We were tucked away near the cobble of Hudson, where it crosses with Jane Street; a street where you just have this innate understanding, “Of course John Lennon and Yoko lived here!”
I saw a family on the steps of a home that had to be worth a gazillion dollars and marveled at how similar they looked to mine. The seemingly only difference, well they have a gazillion bucks. Other than that-our families looked so very similar, right down to the color of the fur on their dog's back and underbelly.
It made me think how money always separates us if we pay (pun so intended) too much attention to it. If I stepped closer and looked in the children’s eyes, rubbed the underbelly of the dog, I wasn’t intimidated. No difference.
SO I’m tucked away eating gluten free something with my Brooklyn friend who met me after a baby shower, and she said something that articulated what I couldn’t for years. Especially the last few that have contained illness and children moving on and so many worldly lessons. She said:
I just don’t have time for people I can’t be honest with. I just, I want to be who I am without having to worry about whether the other person will judge or perceive in such an unintended way. I’m tired.
I could feel the blood rushing to my face. Usually this would be a teary-eyed moment between women, but it wasn’t. I jumped up and yelled, "YES! THAT is how I feel! Thank you!"
I’m so tired and just too, old, to be messing with people I have to hide from. Why do we make plans to see people we have to hide from with our words and our angles and lighting. I don’t want to pretend that I’m not grieving for the Middle East for Jenny or Danny. The list goes on. I don’t want to have to hold back that I saw miracles and angels around me and they led me here. I don’t want to fucking pretend I’m not exhausted because I am, or like I look like this when I wake up (my lips are naturally rose-kissed and my complexion is naturally, umm...clear?). I won’t lie about money problems or my health either. It works the other way around as well--I can’t contain the joy of it all.
When I was younger I would pretend. I would lie. I would take for granted. I couldn’t see. Now I see the faults and the bumps, but they are so contained with beauty. I don’t want to lie. I don’t care about the imperfections, I can’t deny the lessons that are meant for me in them. This is how my God teaches me.
I won’t text someone back anymore because it is dishonest. I know how she feels. I read it. She didn’t know I was reading. I saw who she was when she didn’t know I was looking and I can’t seem to let go of that. It was cold and so mean and directed at me. It hurt someone else in the meantime. It hurt them fiercely. I can’t text back and pretend I am okay with what I read. I walked away from her words shaking. I can’t pretend the ice didn’t affect me, or more importantly, that it didn't almost destroy a friend that means so, so much to me. Shaking. Cold.
And then God calls me to love abundantly and I’m always stuck on that. The living Christ would call this a divine appointment, a test of sorts, to show how committed I am to God and my faith. God doesn't want cheap grace. He wants me to put my money where my mouth is and love that woman abundantly. She is hurt, which is why she hurts people. HURT people HURT people because they are HURT. And yet, I can’t do it. Not yet. I can’t respond anymore.
She doesn’t know I know, but I don’t want to pretend anymore. I want to respond, "Just go." I am old and imperfect and most of the mountains I have had to climb in this life were built by me. That said, I climbed them. I am exhausted. And I just can’t waste any more time on the lies. No more building mountains and walls between people. I just don’t have the strength. I want to focus on the joy and what I have, the miracles and the lessons. But I cannot play pretend anymore with people who aren’t in the same place. And I cannot wait because I hear the tick, tick, ticking and it's getting louder, more noticeable. It is tangible and pushes me forward.
I find myself looking over my shoulder and trying to run and do things. tick, tiCK, TICK!
I’m not a conflict girl, until I have to be. When it comes to war and peace and the poor and social injustices I will speak up. But on a social level, there’s just no time to waste on pretending. If someone feels threatened by me, I cannot take that on as my problem. I can pray for them. But I can’t try to pull it out of them. I cannot respond. The only chance I have at imitating Christ is for me to walk away.
I walked with Laura in the rain, her holding a light lavender raincoat over our heads on a rainy, fall evening in downtown NYC. My hair bleeding pink down my blazer. My arm instantly went around her back. My hand rested on her spine. A protective gesture I do when guiding friends or loved ones across something “dangerous”. I knew then that the friend before me was instinctively true. That gesture, I did without thinking, was so incredibly true and honest. It was honest.
I will let my hands and my heart guide me, guide my friend across beautiful cobblestoned streets that still exist in the village, but I cannot let my fingers go to my phone and feign a friendly conversation that isn't true. There’s just not enough time for that.
There are babies to be born, and children to be taught and food to be grown and plants to be nurtured and arms to wrap around friends and lovers to kiss and leaves to lose chlorophyll and sugars to make the hues bright and dogs to lay on my cold feet and books to be read and love to go around… and the clock, it is ticking. Louder and louder. There’s just not enough time. BUT, I can pray. I can always pray.