Updated: Jan 26
The Wine: Champalou 2016 Chenin Blanc, Vouvray, France The Winery: The Back Abbey, Claremont, CA The W(H)ine: We, Two. #WeToo. I am inclined to offer you a thousand excuses why I’ve not published a blog in months, but no one cares. Except me. After all, I have been writing. Excuse #1: Some pieces take time to marinate, bask, and absorb the glorious editing that comes from experiential hindsight. Excuse #2: I am really busy writing all day at work and that writing pays the bills. Excuse #3: I have long (subconsciously) believed I can only put out good work when well-supported by a significant other, and without that the past several months, I’ve been stuck. STOP your f-ing judgment, already. Just keep reading. J Last fall, I returned from a Thanksgiving Ohio visit. Saw all five of mine. (Yay!) Learned I am a mother-in-law. (Mic Drop) Returned to an unwelcome work announcement. (WTF!*%*^) Then, WeTwo broke. (Shit) I didn’t see any of it coming. “The wind bloweth withersoever it listeth.“ So says Scripture, science and sages of old. Not up to speed on your King James? Translation: the wind blows wherever the *%*& it wants to, without consideration of people, places or things in its way. One climate commonality between my current California locale and my former Midwest home is WIND. It blows. This winter, California’s Santa Ana winds fueled devastating, deathly fires nearby; meanwhile my former Cleveland community dealt with Nor’Easters and pot-hole-inspiring Polar Vortexes, both bringing unwelcome consequences. Calls to/from Ohio checking in to ensure loved ones remain safe left us wondering, Why is our weather wielding such devastation????? In his country hit single, “Broken Halos, “ Chris Stapleton settles on this sentiment: Don’t go looking for the reasons. Don’t go asking Jesus why. We’re not meant to know the answers. They belong to the by and by. Like most good country songs, the lyrics offer no solid life solutions, just reason to feel. But, WHO, may I ask, is “By and By”????? (I demand an interview.) How much of our hard-earned, easily-spent energy do we devote to figuring out, “How did this happen? What was he thinking? Are you f-ing kidding me???” So, so much. Here is what I DO know: Seldom do I withstand windstorms well, standing alone as they pummel my person. You? With a long history of codependency, countered with intermittent episodes of strong-willed, prideful independence, I struggle with the sharing of struggles. This weathered woman wonders “WHY ????” way too often, without looking around for opportunity to take in the windy wonder… Learn tethered trust…and… Share authentically with others in similar shitstorms. (Say that five times fast.) The answers to “Why???” IF and when they ever come, may miss the point entirely. Prolific author Philip Yancey poses the following in his book, Where Is God When It Hurts? Suggesting the “backward-looking question ‘Why?’ reverses our gaze, which proves unhelpful and unproductive.
Instead, we must ask a “very different, forward-looking question: TO WHAT END???????????” To What End? Say it aloud. Look around. Phone a friend. In the same text, Yancey posits that our earthly existence serves a larger purpose than merely pursuing, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” (not that those aren’t worthy efforts), but that “pleasure sometimes emerges against a background of pain, evil transformed into good, and suffering may produce something of value.” I’m listening… These discernments come not in the vacuum of solitary existence, but in the counsel, feedback and reflection of others. For me, the “We, Two” break wrought: WeToo. When he and I needed space as the relationship wind blew us apart, I fought reaction, and retort. A part of me, But, WHY???????????? “
I lost that fight. Let me explain. When my sweetheart of one year presented me with shocking proposal, “We need to break up. We are not good for each other right now,” I recoiled, swallowed my heart whole, and grasped desperately for the counter-argument, despite the fact that this M.O. has never successfully worked. I tried to hold my shit together myself. EPIC FAIL Eventually, I opted to delve deep, offering a humble, “Tell me more…” Then, I reached inwards, but more so OUTWARDS, for solace, support, and stability. Breathed. Cried. Gulped. And, repeatedly asked the Universe, TO WHAT END???, While leaning on a plethora of trustworthy shoulders, including precious friends, a few family members, and a divinely appointed therapist. (Everyone needs one of those.) While awaiting answers, it occurred to me that these fractures fuel phenomenal personal growth. (That may or may not have been my original thought.) Here’s what (and why) I now embrace what I call a #WeToo movement, aimed at COLLECTIVE learning, listening and loving. We all break from time to time. Sometimes space is needed in every relationship to recover from too much or too little or too toxic a connection. Shit happens. When it does, Lean On WE. #WeToo * Yancey, Philip.. (1997). Where is God when it hurts? . Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Pub. House.