybody Did. Full of pictures of what the world would look like if everyone did things like walk across the room with muddy shoes or throw stuff on the floor instead of putting it away, I loved to read it aloud when they were little to get everyone to pick up after themselves or at least picture the ditches with mountains of apple cores or banana peels staring back at them.

Not too long ago I thought of that book and about how much energy I have spent living by the law - even ridiculous ones I made up myself (this is so embarrassing) like not being sure it was okay for my kids to pick up the odd pebble off the road because after all, that gravel belonged to the government. God help me lighten up. Or at least give me some relief from this spiritual constipation I keep suffering from. I thought about how wonderful it would be if people could laugh at themselves a bit more. Or extend compassion when they really were wanting to lash out with whips of judgement. Or if everyone did something silly together to lighten the journey. How I need to embrace these things first and then do likewise for my neighbour. And what if everybody did?

Today some words got flung my way much like an apple core thrown out the window or a banana peel left to decompose on the highway of life. The kind of words one speaks that just pop out unexpectedly. They weren't meant to harm but they left me and him gasping in horror that they were said at all. Words that had me covering my face in my hands and sobbing those gut wrenching sobs. That I was able to cry at all about the event his words triggered is freeing. There have never been tears cried because of it ever. And the tears just flowed without my inner censor putting up a wall. And they were flowing in front of someone. Those were redeeming things in the midst of it all. Afterwards I joked that the money he had just given me to buy his Christmas present would buy a whole lot of duct tape. I was able to acknowledge how much the comment hurt and I was also able to acknowledge that he hadn't meant to hurt me. He simply hadn't been thinking. That's a long ways from me lashing out at him in anger like I have been known to do when hurt and treating him as if he was out to get me. He's having a harder time forgiving himself than I am.

I think the wound-up-tighter-than-a-corkscrew spiral inside me got a little looser today. I don't plan on becoming a habitual throw-my-apple-core-out-the-window rebel but today I did throw a bit of the pain I've kept inside out. Now just imagine if everybody did.

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