Saturday, August 30, 2008

Letting Go

You know how it happens. You decide to check on a few of your favorite blogs. They lead you to other blogs. You discover a new blog and spend hours reading through the blogger's archive. I've just come up for air from such a day.

This one really got to me. I can't decide whether I want to keep reading his blog. It's painful. Deeply painful. And, right now, I'm having trouble with that. I want to hear his voice, and I don't want to hear it. I want to hear the pain because it resonates with some of mine, and I don't.

In a post that left me sobbing he begins with a poem I think I may once have seen. He quotes this from Mary Oliver:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

It's his jumping-off point to the story of the death of his cat -- two of them, actually. It reminded me so much of Shug's death, and of how Shug and Scotty had been my only beloved, constant companions during many happy years and some years of turmoil. And of a dear friend who wrote me this week of the death of a cat whom I knew and loved in her youth.

And it reminds me I have no human creature whom I can love and hold in that way, and of the ache that sometimes creates. There is no one I can call "my beloved," nor anyone who would call me hers. Sometimes, that is painful.

This man's blog deals a lot with loss and regret and despair. He raises dark issues, some of which have been dogging me of late.

I think I've been keeping a mostly brave face in public and even with friends. He's writing some honest, gut-wrenching stuff that I haven't had the courage to articulate. My issues aren't the same as his, but they're related.

I look forward to weekends. And lately there haven't been many that were really "free," but this one is. No parish or diocesan meetings. No travels. Thank God, I will go to church tomorrow, for it always lifts me beyond myself.

But tonight . . . ? Tonight I have just three companions. Scotty, who (like Shug) has been with me so long as a faithful, loving companion. Jamocha, the "new" kitty who still doesn't trust me except when I'm sitting or lying down. And the "black dog" of regret, grief, and painful memories.

There are days -- especially unstructured days spent at home alone -- when it's not so much that I hope my name is written in God's Book of Life as I fear my name is written in God's Book of Fuck-Ups. This is one of those.


Blogger FranIAm said...

I know that blog. It is something.

And those words from Mary Oliver...

Some days are like that, a trip down the rabbit hole of blogging.

As for God's book of Fuck Ups, I am reasonably sure (and somewhat disappointed at times) that the pages are blanker than blank.

Be well dear Lisa.

(PS - you may have seen, but I put up a post at Grandmere's about Grandmere. She is at her other house and ok for now.)

8/30/2008 8:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

FranIAm, I hope you're right about God's Book of Fuck-Ups.

Going to Mimi's site now. I don't watch much TV, so I didn't realize until today that the hurricane was bearing down on her and N.O.

8/30/2008 9:03 PM  
Blogger Cany said...

Nice post, Lisa... good point, Fran:)

I just cannot believe they are going to have to go through such a horrible storm again.

And to think global warming will make them consistently worse is just mind numbing.

When I worked for an international environmental group, we came across insurance companies, even then, that were extremely concerned about the impliations on their business from global warming. With the increased fires and storm intensities we are seeing, it is no wonder.

I am glad to know Grandmere's safe.

8/31/2008 2:18 AM  
Blogger IT said...


...and warmest hopes that those in New Orleans and on the gulf coast are safe tonight...

8/31/2008 9:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm with you, CANY & IT. My focus is on Grandmere and the Gulf.

8/31/2008 9:50 PM  
Blogger --Susan said...

Hi Lisa.
First of all, I agree with franiam that if such a book exists, then it is full of blank pages. That is the wonderful thing about God's forgiveness: no matter how strongly we want to hold on to our screw ups, God looks in that book and says, "Nope. Don't see it." And we continue to plead our point of how messed up we are and God looks quizzically at us saying, "I just don't know what you're talking about." Perhaps Jesus meanwhile is in the hot tub soaking off the crud we keep layering on.

I too am having issues with the hanging on/letting go dichotomy. Years ago my dad became sick and I screamed at God to not let my Daddy die. Guess what. He didn't. But he is brain damaged. That is the flip side of forgiveness. I'm not sure I've forgiven God.

My dad continues to spiral slowly and painfully downward. When I allow myself to feel, I know that I am angry. I find myself pouting at God for doing my dad dirty. My mom called last night sobbing. She just can't stand to see him this way. I want to say: well, it is my fault. I prayed for God to not let him die and God answered my prayer.

In my more rational moments, I do not believe that God is really that involved. I do not believe that God pithed my dad just to show me some kind of life lesson.

While a decade ago I was pleading that God spare my dad, now I find myself pleading that dad be free of this suffering. Funny: the response to this prayer is...well, isn't.

I am afraid I have learned lessons. The positive thing is that if the opposite of faith is not doubt but rather certainty, then my faith should be growing by leaps and bounds.

God give me strength to let go with grace.


9/01/2008 12:23 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Oh, Susan! Thanks for sharing your story here. But I'm not sure we can lay all this stuff on God. Sometimes, stuff just happens.

9/01/2008 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


been there, done that, it will happen, and I am very glad that you are there.

9/03/2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

(Sorry for the late post, I am just being slow catching up on blogs...)

Lisa, not only do I agree about Fran's comment about "Gods book of fuck ups," I also think when we stand and tell God, "Oh, God, I have so fucked up," he sticks his fingers in his ears and goes "la la la la la can't hear you!"

FWIW, I am going to tell you my liturgical calendar theory. I have this sense that all of us on the liturgical calendar together can start to have mood swings together, sort of how like female college roommates all get their period at the same time. Look what a morose bit of blog I put together on the same day you did yours!

I mean, hey, even though we are of different persuasions, looks like the "lonesome bug" is biting more than one Episcopalian at the same time...!!!!

Hang in there.

9/05/2008 12:58 PM  
Blogger Lindy said...

I am sorry that the black dog has visited. I sometimes hear the click-clack of his toes on the floor too.

9/07/2008 11:01 AM  
Blogger Suzer said...


I've not been reading blogs as much, and am sorry now that I've not kept up with yours recently. My new job and some other stuff has kept me away from the computer, but not from caring about the folks I've met in blogdom.

Thinking about you, friend.

9/21/2008 9:36 PM  

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