Hold Out Your Hand

I’ve been writing a lot this past week but it’s been pretty scattered.  I’ve had a hard time corralling it into something that resembles a coherent post.   Last night as I laid down to go to sleep, I thought about the morning.  Mornings are hard lately.  I wake up too early and usually with a sense of heaviness.  I made a plan.  I told myself, When you wake up, don’t pick up the phone.  Pick up Big Magic and start reading.  When I woke, it was still dark. I heard the familiar rhetoric in my head about how I knew I would wake up too early.  I let my mind wander for a while and then the first light of dawn began to reflect off my bedroom wall.  I thought about the quiet of a walk in the early morning and I couldn’t resist.  So I abandoned my plan to read, got dressed and went for a walk through my neighborhood.  

Hold Out Your Hand by Brandi Carlile has become a kind of anthem for my rebellion against the sadness and the resistance of life.  The lyrics point to setting aside differences and embracing the commonality of the human experience.  But as I listened to this on my walk, the chorus made me picture myself standing before the darkness with arms and hands faced upward, accepting all of the good in the world.  Grabbing onto every thing that can bring me up with it.  

Hold out your hand

Take hold of mine now

Round and round we go

Don’t you wanna dance

I’m a dying man

From the moment we began

Hold out your hand  

Like many of you, I’ve been reading about Mary Oliver this week since her passing.  I’ve seen this poem posted a few different places.

Those two lines in the middle—Your heart is beating, isn’t it? You’re not in chains, are you?—those lines are my liberation.  It’s a little late to be talking about New Year’s resolutions but I’ve been contemplating what 2019 should be for me since the end of December.  I think it’s this.  I think it will be a year of surrendering to myself.  I want to stop pushing.  I want to hold out my hands and take all that I can, all that is good, all that is alive.  I feel so much sadness.  And in the same moment, there exists within me a furious rebellion against it.  It’s the voice that tells me not to spend another moment in despair—to laugh at it.  To make war against it.  To blow it up. 

And I’m finding little ways to do this. Breakfast is one of them. I heard a while back that it’s a luxury to be able to make scrambled eggs for breakfast every day. I started doing this over a year ago, and I quite agree. It’s my most consistent self-care. I don’t just make the eggs, but I put things on them and with them to make them delicious. And now I do it with a middle finger raised to the sadness and my WTF prayer sign pointed up to God.

In case that WTF-sign reference was lost on you, let me explain. This is a reference to Glennon Doyle’s writing and I find it’s a really helpful way to pray. Click on the link if you want to read more.

Mostly, I have three prayers. I imagine them as huge signs – billboard sized signs – that I hold up toward the sky throughout the day, in hopes God’ll see them. The first sign says: Come in! The second says: THANK YOU! And the third says: WTF?????


I also let R clean the bathroom. I walked in on him doing this on Wednesday and it still makes me laugh. The bathroom WAS dirty.

Life is worth the fight and there are moments when all that is required is to hold out your hands and stay open to the good.  Namaste.