post burnout: a week of divine intervention & pics of Ramallah Life

(scroll down for some good pics of Ramallah)

Nobody ever told me there’d be days like these.
And man have I been craving guidance!
I have been listening through the static, sorting through the jumble, trying to make sense of the scribbles and taking a fine toothed comb to every little happening in my life. But it turns out that when wisdom is going to be bestowed it doesn’t sneak in quietly and wait with the groceries to be discovered. It clobbers you over the head and takes a bullhorn and screams, “NOW HERE THIS”.

The Karmapa Speaks Truth: about the truth we already hold inside ourselves. A good truth to pass on to our children.
My mother had been to sit in the presence of the 17th Karmapa. We have had very little time to talk about what he had to say, but the things my mother conveyed to me were really powerful. Essentially, without trying to quote the Karmapa here, he told his audience that it didn’t matter much what religion a person followed. What matters is to be a good person, a good human being. And (for me this was the big moment) he said we need to stop looking for answers outside ourselves and look within our own “minds”.

Life is fragile: Love is not.
I am not going to elaborate much here. We got some very difficult news this week. What is important is that love is stronger than any fear. It is stronger than any pain. It is stronger than life itself and it matters that we love in this lifetime. “God, give us love in the time that we have” is an Iron & Wine lyric that I keep repeating lately.

A reconnection: I can set down the burden of a certain loss.
This week I talked to a friend who I had not spoken to for nearly 20 years. She was my best childhood friend, and growing up with her was like having a twin. We did everything together and understood each other on a level that is impossible to overstate. We were incredibly mischievous in the tree-climbing, secret-world-creating, “let’s both be veterinarians when we grow up” way. We were soul mates. For a some time our friendship was the measure for all friendships that came after, making my expectations of close friends a little too high. Our teenage years split us apart though, a split helped along (maybe to some extent invented) by strife between our families. And the years slid past. Then suddenly this week I was talking to my mother on the phone and my friend happened to walk past and my mother just kind of put her on the phone. And there she was. I can only say that the feeling of reconnecting so suddenly was perfect. I miss her, and though so much time has passed, she remains a potent personality for me. She holds the keys to much of what made me who I am, my early understanding of myself.

An email of potent advice/thoughts from outside my own box:
A woman I don’t know very well but with whom I’ve spent a few moments of co-mothering back in Austin sent me a long email after reading my post about Burnout. She had the audacity to verbally smash my narrowing view of the last 2 years of my life, and stomp all over my sorry for myself attitude. Thank God. After I read her email everything shifted. I felt it shift as I was reading, like someone had just pulled my chair out from behind me that I was just about to settle in to, but the fall being necessary to my enlightenment I didn’t attempt to catch myself. I have no idea how she got these insights into my life, but there it was. So instead of paraphrase I am going to share the email (we are all friends here, no?). It may/should even be meaningful to someone else. Here it is–(the emphases are mine)

Hey Love,
I was moved by your post, so I am going to say some things to empower you. This is what works for me. It comes from a place of love and comradery, not judgement.
You were right when you said you “have had a lot happen in the past year and a half.” But remember, it didn’t happen to you. It just happened and you were there. Some of it happened because you chose it. Out of love, you chose to get pregnant barely a year after the birth of your first child. It seems you’ve also chosen to hold onto the story that you are mourning a relationship with your first child. That is a story and it is made up by you. It will come between you, Sufyan and Laila until you choose to let it go. I think that is what moved me most about your post to send this email. Why put yourself in pain? Your son is right here with you. Take action. Make special Mama-Sufyan dates, so you can reconnect just one on one. And yes, Laila had GERD (which I cannot begin to imagine). And you loved her right through all of it. Through the screaming and exhaustion. You loved her right through it because you chose to. Out of love for your family you chose to sell your house. You needed more room. You didn’t leave any part of your heart there, that’s another story. You love that house and you will continue to love that house for the rest of your life, you just won’t live in it anymore. (This I have experience with. We sold our house in March. I spent the best 10 years there.) You chose to live in a bigger house and it happened that you needed to move. You chose to move to an occupied country.

And out of deep love you are choosing to educate those of us who are/were completely ignorant about the situation in Palestine. For this I am so grateful.

So you had to ask your husband to come home from work. I had to do that at least twice when my daughter was less than 2-years old. We had a code so he could distinguish between when I was letting off steam and when I needed him to take action. It was, “The pink giraffe is in the living room.” That meant it was a family emergency of epic proportions. Come home now. I used to feel like I failed somehow because I couldn’t do it all by myself. That was my story. Here’s a news flash: no one can do anything all by themselves. We are all in this together. If one person is suffering we are all suffering. Please call me, night or day, if you reach a low point. I mean this. If it’s at night, call my house phone because I don’t keep my cell in the bedroom. My cell phone is________. If I read a post where I see that you need to reach out to someone and you didn’t, then I’m going to send you another email like it or not. I don’t know you well, but I love you and your family. I love what you stand for. And by the way I am pregnant, so I am paying it forward in advance. At some point in the future, I may need to be reminded that I cannot do it all by myself.

You are powerful beyond your imagination. Just remember that. And go ahead and burn the story. Or read it out loud until it becomes hilarious, then burn it and be free.

and for the record, I agree with her 100%.

As for educating about Palestine, here are some particularly lovely pics I took this week of Ramallah Life:

This man is like many here who wheel carts through the streets and vend everything from fruit to bread to seasonal treats like roasted corn or roasted fresh chick peas. These guys work really really hard.


Trash telling it like it is

For you to see the explosion of population here. The closeness of the buildings. That every building is forced to store water in sad black tanks on the roof. I particularly love the narrow building in the lower center left with the rounded face. It is like a corner building except the angle is like 30 degrees instead of 90. All built on the sides of steep hills that make up Ramallah.

These 3 guys were riding through the street today, all bareback and all wearing “cowboy” hats.

Another cart. This one full of green grapes.

A lovely old home. This is a more wealthy seeming home but still quite old and in the old style of buildings here before everything was high rises and uniform white bricks. The kids and I found this house while getting lost going elsewhere one day last week.

The Coptic Church. A landmark. As in, “Take a left going up the hill toward the Coptic Church…” Mainly I want to make it clear in case you didn’t know that there is a Christian population here. After all, Christ was born here.

A mosque towering over the same area as above. This is near our home.

So I will be digesting that email for some time. And all the other eye opening things that happened this week.
Thank you to everyone who has written me and called me and let me know I am not alone.


One thought on “post burnout: a week of divine intervention & pics of Ramallah Life

  1. What a great message from a near stranger! Stop selling yourself your own stories! It sounds like something Gary would say. We could all stand to hear that now and again.We need to talk this weekend, if not, then Monday. I'll be offline Wednesday.

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