Thank you for every loving word, email and comment that was sent my way after Monday’s post. I am so darn lucky to have all of you in my life.
the legendary shakepeare and company in paris
Today is Shakespeare’s birthday. If he had been cryogenically frozen and then reanimated this morning, he would be 450 years old. It seems like such a long time, but in the space of humanity it is really just a blink. More people have had to live without midsummer night dreams and roses that would smell as sweet than those of us who have lived with them.
It’s a shame.
Listen, none of us are Shakespeare. I’ve tried to weave words into gold and mostly, I’ve ended up with pyrite.
We are all stewards of language, possessors of the same vocabulary Shakespeare crafted into cadence and meaning. There is so much power wielded by the words we hold common even as they are the means with which we communicate needs, hopes and dreams with ourselves and others.
Today I hope we take extra care and creativity in the way we speak, write and communicate. Let’s dedicate ourselves to the alchemy of language and renew our spirits with the carefully chosen words of others.
The Bard, I think, would approve.
Holding this thought today. Beautifully handlettered by Eva of Sycamore Street Press.
I loved a few of the posts I saw on social media yesterday. Lovely bits of holiness sprinkled across the top of Easter Sunday. One of my favorites came from Margaret Young, a professor at BYU,
“I miss Easter bonnets. One woman wore a pretty bonnet to church, but everyone else was bonnet-less. Let us bring back the tradition! I always bought bonnets for my daughters, and new clothes for my children. I would put a scripture next to the clothes: “Awake and arise from the dust and put on thy beautiful garments.” There is sweet symbolism in new clothes for Easter.”
What if we treated each new day like Easter Sunday? Awake and arise from the dust on this Monday morning, dear friends.
Viola spent the last three days acting like a horse. She neighed and galloped and pretended to eat grass from the ground. It was adorable. And odd. Just the way any daughter of mine should be.
On the way home from my mom’s house, Riley turned to me and looked over my hair.
“I’ve been thinking. You should do a really short pixie cut. I think you would look really nice.”
And now all I can think about is the sheer joy of having hair that basically does itself. Maybe I should buy some earrings? And a new lipstick? And…what if I, you know, dyed all that short hair a lovely lavender? These are questions for the ages, friends.
I am having a hard time. I worry about writing about it too much in this space. You have all become such good friends and even good friends tire of the pain of others. I hope to find the balance between honesty about present circumstance and maintaining an uplifting dialogue here.
I am making an appointment with a therapist today. That should help. (Let’s be more open to asking for help.)
So my dad died of Leukemia. And then my mom was nominated Woman of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And now we are raising money to give to research dedicated to kicking cancer’s sad angry bottom. When I posted about that campaign last week, my readers donated almost $2000. It was humbling and kind and just so powerful.
We’ve got one last way for you to help and it’s pretty damn delicious. Today from 5 – 8 pm, 20% of the sales at the Chick-Fil-A in American Fork, Utah will be donated to the cure cancer campaign in my Dad’s name. (Check out picture below for the deets.) I will be there rallying the crowd and there will be enough Chick-Fil-A sauce to satiate even the most addicted among us. Bonus? If you share the photo below on social media with the #chickfightscancer, you are entered to win a $100 gift card to Chick-Fil-A. Yeah, that’ll buy you a lot of friend chicken, and that’s not a bad thing.
Want to help but can’t make the dinner? Donate here.
Blood moon over Idaho, 2011. Reuters.
It’s only an hour till the first blood moon in a tetrad of crimson and night. I’ve decided to forsake sleep and let my eyes see something for the first time. Blanket across my legs and a computer on my lap, I feel like I’m a kid again. Waiting for wonder. If my dad walked into the room and told me it was time to go to bed, it would make more sense than the reality of him being dead. Red moons are the stuff of Tolkien and Bradbury. They exist in the world my dad taught me to read out of space and time. It doesn’t seem right that color can spill across the face of the heavens when I can’t talk to the man that taught me to look up.
I guess I still talk to him. He just never talks back.
I listen for his voice everywhere. The seven second voicemails he left every time he called,
“Hey, Megan. This is Dad. Just calling to say I love you. Give me a call back.”
When the moments are quiet I retreat into myself and listen for him in the memories that slip in and out of my heart and head.
I try to hear him in the stories people tell me about him. I love those, the tales I’ve never heard before as well as the ones that have shaped the background of my life.
It’s an odd thing, hearing someone other than myself describe my dad. We all live in such different corners of the same truth. The Dewey Conley they know is different than the one I know. When a person dies, the world is only left with reflections of them cast off of both casual and intimate observers. Everyone’s reality of my dad is different than my own.
So often that concept is talked about as a fixed point. But it is fluid, moving both intact and constantly changing from person to person, time to time and perception to perception. The other day my mom told a story about my dad and I thought, I know he was that to you, but I never met that man. I don’t know your Dewey Conley. It was a sad thought. With all our loving and hoping, we still can’t grasp him wholly out of the dripping glass. The stories take his voice from me almost as quickly as they give it to me. But in the moment between the exchange, I am there is a place where he still exists in time.
And I am thankful.
Today was too long and tomorrow starts too early for me to be up into the morning. But I feel compelled into wakefulness. The blood moon will be red but the cause isn’t anything sinister. Beautifully and amazingly, the reds and coppers come from the reflection of sunrises and sunsets all across the world. My goodness, the color of life across the cold stone that holds down the dark. The promise of tomorrow in the dead of night. The literal wonder of an intricately tooled universe.
For the rest of my life, I will hear my dad’s voice more purely in moments like this than in any recording or remembrance.
Hey, Dad. It’s late and I’m ten years old reading under the covers after you told me to go to bed. And I will, I really will. I just need to look up one more time before I get back to the business of living without you. Did you hear? The moon is going to turn the color of my heart tonight.
I really wish we could talk about it.
This is not an accurate representation of my weekly to do list. (What the heck is an extra-special bath?)
Someone once told me to start each Monday with an act of service. They said it was the perfect way to kick start a week. I am sure that’s correct. However, generally Monday comes and my kick start demands something more chemical based and infused with caffeine. I’d like to be better, but I’m not.
Sometimes I wake up at the beginning of the week and feel time stretch in front of me and press down upon me. A whole week that I must fill with the necessary and the praiseworthy. It is all too much and I generally turn on a movie for the girls and read incendiary articles across the internet until my heart calms down. This morning isn’t too different. The girls are watching Barbie and the Pearl Mermaid, a movie that I am certain must be an overt exercise in nihilism. It is chilling. I am reading up on the latest BLM vs rancher controversy in Nevada. We all may or may not have had ritz crackers and peanut butter for breakfast.
But somewhere between the crackers and the first flip of that mermaid’s tail, I’ve found my perspective shifting. In antiquity, seven was a symbol for wholeness or completeness. The Hebrew root word means “to have enough”, “to be full”. It’s an interesting concept. Maybe the next seven days do not demand from me, maybe what I do to fill them, no matter what it is, is enough. Perhaps just living through seven days at a time with an open and willing heart is how we move to that fulfilled wholeness we all seem to seek.
Here’s to the next seven days. May there be some learning, some service, some hope, some sleep and some HGTV. (And yeah, even one more viewing of that damn Barbie movie.)
And lots and lots of caffeine.