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Board me quickly; cast to sea;
leave this grieving shoreline.
How welcome this exile.
Never again to pass where I watched
unknown
still wearing your scent,
your touch, all made doubly absent
by strangers’ ignorant sobs.

No one saw; my mourning days unwritten,
these waiting days left
on quite roadsides, wondering
if indeed I would last
forever, how long named by
past-tense love,
wishing us present, wishing again
to read your mind as only
one soul allows.

Abide with me.
Remain with me.
My wisdom, yes, but more my plea –
my heart’s great cry.
I ran to those you love,
gave them all I knew,
searching their beauty, their glory
for any piece for every piece of you,
hoping my feet once more would carry
me faster and this time find you waiting.

I miss your words.
Replaying them in my head, I cling to comfort
as your voice becomes more ink than breath.
And here I wait again, each
slapping wave releasing me from these remembered places,
washing my feet once more;
the ghost-less sea leading
me in unexpected kindness to
my laying bare.

Light and love are my embankment;
even here they shield and secure me,
holding me until in thrilling
delirium I feast on this glimpse.
Across the adoring multitude:
my friend.
And I forget even the future,
beholding the beloved,
knowing that against you again I’ll recline.

come
please come.

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I’ve been trying to get this one out for more than a year, but it wouldn’t let go.  Turned out there were some things I just didn’t know enough to write yet.  After a little more waiting (and working and listening), I think we found a point that we’re happy with.  I’m excited it’s here now.  Hope you enjoy.

An unexpected thing happened in recent weeks. I thought about and planned this blog for so many months, and I never thought I’d be afraid of it, afraid to tell the truth. I never thought I’d spend the first two months after it really started fighting off a heaviness I’ve not seen in years. I never thought I’d talk about that here, because it’s not what I want to say or what I want you to hear. But it’s part of making my way.

It’s the rhythm of blogging that eludes me a little, the balance between honesty and image, especially when I know at this point that almost anyone that reads this knows me already. And it’s probably not just here that it eludes me; it seems like I spend a lot of time negotiating between who I am and who I hope I’m becoming (who I really am!). They’re both very persuasive.

I want to write things that are funny and insightful, hopeful, challenging, and beautiful. I want to capture the extraordinary moments in the process, the every-day amazing that feeds both my delight and desire for what comes next. My heart’s desire: to live. I want to leave out the hard moments (the hard days), concerned they’ll crowd out the others on this screen, and that you’ll wonder too much if I’m ok (I am!).

I have a sweet friend who’s often told me to be raw, to not always insist on being finished and together. I know she’s right. It seems a little to me like asking for the first draft of a poem or a half-cooked meal, but I guess finished products are harder to wait for in people. Postcards from perfect moments are nice for sharing from a distance, but it’s the rambling and sometimes desperate letters that draw us into each other’s lives; they‘re the moments I’m thrilled to share with people I love and that I miss most when they‘re not around. I love to be part of their living, of being rough drafts together. We live life together believing we’re changed together. Your glory-to-glory is mine too; sometimes we hold onto it for each other when it gets slippery and look together for the extraordinary.

So we’ll get this out of the way. Not all of my days are perfect, and I occasionally lose sight of their extraordinariness. If I wait to only write on the days that I have everything together, I’ll never do it, and I’m not ready to give it up. And honestly, the writing helps me get it together. Putting it here is about sharing, about knowing there’s someone else making their way to something hard to see, figuring out the way to get there, even on the days that don’t seem particularly funny or insightful. I’m only afraid of hard days if they don’t lead me anywhere, that don’t get me closer. You remind me – the yous I know and don’t know – we have somewhere to go.

I’m concerned that Google Reader may have preëmptively destroyed my life as a blogger.  Months ago, I started using it to keep up with blogs I’d found that were interesting and inspiring.  Then I found more.  I now routinely have around 40 unread blog posts at any given time, and they all seem to be so fascinating or contain such vital information that to just delete them would seal me in permanent ignorance.  Add that to the 92 emails currently in my inbox unrespnded to, the three versions of to-do lists I carry around in vain hope, and the fact that I’ve slept two-hours later than intended every day this week (I blame the pollen, for everything), and you’ll see the direction things are heading.  Since they’re all just for fun, I won’t even get into detail about the 27 shows waiting on the DVR or the backlog of unread magazines going back to January (ok, January 2009). 

I’d love to tell you that I’m going to get on top of all this soon (I tell myself this about everyday), but all these get worked into the edges of my life around my family and work and Church and friends (all my first things – without them I’d have nothing to write about).  Those edges get pretty thin, and honestly, since it’s almost beach season, are about to get thinner.  I completely believe that letting me live near the beach is a main way I’m kept sane and balanced, and I feel it’s my responsibility to fully take advantage of that as much as possible.  And I’m not taking my laptop out there.  I can’t be that guy.  Maybe just my phone…

All that said, I am working on some new posts and hope to have them up very soon.  Thanks to all of you who checked this out over the last few weeks.  That so many of you would take time from the edges of your life to share a little of mine is a mind-blowing compliment.  You’ll never know how much it means to me (or how many times a day I check WordPress to see if anyone’s reading!).  Be full and loved today!

PS – clearly I’m obsessed with using parenthesis.  I don’t know when this happened, but I love them.

Last week I was invited to join a Facebook group celebrating my 11th grade English teacher and his classes.  He was that great, fun teacher, letting us write quotes on the walls and sit on an old couch.  He introduced me to William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Pat Conroy, and to Toni Morrison, who helped me fall completely in love with words and language.  He also gave us vocabulary, and lots of it.  I still have the stacks of index cards, cataloging words that I’m pretty sure live only to be used on the SAT and in The New Yorker.  The invitation’s timing was a fun coincidence, because I’d just been remembering all that as I considered naming this blog.  I really wanted it to be “Searching for Propinquity”.

propinquity (n.) – proximity; nearness in space and time

I’ve always loved that definition, the picture it gives, the idea it represents:  being close to something in multiple dimensions.  Sadly I think the word itself is just a little lacking in finesse and a little too much for what we’re doing here.  For a while a few years ago, I actually convinced myself that the word was propensity, which I promptly began using incorrectly and is something else entirely.  I also recently discovered through a little Googling that propinquity is a big concept in social psychology, including something called the propinquity effect.  It sounded kind of fascinating, and maybe it’s relevant, but in the end it was just too much to sort out for naming a blog. 

Still, it’s kind of what this is all about.  We want to be near, to be close, and even when we’ve found that closeness, it draws us in and we want other people to have it too.  I think often that’s why we’re so struck by writing or music or art.  I hear or read or see something and the distance between me and the creator disappears, because it’s explained me better than I can explain myself.  In that moment we’ve been seen, understood, and connected.  And then we want to share, post it, tweet it, pass it out – “look at this, listen; this is me. ” We see and feel and know, and want to know that someone else does, too.

It’s a tricky desire, this need for closeness, and it’s full of dangerous points that I still only navigate with moderate success (I’m remembering Relational Dialectics theory, but we’ll save that for another post, maybe after the one about why I’m having all these school flashbacks!).  

The point is, I think (and write) on these things a lot – relationships, connection – sometimes obsessively, because I know when we get them right, they’re amazing and worth all the effort.  If you get tired of hearing about it, or have it all figured out and can fill me in, let me know.  I’ll switch topics to being the father of a two-year-old girl, which makes all this seem easy.