Dec 192014
 

*Originally posted in 2009.

baptism

Come, they told me… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,Our Newborn King to see… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Our finest gifts we bring… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Today before the King… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum,

So to honor Him… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

When we come.

 

Baby Jesus, Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

I am a poor boy too… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

I have no gift to bring, Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Shall I play for you… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

On my drum.

 

Mary nodded… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

The ox and lamb kept time… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

I played my best for Him… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum, , Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum,

 

Then He smiled at me… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

Me and my drum…

 

Amma and I sat on the kitchen floor last Friday and listened to The Little Drummer Boy again and again together. I cried and Amma snuggled deep into my lap and she kept turning around, cupping my chin in her hands, tilting her little head and saying, “Are okay?” Are okay?” I nodded, held her tight, inhaled her neck and used all of my senses to take her in. I marveled at how she could offer me so little, how she could, in truth, be such an incredible drain, and how I could still adore her so completely. How I cry just thinking of her. How I’ve memorized every roll on her thighs, every red streak in her hair, the cool smoothness of her velvety cheek, and every expression her face has ever made. How there is nothing she could ever do to make me love her any more or any less. How she is already everything she needs to be for me. How she is a reflection of all that is true and good in me, because I made her.

When she started rubbing her eyes, I put her inside her crib and watched her fall asleep. I love her most at the moment she decides to trust me to keep her safe, and so her eyelids close and she falls away and she just breathes. And when she awakens and I walk into her room, she turns her face toward me, throws her arms in the air and says Mama, and it’s enough to drive me to my knees in gratitude and awe and never get back up.

God gave me my little girl so that I might understand how God feels about His little girl.

I know, with my whole body, mind, and soul, that the way I love my baby girl is the same way God loves me. God has memorized every hair on my head and He watches me sleep and wake and when I cry He pets my hair and says “Are okay?” God has never, ever let go of my hand. When I run, He follows, and He never grows tired or weary. God’s plans for me are more beautiful than I can dream and He wants me to come to him like a child because that’s the way He loves me most. Empty handed. Utterly dependent, with no gifts to bring. He looks at my face and my outstretched, empty hands and He sees his little baby girl. The little girl He created. I don’t have to be a grown up with Him. I don’t have to be a wife or a mother or a friend or a teacher or a writer or a woman in his presence. He created me for the same reason I created Amma – because He wanted someone to love. So that’s all I have to be, someone for God to love. He wants me to rest in the truth that there is nothing I can do to make Him love me any more or any less. He already knows about the choices I made yesterday – no need to be ashamed, and he already knows what will happen tomorrow – no need to be afraid. He doesn’t want me or need me to be anything more than the needy bundle of tears and love that I was the day I was born and that I am today, on the kitchen floor. He just wants me to be still and accept His gift, which today is the sensation that my heart might explode as His love and adoration flow from Him through me, His baby girl, and into my baby girl.

This is when Jesus smiles at me, I think. When I offer him my broken, overflowing heart. When I play for him with whatever I have, which is nothing. He doesn’t want me to wait to play for him until I am better or different, or until I have something more worthy to offer. He was a poor boy, too, he understands. He was rejected and afraid and exhausted but he played his song for me anyway. And all he wants is to hear my song in return. He wants my song, the one only I can play, today. Not tomorrow.

And if it seems too good to be true that I’d have a song worthy of Him while I’m still broken and naked and crying, I need only to remember that the most beautiful song the world has ever heard was sung by our Jesus when he was all of those things, hanging on a cross.

That man who died for me, Jesus, my God, wants me to play for Him. And Mary nods her agreement, so I play, without fear of how I might sound. And here’s why I’m not afraid to play my song in the face of God. You have asked how I can share my heart so openly, why am I not afraid to disarm myself and tell you my truth, even when it’s ugly or scary.

It’s because there is no need for weapons or armor when one is already standing inside a mighty fortress.

It’s because while I want you to say that you like me, to tell me I’m okay, to say that we are the same, you and I… I don’t need you to say those things. If no one ever likes or loves me again and I am left with only God, I will still have too much acceptance and love to handle well, or respond to appropriately, or endure gracefully. I can tell you the truth of my heart because when you handle my heart imperfectly, it’s okay, I forgive you already. You don’t have to love me perfectly. I don’t depend on you for that. You can be human, and you can make mistakes with my heart. Because if you hurt me, if you accidentally ignore me, if you love me imperfectly, I still have perfect love to turn to, to remember, to feel. And so I feel safe with you. And you can feel safe with me too, because I will never expect you to be someone you’re not. I understand being human. Perfect love casts out fear.

And when I tell you about Bubba and Sister and Husband and Tisha and you say that you wish you had a perfect family, too, please understand that my family is not perfect. Lord, no. None of us loves each other perfectly. But I don’t need them to love me perfectly because I already have perfect love. We are all wired to need perfect love but none of us is wired to offer it. Because we are meant to find it only in God. So I don’t ask my family for perfection. I forgive them their humanness, and search for their divinity, knowing that we usually find exactly what we we’re looking for. And when I catch glimpses of their divinity, I notice and share it. Just like my family and Jesus do for me.

I’d like to begin this Christmas Week by saying Happy Birthday and Thank You to Our Jesus. He guided these words, and they are meant for you. It’s not an accident that you are reading them. He wants you to know that He loves you like you are the only little girl in the world. You don’t have to be a grown up for Him. You don’t need to bring Him gifts. Just play. He’ll listen and smile. And we’ll dance.

Love,
LDG (Little Drummer G)



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Dec 172014
 

Last week, I posted this article about that Christmas season when our family was breaking and how brutifully hard it all was.

Teressa wrote this response on our Momastery Facebook page:

Dear G,

I read this essay a couple of days ago when you first posted it. I thought of it this morning, when I was attempting to make a cup of coffee from the espresso machine my husband had given me years ago, back when we were happy. We were married for 15 years. We divorced in March. 

I hadn’t used the machine in a few years, but I packed it up from the basement and moved it from our house when my son and I moved a couple of months ago because I couldn’t let it go.

I bought espresso ground coffee and half and half this week to make a caramel macchiato like I used to every morning when my son was a little one and I spent my days being wife and mom.

I got it ready today and it wouldn’t work. It hadn’t been used in too long. I can only assume it had hard water buildup inside it because the water would not move through it.

The motor was running, but nothing was coming out. I panicked. It had to work. This was from when I was happily married. I needed THAT cup of coffee, made from THIS Krups machine, which my husband had surprised me with a decade ago.

I turned it off. I undid and reset everything. I turned it on. Nothing. Just the mechanical grinding noise. I did it again, and again, and again. Nothing.

I froze. I finally just left it on. Watching the spout, willing it to work. I needed it to work. 

Then I remembered your essay, and your description of frantically gathering the broken pieces of your ornaments and desperately trying, needing, to make them unbroken. 

I saw that’s what I was doing with this machine. 

But it WAS broken. And it wasn’t going to be fixed, it wasn’t going to work, ever again.

I thought of the rest of your essay. And even though my story isn’t going to end like yours and Craig’s, I knew someone understood what I was feeling in that moment. My machine was your ornaments.

And after a minute or so of staring at this machine which was screaming the truth at me in the form of a grinding sound and hot electrical smell…I slowly reached out my hand and shut it off. Then I unplugged it and took it to the trash can in the garage.

And then I went and took out the box of instant coffee from my cabinet and made a cup of that instead.

I’m sure you can understand the processing and feelings that were going on inside of me during this. And I wanted to let you know…and to thank you…for giving me strength and comfort during that moment, even though you don’t know me. 

These things you share by being transparent with the world, they change people’s lives and I want you to know that with every fiber of your being. Your courage in being vulnerable is a gift, and I thank you for it.

Love, Teressa

I wrote this back to her:

Dear Teressa,

This is so beautiful that I am having a hard time handling it. Would you consider sending me your address? I would love nothing more than to head down to the little coffee store in my town today and smell each bin of beans until I find the one that fills me with the most comfort and package some up and send it to you. You are a warrior and I would be so ridiculously honored to help you start a new coffee tradition.

Love, G

She said yes. So  I went to the coffee store and collected some delicious amaretto cherry beans for Teressa and it felt really good, but unfinished. My little love project felt unfinished.

So I reread Teressa’s story and thought: UREKA! Of course! So I emailed the Together Rising board and said: YOU GUYS: THE THING IS THAT TERESSA NEEDS A NEW ESPRESSO MACHINE TO GET HER RISING!!!! That’s what she needs! And of course, the board said: WELL,  OF COURSE SHE DOES!!!! And so I went and got one. And I was so excited but then I got home with it and Craig told me that actually an espresso machine is different than whatever this thing is. I don’t understand fancy coffee. So then we got a different one. Love Projects can be really tiring, to tell you the truth.

Me trying

Dear Teressa-

Together Rising wants you to be reminded every morning that the love and support of a husband –while so precious- is not the only love and support in the world. You still have support. You have us. You have a sisterhood – US- and we want you to wake up every morning to the sound of your fancy coffee brewing. Then we want you to crawl out of bed and shuffle to the kitchen and pour a mug full and wrap your hands around it to warm up. We want you to smell it and taste it and be reminded with all of your senses that you are NOT ALONE. You are an important part of a sticky international web made up of millions of warrior women who are starting over every single morning – just like you- determined THIS DAY to embrace their messy, beautiful families, selves and lives. Some days, we’ll embrace – other days, we’ll fall flat on our face. BUT WHO CARES? There is always tomorrow morning’s coffee, right?

Teressa-  We might FEEL alone in our homes but we must remember that we are alone, TOGETHER.

Love, G and Together Rising.

Love Wins. As does all manner of coffee.

G and Together Rising

Together Rising



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest


Dec 152014
 

Chaos and Kindness

Originally published in 2010 & excerpted from the New York Times Bestseller Carry On, Warrior.

So.

I’m at Target yesterday with Tish and Amma. We’ve made it through the shopping part and we’re in the check- out line. I can see the Promised Land, which is: We’re Done Shopping, Let’s Go Back Home.

I watch Amma notice a pack of gummi worms. Her eyes widen. I brace for chaos. She grabs the worms, shows them to me with tears already in her eyes and says, “I need dese worms!” I say, “Uh-huh. That’s the curse of Target. It makes me think I need all this junk, too. The Target curse is why you’re not going to college, baby. No gummi worms. Put them down.”

Now. You know I try my hardest to describe my ridiculous little life to you. But there is no way to convey to you the drama that crashed down on poor unsuspecting Target immediately following the word “No.”

Amma threw herself down on the filthy Target floor and screamed like a person who maybe just found out that her entire family had died. Amma’s particular tantrum style is that she chooses one phrase to repeat seven million times at seven million decibels until everyone around her seriously considers homicide or suicide. Yesterday she chose, I SO HUNGWY! I SO FIRSTY! (SKULL SPLITTING SCREAM.) I SO HUNGWY ! I SO FIRSTY! (SKULL SPLITTING SCREAM.)

This was a long, crowded line. And every time the line scootched up I had to grab Amma’s hood and drag her forward a few feet while she kicked and screamed, like I do with my luggage in the security lines at the airport. And then Tish started crying because it was all so ridiculous. And so I gritted my teeth and made my scariest face at Tish and growled STOP at her like some kind of movie monster, and this sort of thing does not tend to calm a child down. So she cried harder. People started moving away from us and shoppers were actually stopping by our aisle to stare. I was sweating like I was in a sauna, and wishing the “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” song that was on replay would just end. With the kids jinglebelling and everyone telling you, be of good cheer! Riiiight. My experience exactly.

Up until this point, I kept my head down, but it seemed time to offer my best beleaguered, apologetic, what are you gonna do? looks to the other shoppers, in hopes of receiving some sympathetic looks in return.

But here’s the thing. When I finally looked up, I realized with mounting discomfort that there weren’t gonna be any sympathetic looks. Everyone was staring at me. Every. One. One elderly couple looked so disturbed that the grandmother had her hand over her mouth and was holding tight to her husband’s arm. At first it appeared to be an effort to shield herself from my rabid animals. And I thought, I hear ya lady, they scare me, too. But then I realized that she wasn’t looking disapprovingly at them, she was looking disapprovingly at me. I locked eyes with her and without subtlety, she looked down at my clothes, then to my cart, and then away.

So I did the same thing. Down at myself, then to the cart. Oooooooohhhh, I thought. Shoot.

My stupid Lyme is back, and I’ve been sick for a little while now. Yesterday was a bad Lymie day, and so was Wednesday, so I may have forgotten to shower or brush my hair. For 48 hours. And also, when I looked down I noticed that I still had on my pajama top. Which apparently I had tucked in to my ripped jeans. Like seventh grade. I looked bad. Not like a little bad, like offensively, aggressively bad. And also, here is what was in my cart: 6 large bottles of wine and curtain rods. It appeared as if perhaps I was planning to build a wine bong. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if my smallest child would have stopped screaming: “I SO HUNGWY, I SO FIRSTY!”

And since I was so tired and in such a state of self pity – I couldn’t even bring myself to feign sympathy towards my starving, parched child on the floor. Because I wasn’t sympathetic, not even a little bit. I definitely remembered feeding her the previous day. Faker.

But based on all of these things, I decided to forgive the frowny, judgmental lady. I had really left her no other choice.

I resigned myself to suffer through. I stopped trying to help the girls at all. Just left Amma there on the floor screaming and Tish beside her crying and prayed the line would move faster. I am sure there were a lot of people praying that the line would move faster.

All of a sudden, a uniformed police officer started walking toward us. At first I was alarmed and defensive. But he stopped in front of me, smiled warmly and winked at me.

He looked down at the girls and said, “May I?”

I was not sure what he was asking exactly, but I allowed myself to hope that maybe he had a paddy wagon and was planning to take them away. And so I nodded at him.

The police officer patted Amma on the head gently. She looked up at him and stopped mid-scream. She stood up. Tish fell silent and grabbed Amma’s hand. All of a sudden they became a pair of grubby little soldiers. At attention, eyes shining, terrified.

The police officer said, “Hello girls. Have you two ever heard of “disturbing the peace?”

They shook their little heads no.

He smiled and continued, “Well, that means that your mama and all of these people are trying to shop in peace, and you are disturbing them, and you’re not allowed to. Can you try to be more peaceful?”

They nodded their little heads yes.

The officer stood back up and smiled at me. I tried really hard to smile back to show my gratitude.

I noticed that the girls grabbed each other in a bear hug and held on for dear life. It appeared they had lived to die another day.

He said, “Being a parent. It’s a tough gig sometimes.”

For some reason, I became desperate to be perceived by him as something other than a struggling mom, so I blurted out, “I’m also a writer.”

He looked genuinely interested and said, “Really? What do you write?”

“Lots of things. Mostly a blog.”

“What’s it about?”

“Parenting, I guess.”

His eyes twinkled and he grinned and said teasingly, “Oh. Does anybody read it?”

And I said, “A few. Mostly for laughs, though. Not for . . . well, advice. Obviously.”

I miraculously found the energy and ability and space and breath to giggle.

And my officer smiled and said the following:

“You know, my wife and I raised six kids, and I think that’s actually the only parenting advice worth a damn. Just try to keep laughing. Try to keep laughing. It’s good advice. You’re doing good, mom.”

Then he tipped his hat to me and my girls, and walked away.

In the end, only kindness matters. Thank you, Officer Superhero. Merry Christmas.

The girls were silent until half way home from Target when Tish announced loudly, “I can’t believe we almost went to jail. We better not tell daddy.”

And I said, “No way. We have to tell him. What if we don’t and then he sees the report on the news tonight?”

More silence.

Joy to the World.

Originally published in 2010 & excerpted from the New York Times Bestseller Carry On, Warrior.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest


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