A Love Letter to My Life
Sitting here listening to Jollie Holland and typing with my winter-cracked hands, I am reminded of what has brought me here. Woke up today and received the following letter:
My dearest Linda,
I am not the guy who had you shackled with so much aimless energy and anger that fueled a lifetime of partying, sleeping around, and enough bad poetry to fill up the volumes of the canon that once was, no thank-God longer.
I am not the homeboy, a student at a self-boasting school of inclusion and diversity, who upon reading a bigoted, angrily penned parental flyer, which asked to bring a halt to the GLBT club at the neighboring high school because “it caused a detriment to all the innocent youth”, dismissed it as Christian right-winged bullshit, along with all the other students and faculty.
I am not the person who told you that you would burn in hell.
I am not the person who let someone’s father die and then let you wonder if you could break up with your guy if your you-know-whos ever kicked the bucket.
I am not the person who allowed most of your friends to 1) be assaulted,
2) mugged, 3) become hardened cynics, 4) hate their parents, 5) be abused, 6) have autistic children and then truthfully wonder if they should have had them aborted when they realized during their pregnancies that their small miracles would miraculously never develop in the way that they hoped and prayed, 7) have been afflicted with cancer (at least one single person of every generation you have known or befriended), or 8) have so much worry and doubt that they kissed God goodbye.
In fact, I was the one who plucked you out of the gutter of miserable orphans, though you were supposedly the most miserable of them all, covered with boils, which earned you mercy points with your soon-to-be-and-only-existent parents in the world.
I am the one who reminded you of your lost days in college, which crept up in the attic of your mind when one of your church buddies confessed that she would hit the bars every weekend night back then, get bombed outta her mind with the careening girls around her, then stow away into the bathroom of every dingy bar and cry into the whites of her knuckles, lamenting over God. Only you didn’t know God then. Nor did you cry. But it might have helped if you did.
I am the miracle that happened when upon your inundation to the culture of believers, you were slam-motherfuckin’-dunked into OIL. You got there late, finally put out your cigarette, snail-walked into late registration, ignored the unfamiliar, sheepish halo of faces whom you were invisible to, and then tumble into an orgy of 1000 + people who were clasping their balmy hands tight with each other, weeping at a slow metronome beat to some shit you remembered singing at chapel in the fourth grade. And when you got over your culture shock and rammed your hands into your trusted friends, I am the one who reminded you that you could tear up too.
I was the one who broke your dear friends to their bloody knees, time and time again, to remind you that through these shattering moments 1) no one is immune and 2) the significant and irreparable force of the greatest organ I ever made, to remind you how to use it, no matter how un/navigated and tiresome it may have been, and let you know those were the best lessons of your life.
I was the one who whispered to you that you could get back on your feet, as long as you had your smokes and a Something to fill up your mind while you chastised yourself to get back to the Good Word, so that you would finally creep back into conversation with Me in either your bleakest or most peaceful moments.
I was the one who told you to come as you are, no matter your sexual sins, your sarcasm, your well-hidden pettiness, your haughtiness, your deep chasm of fearing parental death, of dying alone and too ill-forgotten, of your fear of not knowing whether you were too scared to live alone or to give of yourself too much, of wanting to live a remarkable life in a compromised, unremarkable way, of having too few boundaries with others and too many with yourself. I am the one who swept people into your life who actually taught you how to genuinely love. I am the one who knows every hair on your head, no matter how fake, braided, or dyed they may have been. I am the one who allowed you to tolerate 90.1 and introduced you to lively small-groups, who fed your fascination with the marginalized, who re-connected you with your family, who gave you the sense to point out the log in your eye when you kept jabbing at the splinters in your boyfriend, who reminded you that you could retain your sarcasm with warmth, who introduced you to Anne Lamott to feel less-crazy, less-alone, and to simply hunger. I am the one who helped you realized your mother did, in fact, have a sense of humor and just where did you think you got your sass from? And in kind, who did you think you developed your maniacal laughs and sneezes from, all 20 of them, if not from him? I am the one lifted you off your work-horsed feet and raw anger to gently place you in a cocoon of family, warmth, laughter and grace.
I am the one who chased you down your entire life, and still continue to do so.