Good morning dear heart,
I’m writing this letter to you on my birthday, thirty-six, four years to forty. I woke up while it was still dark to the sound of husband snoring next to me. “You’re snoring” I whispered and kicked him. It’s a delicate dance we’ve been doing for fifteen and a half years. It was 4:30 a.m. and a finch had already started to sing outside our window. I laid there thinking about you, dear heart, about the letter I would write on the day when I mark another year of life lived, another hoped to be lived.
I have thought about doing this for awhile now, thought of sharing some of what I’ve experienced in my short/long years on this mud ball, in this nerve bundle of a body, on a place where you could find the words. As it’s gotten more real and begun to come into focus I’ve heard the voice of resistance. I’ve heard it more times than I can tally.
The voice comes in forms of accusations like, “who do you think you are?” and “Nobody wants anything you have to give.” It comes in the form of a friend who just wants to care for me saying, “maybe now isn’t the right time..” It takes shape as my deep fear of people who could read these letters, even some of my nearest and dearest, and not like what they read. It’s a growing awareness that I can’t be good enough. It’s something I know deep in my gut: No matter where my heart is, what my story is, and what I share, I can’t be good enough.
If I’m sharing the real stuff, the stuff none of us talk about but we’re desperate to know we’re not alone in, “it’s not going to go well..” At least that’s what Anne Lamott told me a couple weeks ago. I got to hear her speak with three of my closest girlfriends and, by some shooting-star miracle, I was able to ask her a question and receive her answer. It was true and beautiful, merciful and lacking in bullshit – Anne’s specialty. Sitting here now, I realize it’s the reason I’m writing you. God knew I would never grow the cojonés to finally do this without my favorite author of all time telling me to, explicitly.
At the end of her answer she looked me in the eyes and said, “Make a deal with yourself – you’re doing it now as a debt of honor. And so, yeah, just do it. That’s what I hope you take away from tonight is just do it. It’s now. There’s no such thing as “as soon as”. When you’re tired there’ll be other stuff. When your kids leave home they’ll be other stuff. If you ever get a real office there will be other stuff.. always, always, always. That’s the voice of the oppressor that keeps us silent.”
I can’t be good enough but “good enough” isn’t the point of this. The point is grace, grace, and more grace. I can’t be young enough or hip enough or safe enough or pedestrian enough or witty enough or talented enough to make everyone love me or my words. But these letters aren’t about “let’s make everyone love me.. okay? on three… “ These letters are about grace enough. When I know I’m not good enough, there’s grace enough for me. When my words are inconvenient or when the sharing doesn’t go well, there’s grace enough for that. To borrow from Anne’s words to me – There’s grace enough for all of us, always, always, always. All the rest – the trying to be good enough – is the voice of the oppressor that keeps us silent. Dear heart, I feel the weight fall off my shoulders when I picture it.. living with “grace enough” instead of “good enough” as the point.. don’t you? with love and grace,