It is True Fall over here.
A blanket of yellow and red quivers on a bed of peridot grass. The air – slightly colder than my body would like it to be – drops frosty kisses on my plants and windows.
Here in California, rarely do we get to experience a season in true form. Usually it’s this hybrid creature – a mixture of all the seasons, in no particular order, splattered like paint on the months leading up to the close of the year.
I can no longer leave the house without coming back with an arm full of color-confused leaves. On especially lucky days, I also come home with a pinecone or two in my clutches. I scatter them throughout the house, mystifying a husband who does not see art and architecture in their unique form, but a sappy mess.
Oddly enough, as those of us in the state celebrate Thanksgiving, I am no more grateful today and I am on every other day. Relentless gratitude behooves a life of chronic illness. Being ill means I’m prone to anger, bitterness, and discontent. Gratitude keeps me soft, pliable. It keeps me aware of all the tiny miracles and holy shit whirring about my life like a beautiful tornado. Without gratitude, I would break and tear and wither like the trees outside my window.
Today, my goal is to further investigate the GIVING part of Thanksgiving.
We are called not only to be thankful, but to react to that thankfulness with generosity and kindness and Love. To be a fragrant offering.
So, today, may all who come near you be met with the decadence of gardenias.
Three words long, and yet it lacks nothing; it explains and concludes itself with perfect precision and full comprehension, leaving no room for negotiation or modifying clauses.
Beginning, middle, and end.
It doesn’t say love is sometimes kind. Or love is kind when it hasn’t had a really stressful morning. Or love is kind so long as a messy human doesn’t get its human-y-ness on love.
Love is kind.
But what I TRULY believe it’s saying is YOU are kind. Because Love is not a place or a feeling or a thing. It’s animate. It’s alive. It’s YOU. What you’re made of. Blood and bones and sinew — yes. But that invisible element binding it all, holding you together, THAT’S Love.
When God the Baker was creating your recipe, after all the measuring and adding and stirring and mixing, He took all your youness and poured it into a Love mold that could never be broken. Like cast iron but WAY stronger and WAY softer.
That mold was what you were formed inside. It is woven throughout your entire DNA. It’s like human Scotchguard. None of those stains are ever going to set in. Not a single one. People will hurt you and betray you and leave you. But you remain whole and pure. Encapsulated in the most durable substance that ever left Heaven. It’s how the bible can say preposterous things like Love is kind, without providing back doors.
We don’t have to armor our hearts. We just need to remember the Love.
I’m not sure what it is.
If it’s in the air.
If it’s in the water.
But it’s HAPPENING.
Lately, I’ve noticed more and more sisters bravely stepping out of the shadows of their lives and bringing their truth into the light.
As a creative, at times I struggle to walk what seems to me to be a very thin and distinct line. Either you have a pretty feed or you have an honest and ugly one.
I think that’s wrong. I think that’s a steamy pile of beaver bullets.
We don’t have to choose one or the other. We can choose BOTH. Because WE are both. Flawless and scarred.
Yes, I want my living room to be a place that provides comfort and ambiance, but not at the expense of who I am. Yes, I am a maker. But I’m ALSO a human.
A messy human.
A broken human.
An an extremely sensitive human.
Every couple of days, a depressed human.
This is me. This is us. Stained and sanctified. Ruined and wanted. We are violently immaculate.
So please don’t stop.
Please continue breaking the barriers and ripping down the pristine walls hiding your most succulent treasure. Do these hard things; be vulnerable and brave and gentle and awake. Be ripe. Be succulent.
Please PLEASE keep sharing your truth. I love your art, I really do, but I NEED your truth. Your truth makes me brave. It helps me to remember that I am not alone. It reminds me I am a sacred and important and holy piece in God’s toolbox, just as you are. And because when you are you and I am me, we change all the stupid rules keeping us apart.
Sisters, this is SO MUCH BIGGER than the maker movement.
We are doing THE HUMAN MOVEMENT.
We are growing and falling and breaking and soaring, and we never have to worry about the landing part, because grace will be there to catch us. Every time. Grace is never absent or late. Grace is always right there, just below you, waiting to help you back up.
I know of only one other love that out-loves relentless love, and that is unconditional love. By my own definition, this was achieved but only ONCE, by a man named Love, when He took upon His Perfect Self the flaming guilt of this world and said that me and you, all of His children, would never again be kept from Love because of what we did, are doing, and will do.
Love said, “You are mine. You are forgiven. You are enough. I will never ever ever ever stop loving you. You’re free.” . . . . . whoa. So since I am unable to dispense that love to humankind, I am daily practicing the other love. Relentless love. Love that, best to its ability, puts itself aside in the name of another. Love that stays on its feet when all the defenses launch forward. Love that chooses kindness and mercy, even when the one on the other end of it doesn’t deserve it. Let’s not even get into what WE deserve. Sometimes it will be easy: letting someone else take the parking spot for which you had been patiently waiting. And sometimes it will feel like trying to digest a stick of dynamite. The other day I was given the opportunity to relentlessly love someone who has been a constant thorn in my life. Sharp. Pokey. Irritating. Cruel. When it came to my attention that she needed relentless love, because her heart had been shattered into a million jagged pieces, I did not want to give it. I wanted to revel. Preen. Gloat. I wanted to sing “What comes around goes around.” So I did. For about 13 minutes. Then I digested dynamite. You guys, we are not here to do little things. We are here to do BIG GIANT HARD IMPORTANT THINGS. We are not here to love optionally or conveniently or occasionally. We are here to LOVE RELENTLESSLY. Which, I promise, my loves, is a thing of PRICELESS worth. This print, on the other hand, and my effusive gratitude, you can have for a modest investment of $24.00.
Water.org is partnering/collaborating with Stella Artois to bring to us gorgeous glassware, and in return we are given the gift of providing clean drinking water to the poorest villages in Ethiopia, Honduras, and India. And this is not just a one time deal, a cup of water and then back to disease and dehydration. Oh, no. No siree. This gift will last for FIVE YEARS.
My people, my people, this is an opportunity to do something extraordinary, to almost literally be the hands of Jesus. This is your chance to change dirty water into a life-saving MIRACLE.
And here is the best part. Well, no. The best part is obvious, but the most convenient part is pretty awesome too. How much will it cost you to be the almost-literal hands of Jesus? About three hotdogs on a stick. Yep. $12.00.
Nope, that is not a typo. Two zeros. THAT IS ALL! And the bonus? The chalices are sort of, kind of stunning; the kind of glasses you put behind see-through cabinets or in the very front, so that when people open your cupboards they immediately ooo and ahhh over your style and panache. ARE YOU HEARING ME? You can have PANACHE for $12.00.
Okay, sales gimmick over.
Let’s just do something important today. Let’s reach and heal and bless and love hundreds, possibly thousands, of people. Let us prove that chivalry is not dead at all. It is alive and well, moving and romancing and changing the world one beautiful person at a time.