Apr 012015
 

My-Office2

Here is my office.

My work is to talk to children about how wild and wonderful are their world, their God and other people—and how fiercely and forever and unconditionally loved they are. I teach them about grace; how grace means that they can relax because there is nothing they can do to make God love them more and nothing they can do to make God love them less. I teach them that the world will try to convince them otherwise, but the truth is that all they really have to do, their whole lives long, is bask in the light of God’s love and then reflect it onto others. I do this work because everyone should figure out what she believes to be the most important work in the world and just go do it.

So this morning I waited there, right in front of the altar while the little ones waddled in like geese—single file, squawking, looking so tiny inside the massive sanctuary. There is no way to describe how precious they were with all the heads swiveling around at the soaring ceilings and all the pinching each other and all the trying not to giggle. I’ll just say that my heart did that thing that happened to the Grinch—remember when his heart swelled so many sizes that it almost burst? That’s why I go to church—for the heart swelling. The heart swelling is the only buzz I have left. Luckily it’s the best one I’ve found: the kind of buzz that leaves me better and bigger instead of worse and smaller. Anyway—looking at those Joy Beings walk towards me, I wondered if this time my heart would swell OUT of me and I’d start floating above the pews like a Macy’s Day balloon.

At the end of the little geese line was a new student wearing a name tag that said: Ryan. Ryan was a head taller than the other children and his eyes were dark and deep, like wells you can look into but never find the bottom of. I was immediately drawn to this little man with the big, deep, sad eyes because I agree with Dr. Who: Sad is happy for deep people. I winked at Ryan. He grinned, but just a little.

My friends Nancy and Susan started the lesson and we sang and we danced and then we quieted ourselves and went into our still, small place in our hearts where we can listen for God. Then half way through our quiet minute: my big-eyed friend motioned to me in a way that said: can you come here? But can you not make a big deal about? So I went over to Ryan but I didn’t make a big deal about it. I just casually sat down next to him and kept facing forward so he could take his time telling me whatever he needed to tell me.

Finally, he tapped me on the shoulder and I leaned down close. He looked around the big sanctuary and he said:

“Excuse me. Is God coming?”

Then Ryan looked around again, like he was expecting God to show up here like Ronald shows up occasionally at McDonalds. And I just stared at this little man who had just asked me the question that every single human being who has ever looked around a fancy sanctuary or a busted up family or a hurting friendship or a shocking diagnosis or a messy world is thinking:

“Excuse Me. Is God Coming?”

I swallowed hard and I said: “Ryan. That is the best question I have ever heard. Just the best one. Listen, I won’t if you don’t want me to, but I gotta tell you—I think your class needs to hear your brilliant question. May I share it?”

My big-eyed friend’s eyes got even bigger and he tried to contain a proud little smile and he nodded to me.

I stood up and said, “Miss Nancy, I am so sorry to interrupt you, but this person has just asked the most honest, beautiful, important question I have ever heard anyone ask in my whole entire life. He looked around this room and he said, “Is God Coming?”

And it got really quiet and I looked at my friend and tried to respond. I babbled, really. I said, “I don’t have an answer, no one does, really. But here’s my hunch. I think God’s already here. I don’t think we wait for God to come as much as we bring God to each other. I think God is inside me and you, Ryan. It’s like… you know how cookies have sugar in them and that’s what makes them delicious? We have God in us. That’s what makes us delicious. And I think God sent US to be here for each other because God’s inside of us–so God knows that if we show up–God’s here too. God sends us to each other. Because we are all God’s family and sometimes family members send each other. You know how sometimes your daddy sends your mommy to pick you up and sometimes your mommy sends your daddy?”

And all the little ones raised their hands and nodded except for Ryan. I stopped and looked right at him. He said, “My daddy doesn’t pick me up. My daddy’s in heaven.”

And Nancy and Susan and I froze because suddenly those deep eyes made perfect sense and all the kids got really quiet in holy reverence for Ryan and his daddy and his questions—and there is no chance that in the history of the entire world there has ever been a more brutiful, silent moment.

And I let there be silence for a long minute and then when I finally pulled myself together, I walked over to Ryan and silently prayed PLEASE GOD HELP ME BE PRESENT FOR THIS AMAZING BOY YOU SENT and then I started speaking really quietly to him. I said, “Ryan, your daddy is in heaven?” And he nodded. And I said, “I see. Well my guess would be that God and your daddy are together there, and that God sent me and your teachers and these friends to be here with you today. So that we could love you for God. I think that God loves you more than you can even imagine. And I love you too, Ryan. I can’t believe how lucky I am to know you. I think that God sent you here for me, Ryan. Because you are just one of the most special people I’ve ever met. You have beautiful questions about God and you are honest and kind and I just think that you are my gift from God today, Ryan. Thank you for showing up here. I’m glad I showed up, too. Magic happens when we go where God sends us, doesn’t it? It’s like God sends us places to meet God in others. And to be God for others.”

And then I just went out on a big limb that appeared in front of me.

“Ryan, I don’t know how you can know if God is here or not. But here’s what happens to me when I notice that God is with me. My hearts starts to feel bigger. It feels like it’s swelling up. It feels like it’s getting so big it might crawl up through my throat. Like right now, next to you—my heart feels huge. Like somebody pumped it full of air. I think this heart swelling is sometimes how God reminds me that God is with me.”

And you guys. Ryan’s face—the face that had been so serious and so sad—broke into a smile that made it abundantly clear that God used the heart swelling trick on him, too. But he just didn’t know it was God doing it. And then he said quietly, “I know what you mean.”

Is God coming?

I know what you mean.

Have there ever been two more perfect, two more brutiful sentences uttered?

Then I asked Ryan if I could hug him and he said yes and he squeezed me tight and then Nancy had to take over completely because I could not speak for the rest of our time together. Just not one more word.

Listen to me. You HAVE to decide what you believe to be the most important work in the world and then you have to DO THAT WORK. Because THIS is what happens. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. God shows up.  Tweet: Decide what is the most important work & then DO THAT WORK. Because THIS is what happens. God shows up. http://ctt.ec/B7ka4+ @Momastery

I love you.

Happy Easter.

G and Ryan

“…have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple



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


Mar 302015
 

Quiet Power

There are three sisters who work about forty-nine hours a day to bring you Momastery. Each of the three of us, besides our faith and family, considers our mission at Momastery to be the most important part of our lives. One of us gets applause for it.

It’s easy for me to stay motivated here. I get cheers and hugs and thank yous and WE LOVE YOU, GS till the cows come home. But Sister and Amy? They work as hard as I do without any of the applause. They are quiet warriors.

Sisters

Know anyone like that? I think that the quiet workers are where it’s at. If God played favorites, I bet God would love the quiet workers best. I think it’s true that character is what you do when no one’s looking, so the heroes are the ones who serve OFF stage. Like Amy and Sister. Like parents. Like teachers. Like anyone who works with the sick, young, and vulnerable. Like Don and Luciano.

At the end of last year I traveled to the Dominican Republic with our partner CWS. Today I want to tell you a bit about two of the CWS staff workers who weren’t the headliners, but the workers in the background, the ones who quietly come alongside to support badass change-makers like Denisse and Melissa. If Denisse is like Moses, leading children from the bondage of street life and towards their freedom, Luciano and Don are Aaron, holding up her Denisses’ arms so the power keeps flowing even when she tires.

This is Don.

Don

 

And this man in the black shirt—that’s Luciano.

Luciano-550

Don and Luciano work for the CWS Latin America office. These two don’t stop. They spend their entire lives on behalf of their friends. Every single day, they show up, boots on the ground, to help CWS to fulfill its mission—to feed the hungry, fight poverty, and end oppression in its many forms. They are in constant motion—translating, planning, photographing, hugging, laughing, loving. I am sure I’m walking into a minefield with this sentence but here goes: Don is a white American man who abandoned his privilege and comfort to dedicate his life to those less privileged and comfortable. Luciano’s story is similar. These are men who believe in the power of downward mobility. They believe we do not serve, we love. They work with not for others. They believe in justice—not charity. They know that compassion can only exist between equals, so they make friends, not clients. They really believe that the kingdom of God is with the poor. And so they spend their lives with the poor not to serve them, but because that’s where the magic is and they want as much magic as possible in their lives. Don and Luciano are men who have laid down their lives for their friends. They have lost themselves in their work and then found themselves there.

Because walking into minefields is kind of my jam, I’ll add this. As a woman who is working through a few unresolved issues with men—spending this time with these men was healing for me. I watched these two pour themselves out on behalf of women and children—every single one a friend and equal. I don’t know, I’m still working it all out. I just know it was good and important. The men of CWS taught me that men can be our sisters too. Luciano and Don softened me.

Luciano and G

**NOTE: I watched Luciano carefully (FOR RESEARCH REASONS, JEEZ) and was stunned not only by his dedication and wisdom and respect and humility, but also by the fact that he is single. Because I am always thinking of mature world-changing social justice things, I asked him if we could start a world-wide Luciano dating contest at Momastery and he said no absolutely not don’t you dare NO Glennon NO—which is why if you are an eligible, world-embracing, fiercely loving and adventurous and GOOD AND KIND single lady you should under no circumstances email me at [email protected]. Don’t do it you guys, it’s inappropriate and we should respect people’s boundaries. (do it)

Last year Chase’s teacher said to me: I see leadership potential in Chase, but I wouldn’t push it. He seems reluctant about being out there. He’s more of a quiet leader. I think that’s the most powerful leadership. Quiet power is like light. Light doesn’t make a lot of noise. It just shines and shines and makes seeds grow. Tweet: Quiet power is like light. It doesn’t make noise, it just shines & shines & makes seeds grow. http://ctt.ec/lyzo2+ @cws_global @momastery

And that reminded me of one of my favorite poems:

Sun-Earth

Here’s to Don and Luciano and Amy and Sister and CWS all of the people who shine and shine and serve and love and lead. This is us, applauding for you. You are the light of the world, and you light up the whole sky.



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


Mar 252015
 

I DID IT! I did the Today Show wearing jeans and a tank top and my plain old normal hair and ZERO chicken cutlet boobs and THAT IS WHAT I CALL PROGRESS, PEOPLE!!!!

For you newbies: Here you go. Here’s the story about the first time I did Today- when Chris Brown flirted with me and Martha Stewart cooked at me and I lost my boobs.

************************

Originally published September 2013

My fast allowed me some much needed time for reflection. I’ve been reflecting. Let us begin with the kick- off of the book tour- my Today Show appearance.

This is how THAT happened:

I was at home minding my own business when my phone rang. It was my dear friend and Carry On, Warrior’s publicist, Lauren. She told me that as the kick off to the book tour – the Today show wanted me to come to New York City to discuss the book and the Monkees on air. I said YAY! OH EM GEE! and all the others things I assumed someone who was really grateful and excited and who generally had appropriate reactions would say. Then I called Sister and said, “Obviously, this is never, ever, not in a million years going to happen. I will change my name and move to Mexico and live off the land if I must. I am not going on the Today show. Ever and Never and No.” Sister was quiet and then said, “do you even know what live off the land means?” And I said, “YES. Something about more cows and less Facebook. I can do it. Cows have always really liked me.” And Sister said, “Kay. Are you listening to yourself?” And that’s when I knew I was going to end up on the Today show.

Sister called COW’s publisher and told them that without any intervention, I would likely humiliate everyone who had any involvement with Carry On, Warrior and that it really could end so badly that even real warriors and people who carry things might feel ashamed. So my wise and lovely publisher sent a woman to my condo. This woman was like a “fixer” that mob folks have except that she helps ward off impending publicity disasters. And she spent a full day teaching me how to Sit on a Stool, Keep Breathing, and Not Run Off Set. We agreed that this was the only “triple threat” of which I’d be capable.  Then she taught me some interview tricks, like, think of two “go to” stories – one funny, one serious- and if you get stuck, just tell one of those.

On Today Show Eve, I found myself in bed, staring at the door of my New York City hotel room, waiting for Sister to come distract me from this insane situation in which I found myself. While I waited, I remembered that food is also a great distraction, so I ordered a sandwich. This was my first room service order ever and I felt grown up and fancy and pleased, until I got the bill. It was thirty dollars. THIRTY DOLLARS. For a turkey sandwich. This thirty dollars would be charged to my publisher, since I was their guest. So like any sane author would do- I immediately called my publisher’s office and when my editor, Whitney, answered the phone- I said, “WHITNEY. Thank God you answered. It’s Glennon. I am so sorry. I just ordered a sandwich and got the bill and it was thirty dollars so now instead of eating it I am mining it for pieces of gold. Maybe it’s a gold sandwich and that’s why it costs as much as shoes. I’m sorry. I’ll pay you back. Tell Scribner I will pay them back. Or maybe I’ll just bring you guys the sandwich. I’m not hungry any more. New York City is so stressful. I don’t think you guys know that turkey sandwiches are pretty common and therefore not worth maybe quite as much as you assumed.Or maybe it’s because we’re in a city? I don’t see any grass. Maybe you have to import the turkeys? Maybe this is fancy imported turkey or something?” And Whitney was quiet and then said slowly, “It’s okay, Glennon. You’re allowed to have a sandwich. Also, how about don’t call me for a little while?”  “Okay, Whit.” I said. “It’s good to have a plan in times like these.” “Yes,” she said. So I hung up and lay in bed in my teeny silent hotel room and repeated to myself my favorite Simpsons line- the one that Homer says while he’s tripping on magic peppers and finds himself in a terrifying, alternate reality (my situation almost exactly): “Note to Self. Stop. Doing. Anything.”

The stopping doing anything strategy worked till Sister arrived. She was trying VERY hard to act like we were starting a book tour tomorrow- not shrooming our way to the guillotine – which was my take.  I immediately explained to her sandwichgate. She begged me to tell her that I was joking. She implored me to explain immediately that in fact, I had not actually called the publisher to report the cost of a sandwich. I told her sorry, I wished I could help her. She should have arrived earlier. We went to bed.

The morning of the Today Show I arrived at the Big Bustling Building and started chasing people around. In New York City- everyone is running. Even if there is nowhere to be – even if you are just going to get a sip of water from the water fountain- you must run there. It’s like everyone is very late for everything but they like it that way and so they refuse to just get up a little earlier. At the Today Show, this phenomenon is ten times more intense than in regular New York because: TV. So at the show- I chased after people who I am sure were giving me important directions about what not to do on camera but I couldn’t hear any of it because no matter how hard I pumped my smurf legs, I was always three paces behind whoever was talking. I am telling you they should have Jillian Michaels meet all the guests at the Today show because that is what it would have taken to get me to match these folks’ intensity. Since Jillian wasn’t there- I just stumbled along and tried to nod and smile like I heard them and understood. This is not an unfamiliar process to me, so I was convincing.

I wound up in the make-up room and sat down in the chair.  The make-up artist and I both stared at my shell shocked face in the big mirror. She asked me what I wanted. I said, “all of it, please. All the make-up.”

I stayed in the makeup chair saying “a little more, please” until they kicked me out. Then I went and sat in the quiet green room. I had ten minutes ‘till I went on. I kept repeating to myself my two “go to stories” for when I froze on set. I could always talk about the Kindness Revolution and the Anti-Perfect Revolution. That’s what I was doing there. I was the kindness and imperfection lady. Perfect. I mean Imperfect. I could do that. I reminded myself that I am, truly, a kind and imperfect person. I wouldn’t even have to act much.

And then I heard a voice coming from my left. The voice was male and it sounded extra slick and it said in my direction- “Heeeeeeey, beautiful lady.” At first I  assumed this was a shroom induced hallucination but then I remembered that I was not actually shrooming.  So I very carefully turned my head to see Chris Brown smiling at me. Chris Brown.

Oooooooookay. I thought.

And then I turned my head to the right.

And standing right outside of the room was Martha Stewart.

Ooooookay.

I stared straight ahead and tried to think.  Chris Brown to the left, Martha Stewart to the right.

I was here to kick off my KINDNESS and IMPERFECTION Revolution Tour with Chris Brown and Martha Stewart.

Oooooookay.

Note to Self: Stop. Doing. Anything. Again.

But then I started to panic. Because on top of everything, it was April Fool’s Day. And I could see on the little TV in the green room that the hosts were playing tricks on the guests. And so I started thinking. WHAT IS OUR TRICK GOING TO BE? Why are we three on the show together today? What do me and Chris Brown and Martha Stewart have in common?

And then it hit me. Oh, for the love.

This was going to be a show about Public People Who’ve Been To Jail.

Lindsay Lohan must have cancelled because she was planning to be hungover and I was the best they could do on short notice.

This was it. It was the only logical explanation.

And so I accepted our tangled fate – Me, Chris, and Martha’s. I stared at the green room walls and felt bad for Bubba and Tisha because they had told all of their friends to watch the show and now it was turning out to be a segment about jailbirds. I worried that they’d really been through enough. I hoped, for them, that next to Martha and Chris – maybe I wouldn’t look so bad. Perspective really was everything, I told myself.

I kept resisting the urge to lean to my left, wag my finger at Chris and say, “Listen, Mister. LOVE WINS.” And then lean to my right and whisper, “Hey, Martha. I don’t even have PANS. What do you THINK of that, sister?”

But then one of the running ladies came out to get me. And I ran onto the set and just as I was about  to sit on the tall stool in front of the big glass window with all the waving, screaming people- one of the publicists yelled“WAIT!” and ran over to me and removed a very long trail of toilet paper stuck to my foot. Which neither Chris nor Martha had bothered to mention to me. So much for ex-con solidarity.  And the next thing I knew the camera was on me. And then this happened.  I just watched the entire segment for the first time last night, you guys.

Today-4-1

Sweet Jesus on a Bicycle.

Thank you, Monkees. It is a true testament of your love for me that none of you…NOT ONE OF YOU… pointed out to me that I went on national TV to discuss a A LIFE UNARMED and SHOWING UP AS WE ARE and The BEAUTY OF IMPERFECTION wearing hair extensions, fake eyelashes, 6 inch heels, 8 pounds of make-up, two pairs of Spanx, SILICONE CUTLETS IN MY BRA and a few gallons of Botox in my forehead.

Yes, I did.

Yes. I did.

I did that.

When introducing me, Savannah should have said, “Ladies and Gentleman! Meet the Unarmed Warrior, wearing forty pounds of armor!! If you shoot her in the face- no problem! Her 12 pounds of foundation and Botox are bulletproof! Meet the expert on TRUTH TELLING AND SHOWING UP AS THE REAL YOU! She is here to prove, once and for all, that IRONY IS A WALKING, TALKING, OBSERVABLE THING!!!

Since some of you don’t know me in real life, I think that in order to grasp the hilarity of this situation- you are going to need to see the real me. So here it is- here is the TV me compared to the real me. I sent this pic to a friend recently to show her my new headache remedy. A headband to hold my head together, obviously. That’s what I really look like, you guys.

Today meets reality

And on the left – that’s what I did to myself for TV. For my once in a lifetime opportunity to walk the walk. To practice what I preach. It’s so amazingly amazing, I can hardly stand it.

I am either the worst, or THE BEST IMPERFECTION EXPERT EVER. I can’t even be imperfect perfectly. I kind of love it.

In retrospect, I know what happened. I spent a few weeks “getting ready for TV.” And tragically (on many levels), the only show I was watching regularly then was The Real Housewives of OC.  So, subconsciously I must have decided that people on TV look like those women. And so I morphed myself into one. And when it comes to fashion- one of my many problems is that I have never, ever truly understood the difference between an OUTFIT and a COSTUME. My only outfit is jeans and a tank top. That’s what I know how to wear like an outfit. Everything else is a costume. I have jeans, yoga pants and tank tops. Then – in the back of my closet – I have my church costume, my parent teacher costume, my dentist’s office costume, my TV costume- you see what I mean.

My main concern right now is that these days the only show I’m watching is Breaking Bad. And so I am afraid that on the paperback book tour in April I will accidentally show up to TV shows looking like a 50 year old male chemistry teacher. Please, no.

My next favorite thing is My Today Show Caption. Please read it. “Aware that time goes by fast- and okay with it.”

That’s my claim to fame. That’s it you guys. I am the woman who is aware that time goes by fast. Not only am I AWARE of this, but I’m OKAY with it. I mean, does it get more revolutioary and/or heroic than that?

It’s like- the only way my 15 minutes of fame could have been more impressive would have been I were “The Woman Who is Aware That Rain Is Wet. And Thinks That’s Fine.”

That’s the caption I’m hoping for next time. We can dream.

Anyway. One more thing. Those silicone chicken cutlet boob inserts I wore on the Today Show?  Well. I left a drawer full of clothes in my NYC hotel room that night.  And long suffering editor Whitney had to go pick up my forgotten stuff and Fed Ex it to the next hotel stop on the tour. And when I opened up the delivery box, my fake boobs were sitting on the top of the nicely folded stack of clothes. MY BOOK EDITOR FOUND AND MAILED MY BOOBS.

And so I sat on my new hotel room bed and thought about that situation for a while. And then I decided that I had to say something to her about it. Because someone else handling my boobs is a big deal to me. For the past decade, at least. And this had to be acknowledged or it would forever be The Thing Whitney and I Don’t Discuss. And so I texted her and said- “Whit. Sorry about the boobs.” And I waited for a long half hour until she texted this back: “G. I can honestly say that I have never, ever returned an author’s boobs to her. We have reached a new level.”

Anyway.

Tour’s over. Boobs are in a drawer. Extensions are gone. Hair’s back to brown and grey. Botox ran out. This is me this morning.  Back to normal.  And by the way- I’m not ashamed or mad at myself for my Today Show experience- not even a little bit. I look at myself on that stool and feel amused and protective of that sweet plastic version of me. I think to myself- Look at her, doing the best she can up there, with the little armor she has left. It was a tough, wild year and she kept showing up.

Glennon

I’m really, really quite proud of that kind, brave fool.



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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