recently, taking buechner's advice to "listen to my life," i feel like it has been saying simply, "reclaim." so in an effort to listen actively i headed out a few days ago to a favorite location of mine and spent some time alone. and after a few short hours it was all taken care of.


in the last few years i have tried to live by the idea that "the more you give away in love the more you are," another buechner adage. and sometimes i wonder if that was not very naive--and not just that but much of the way i look at the world and people. because the reality is that things aren't always what they seem, and what has been given can never be returned. what has been lost cannot be recovered.

and i hate it. i hate the loss. some of the loss just comes from time, things changing. other loss comes more directly from choice--a move, a disconnect, a divorce. and the loss is so much more than just the presence, but all that has been shared in that relationship before. when what is given is not received, it is still lost. you do not get to continue to keep it. it has been taken but not received or shared--and then it seems to only produce emptiness, not more.

i had an image once of that buechner idea--that of a heart of flesh with part of it gone, given away. and then in place of the old part in that space were a bunch of sparkly particles or something. spirit i guess. and i think that was in a lot of ways mystically idealistic. it feels very disconnected from my experiences.

but then again feeling is not the end-all. maybe life has to be in some way idealistic like that, or else life will just become a constant chipping away at your heart. and then i begin to fear that life will get the best of me--that there is just too much that is and will be so hard. maybe those parts of our heart can be restored. or maybe i'm just not giving enough credit to the ability to heal. i think some heal better than others, or maybe it's just that for some wounds go deeper because they allowed the other deeper in them.

i don't know how to try to reclaim so many things in my life. i don't think it's possible. so we accept much as lost, and we do our best to let go. and the scars still feel.

so what do you do? you give and it just gets taken from you--how is it more blessed? and yet i know i would find no satisfaction in just taking as much as i can. so...i don't have an answer.

life cannot be about taking. it cannot be about getting the most out of life. "sucking the marrow" out of life is a somewhat common phrase, and though it has good intentions, i think it can very easily become very selfish--life is all about what you get out of it. and that's when the difference between hurting and harming others comes into play. in life, hurt is unavoidable and necessary at times. but harm comes from reckless insensitivity--trying too much to get out what you want. it usually happens (though with good intentions) as you suck for yourself. and somewhere along the line this somehow became not only acceptable but also applauded. you go get yours.

i want to believe buechner. i want to believe nouwen when he says that life is a gift. i want to learn how to receive it. and i want to see mine received. i want life to be about giving. giving may be more blessed, but it also seems a heck of a lot harder, especially when you're not accepted. even when you are, so much of what you give is not. much is not understood. and the disconnection between you and others is felt even deeper.

i don't have any answers. i don't have any way to wrap all this up, like i feel i've been trying to do recently in small ways, perhaps to make it slightly more bearable. but tonight i leave all these tensions open, as they are to me. and the weight of them steals my energy. so i go to sleep early on a lonely saturday night.


  1. i enjoyed reading this. that's good right? we connected?

    we still need to get together in KC, call us!

  2. Okay, I fixed my contribution on Sam's page. The next step is yours.