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Dear God,

It’s been a while since I wrote.

Thing is, I felt like I couldn’t reach you. Maybe it was the Church that did it. With its zealous campaign to remind us that we are flawed human beings, it overshot its target and made us believe that we were completely hopeless. Some of us, who already had a good sense of our depravity, became convinced that as fallen beings we had no access to you, no place by your side and really, no place even on this Earth. Instead of being empowered we were weakened. At some point we forgot that we were created in your image, and that you created us good.

We began spending many hours of each day in ritual self-flagellation. We beat ourselves up over not being good enough parents, bad church goers, non-tithers, immoral, apathetic, un-praying and uninvolved. Not only could be not talk to you, because, after all, we hadn’t read the Bible in so many days, weeks, months, but we weren’t good enough to go to church either. We had to take action in order to at least somehow justify our existence. So we wrote to-do lists, pushed ourselves to the limit, put ourselves down and promised to do better. This all must have looked ridiculous to you.

Or maybe it was our society. Goodness, what a bunch of health-conscious, environmentally aware confused individuals we are. The world told us to eat better, to drive less, to care for the minorities among us, and instead of joyfully taking it on, we were consumed with guilt – for eating sweets, throwing away plastic cans, driving instead of biking to work, using non-biodegradable materials. There was no joy in anything we did. We were only desperately, without any real hope, trying to make this world a little bit less of a horrible place to live. And us – just a rung higher up on the unending ladder of guilt and social responsibility.

This was your enemy’s work. He took all of the good that might have been intended, and deranged it. The father of lies had prevailed, if only temporarily, at his best craft. We came to believe, I believed, that we had to earn our place; that we had to deserve it. This was impossible, and we floundered around helplessly. This is why I hadn’t written.

But lately I noticed that this idea doesn’t quite jive with what you teach. In fact, it renders the death and resurrection of your Son completely absurd.

So I just wanted to drop you a line, let you know things are getting better. I am allowing myself the joy of not thinking about guilt. You thought of that already. Funny that it took me only 20 years of faith in you to realize this. But that’s OK too. You’re probably smiling right now, maybe even rolling your eyes a bit. But hey, better late than never, and in the grand scheme of things – it’s not late at all.

It’s the perfect time to be finding the child you love.

A couple of days ago I went wall-climbing . It was the first time I had gone in about 6 years. Actually, there have been many “first…since” moments in the last few months…first time to read a book cover to cover that was not 20 size font…first time to spend more than five minutes drawing, and yes – first time wall-climbing since before giving birth.

Oh to sing the praises of wall-climbing. Well first there are the people. I have NEVER met an unattractive person who climbs walls. EVERYONE who climbs walls is just lovely.

Case in point...


I can only generalize so brashly because this has been my experience, and I have climbed walls in three different states, and on two different continents. People who climb are friendly, cheerful, silly, strong, relaxed, and chill. There is no awkwardness, no pretension…and everyone seems already an old friend. You start a conversation as if you’re just picking it up…as if you’ve been carrying it on for years.

Another case in point.

Then there is the motion. You glide along the wall, breathing deep, moving as if in a lyrical dance where every motion has to be graceful, planned, powerful. You should not stop, dangle, lug, or hurl yourself. Rather, you yearn, stretch, pull, push. It’s as if a primordial happiness wakes up inside when you climb. Feeling the whole of your weight, your complete body in control, being held up by your hands and feet, you are liberated. And engrossed into the complex puzzles of handholds and foot holds that you must navigate and solve.

There is also the secret society to which you now belong. Suddenly you find yourself gleefully eyeing your car door handle, the door knobs, counter tops, nooks and crannies of old trees and cathedral gutters. You cradle a peach in your blistered hands and wonder if the fuzz would provide sufficient friction. You pull onto keyboard keys, trying to hold onto your grip. And through it all the sweet pain pulsates through your arms, and later, your legs as well.

Another beautiful climber


Well I have healed and am going back tomorrow for more. Care to join me? Such bliss is all the more joyful when shared.

Just a mirror for the sun...

Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies, fully loaded we got snacks and supplies… (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)

We are driving into the sun, still high over the horizon, the passenger window is open, mine is pegged with a wooden toy railroad piece to keep it from sliding down into oblivion. Speakers blasting 80’s rock ‘n roll, my two favorite allies – Munchkin V and Mr.Fatty Pants, bobbing their heads to the music in the back seat.

With the heat, the haze from the humidity, the music, the wind – I feel hysterically elated. The feeling where pain is so immense that you find yourself at the other extreme; you feel a survivor, knowing that despite it all there is the sun and the joy and life to be lived and children to be loved. You scream out the words to the song at the top of your lungs, you bellow out the hurt and the numbness lifts.

I pop in another disk – “Happy Music for Yar”. Lizard made it for me several years ago. It’s a compilation of soul-warmers and joyful heart wrenchers. Most familiar, the rest – seeming so.

Say Hallelujah, throw up your hands, the bucket is kicked, the body is gone…Dry your eyes, and stand up right, put a smile on your face, He wouldn’t want us to cry(Tracy Chapman)
That first one’s from the Lizard herself. She rides in the passenger seat, grinning at me, we’re throwing up our hands together, the kids giggle in the back, I steer with my knees into the horizon…

In the haze, the stormy haze…I’ll be ’round, I’ll be loving you always(Coldplay)
This one’s from God. I am reminded of the most important thing.

A howling wind is whistling, in the night
My dog’s growling in the dark
Something’s pulling me, outside
To ride around in circles.

– Iggy Pop
This one brings my cousin S and Lizard back, and our road trip from San Diego to San Jose. We’re coasting through the central California fertile crescent, the sun is high, the ocean blue. Munchkin V and Mr.Fatty Pants are there too, and I am joyful. What a collection of most treasured people I have in my car as we roll on!

People are strange, when you’re a stranger, faces look ugly, when you’re alone… (The Doors).
This brings the Anticlimactic of the Underworld, Mr. Morrison-Taylor himself. He’s the one from whom I stole the idea of having imagined folks ride with you in the car. He shared it with me near 15 years ago. With his dreaded hair and maddening banter, I could not convince him then that “Anticlimactic” is not the rightful melding of the “Anti” (as in, anti-norms, ie. rebellious) and the climactic (in his mind – very important, vital)….

By the time the kids and I arrive at the park for our three-person BBQ, I am almost at peace. As if just returning from a therapeutic meet-up with the greatest people on Earth. And the pain is only a memory.

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