About Sadness

It’s been more than a year since this little corner of the internet has seen a post about, or inspired by, or questioning, or thinking about faith. And that’s mostly the result of a fairly open conversation on the subject of what I believe may or may not be true about the origin of our species.

But that post, and the resulting discussion, were really about what faith is left in me.

Some.

None.

All.

It varies day to day. And I know that sounds obtuse or abstract or absurd. Beyond comprehension for most people I know, and all too real so for many others of my acquaintance.

On odd days, there is a loving God in the heavens. On even days, we’re all alone in this big, empty universe.

Here’s the rub: I parted ways with the what I once believed.

Sounds dramatic, but it isn’t.

We all dig into this life, chewing through holy writ looking for meaning or meditating in silence on a quest for peace or running for miles trying to conquer some tiny piece of our existence. We. All. Do. It.

And these efforts take us so many different places. We are never where we started, and we cannot go back.

Hope – Live in Milano 10/23/2007

It’s no secret that Rush is my favorite band, and this one piece may be my absolute favorite among the 30+ years of music they have produced. This video, in particular, holds a special place in my heart, since we were there in Italy, in this audience, celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday.

And today, as a welcome rain quenches the thirsty earth of the Texas Hill Country, I’m especially grateful – for rain, for hope during a drought, for whispered prayers, for love.

Where were you when the towers fell?

In 2001, my birthday fell on Labor Day Monday. And my husband and I had arranged to spend the entire week in San Francisco with my in-laws. We flew home after a damn near perfect week spent in the city and the wine country, eating and drinking far more than is absolutely necessary. Our flight back to Austin returned us home on Saturday, September 8th, and I was scheduled to head to DC for business meetings the following afternoon.

On Sunday, September 9th, my husband begged me not to go. “I don’t feel good about you leaving. Reschedule the meetings. You don’t need to be there. It’s not important. Just stay here. Please. Please. Please, stay here.”

Of course, I didn’t. I flew into Dulles. Spent that night in a hotel near the airport, ate dinner alone.

Monday morning, September 10th, I attended what remains the worst business meeting of my life. I left a building in downtown DC in a state of befuddled confusion because what should have been a meeting to sign a deal turned into a schizophrenic tirade by an out-of-control entrepreneur. I was escorted by an apologetic company director who told me our dinner meeting was cancelled.

I checked my voice mail, only to learn that my Tuesday morning meeting near the Pentagon had also been cancelled. As I drove back out to Dulles, I got caught in a mid-day traffic jam. Looking around, I found myself on Pennsylvania Avenue, parked in front of the White House.

I was coming down with a cold.

I returned to my hotel and checked out, heading to the airport a day earlier than planned. My airline found a way to get me on a late flight out of Dulles, and the kind clerk upgraded me to first class to make up for what had been a shitty day.

I spent four hours in the airport, four sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching hours. I drank only orange juice on the flight home. I made it to our house just after midnight, in the wee early hours of Tuesday, September 11th.

We were up early to commute together to work the next day, but when we got to the office, it was chaos. My sales director was scrambling to reach New York; his best friend worked in one of those towers. About an hour later, our CEO sent everyone home.

My husband and I went to church. Where we sat in the dark of the sanctuary and watched this horror unfold on a pair of big-screens that normally only projected lyrics to worship songs. And we weeped and held each other and waited for the other shoe to drop.

And in the loudest silence of this life, my beloved whispered, “I’m so glad you came home early.”

Mighty Life List #55: Find a favorite honey. {check}

Well, that was easy. Almost too easy. It was an accidental discovery, actually.

Some backstory: as a child, I LOVED honey. With the passion and abandon only children seem capable of. My father tells me that I used trip over my grandfather’s heels when he was collecting honey – stealing honeycomb directly from the hive and eating with bees buzzing over me. (Note: bees and wasps flying all around me still don’t bother me. Must have something to do with my granddad.)

Anyway, since childhood, I somehow lost my appreciation for one of my favorite treats. Every honey I tasted was bland, boring, or downright offensive. Especially that horrible clover honey at the grocery store. Yuck.

So I set out on a mission: find a favorite honey. And since I couldn’t replicate the honey of my childhood, I figured I’d have to dig around for a while.

I tried a honey from my hometown. Nope.

I tried a honey from Round Rock, our home of 10 years. Nope.

And then, I tried a local honey at the Farmer’s Market near our new home in the Texas Hill Country. BINGO!

Youngblood’s Natural Honey is a mesquite honey from Pearsall, TX, and it’s so good, I could drink it straight from the bottle. I haven’t, of course, but I totally could.

In reality, however, I’ve used it in oatmeal, in marinade for pork loin and turkey breast, in cocktails, and more. It’s versatile, smooth, and delicious. I love it!

So there, one more thing checked off the life list.

Bravado

If we burn our wings
Flying too close to the sun
If the moment of glory
Is over before it’s begun
If the dream is won —
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost

When the dust has cleared
And victory denied
A summit too lofty
River a little too wide
If we keep our pride —
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost

And if the music stops
There’s only the sound of the rain
All the hope and glory
All the sacrifice in vain
[And] if love remains
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost

Rush