“Sitting here with you.”

This phrase has become a touchstone for me since attending Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp in November. There was a talk on bullying and the unveiling of a bench that has the words “You Can Sit Here with Us” across the top. This is a movement started by authors, artists and social activists; they are sharing stories and using the creation of art to stop bullying. Please read their website and join the movement: http://www.youcansitherewithus.com/

On a personal level, this phrase has meant so much more. This camp was attended by people from all over the world and at the end of camp, we were scattered back to our corners of the world – changed. This amazing group of (mostly) women and a few awesome men sat with each other for two to three and a half days. There was so much laughter. There were many tears. There were walls breaking down. There were people being built up. There were people being held up by those around them. There was love and support and, well just more love.

When there is a need for support and good thoughts and prayers for someone in the tribe, a call goes out (via Facebook) to “don your camp shirt” and send as much love across the miles as is possible. I, and others, accompany this action by telling the person in need that we are “sitting with you.” A simple phrase, but this morning it was “said” to me and I felt the power. It caught me up short and took my breath away (thanks momma!). To know that, at that moment in time, many miles away, someone was sitting with me and thinking about me and holding me up in prayer or good thoughts and love was so very real.

“Sitting here with you” seems a passive response, and maybe it is for many but for me as the sender and this morning as there receiver, it was so freakin’ powerful. The power of love. The power of the shirt. The power of sitting, with each other, hundreds or thousands of miles apart. The power of love.

Giving Thanks

Thankful for so very much in my life.

Thanksgiving Day was busy. It was my first time in church on Thanksgiving since Mum died (3.5 yrs ago). I kept busy in the back at church, didn’t really listen to much of the service. Shed a few tears with friends as we sang “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” The last few years are have been punctuated with loss and that comes boiling to the surface this time of year.

For me, the holidays are still hard. They are different each year, not sure if they are easier. On the one hand, I’d like to stay in bed and drink tea and eat biscuits; on the other hand, I love spending time with friends.

I rarely go to family because that is still too hard. Mum should be here. I was lucky enough to spend every holiday with her and most of the family for 49 years, and for 41 of them Dad was there. I’ve had to make new holidays traditions now that they are both gone. I spend time with friends so it’s good, but different. It’s not that I don’t miss them but it makes me miss them a little differently. The edges around the sorrow are a little smoothed and not quite as jagged.

My family doesn’t really understand and I’ve not really been able to articulate it even to myself until this year. I will travel to see the family in N.E. over one weekend in December. A couple of years ago, I went to Wales to visit bro during December, but I spend the actual holiday with friends.

So, the next five weeks will probably fly by and then life will get back to “normal” until the holiday season of 2015, when it will be a little different again.

Utterly Overwhelmed By Work

The day started pretty well and then I became mired in stuff that is still so new to me. New job is only two months old. Today is the first day that I thought maybe I can’t do it. Maybe my fears and apprehensions were well placed. Fear isn’t real. I know, but today, it seems very real and crushing.

Tomorrow, I have four times the work to get thru that I tried to do today. Four times. It will be an extraordinarily long day but I will get through it, one way or another. I know this is true, but right now, I’m so overwhelmed.

Then the news from Ferguson. Overwhelming. Is there a win in this situation? No one wins here, not any side. Maybe the saddest part is that there are sides and in the “American way” there’s gotta be a winner. I just don’t think there is a winner in this story.

Camp

I loved camp when I was a kid. Loved it! There were crafts, talk in large groups, time to hang out and chat with one or two people, and getting to know people from “way far away” (50 miles felt like half way around the world when you didn’t drive yet). Camp as a kid was on the beach on the Cape. Hours were spent gazing at the ocean and watching the sunset. It was magical.

Two weekends ago, I went to camp. I didn’t really know what to expect. Fear stopped me from going last year and I decided this year I wanted to go more than I was afraid to go. It was all of the wonderful things about camp as a kid. It was an experience I never thought I would have again.

I drove down with another camper who I met in person about 7 minutes before we got into the car for a nine hour drive. Nothing scary about that! The drive was great. Susan was a wonderful traveling companion. The drive through Virginia, Tenn and NC was beautiful.

I am still chewing on the things I heard and the things I learned about myself. I didn’t think there was much for me to learn about myself but apparently, there is a lot more. The most rewarding part of the weekend was meeting a group of amazing women and men. The creativity in this room was overwhelming. It was in a quantity and quality to which I’ve never been exposed. I am still trying to decide if anything I heard, witnessed or did changes my approach to my photography. Will I combine photography and with poetry? Me? Poetry? I digress…

Anyhow, what do I do with all of this new/different information. Does it transform parts of me or does “real life” just take over again? Up to me, I know. Still working on that part too.

We got the most amazing camp bags, made by Tom Bihn and badges! Lots of badges. We got more badges for participating through the weekend. Badges! Fun!

20141116_130017

We got “cootie catchers.”

liav camp paper catcher

The moonlight over the lake was lovely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

(Not) Home Alone

Home for three days but not here alone. Bro’s been in town and he’s been sick so it’s been very low key. He heads north tomorrow, driving and then flying. I wish he’d been able to do all that he wanted on his visit but we’ve had some nice quiet times – and then I’ve hidden away when I was done watching and hearing the constant TV.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to my empty house. This introvert could use some “me” time.

Monday, my mind was racing with thoughts and feelings and wanting to write and, and, and… Tuesday, nothing. I really felt nothing. Thought nothing of camp. Just nothing. Today, some feelings of excitement creeping back. At one point, there was this buoyancy. It truly felt like I was floating; well not me but my insides. Weird and wonderful. Hopefully when things quiet, I’ll be able to sit and write and think and be. Right now, the priority is to get him home safely.

Breaking Open

…in a good way, I think. in two days I’ve gained so much insight into me. I should know me, right? I keep seeing me on a sheet of paper. the drawings, renderings, symbols are coming from me but they come from a very deep place. a place that I don’t know and yet, there they are – me, clear as day. I fear (and hope, I guess) that I will see myself on more pieces of paper by the end of the weekend.

does the image get clearer? is there still more for me to learn about me? how much more? do I want to? do I have a choice in the matter? ya, rhetorical questions.

what does it all mean. what do I do with all of this?!? I think that will have to wait. I don’t think I can look that far down the road.

I don’t think I can look past the six hours before I need to get up for breakfast.