Thursday, March 18, 2021

Once upon a time it was my birthday...

And for my birthday, I got a Max-friend! There were a lot of dinosaurs involved in the making of this fabulous week...


The dinosaur is the one on the left


Look what I found to get me to work!


I made a friend named Cera


She posed better with Max better, however


Look out Max, there's an incoming carnotaurus!
And also a Lyndi-friend, but she's safe...
...in spite of that look she's giving the camera. ;)




What? We are perfectly normal...



See...normal!




All dressed up for the Cliff House!
Dinner was delectable and the classical
guitarist (Wayne) made the evening 'specially lovely!




Magical snow!
I believe I was dusting Max with a snowball here...




And then I got 'eated' by a great white shark,
in the land-locked state of Colorado. ;)
The end!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Name-Friend

Bloody hands drip crimson
with ache and regret,
I broke the very thing
I tried so hard to protect

Flood after salty flood
cannot wash away
this guilt and all my shame,
these shards opening a vein

Dripping drops of love
that should be treasured,
yet now are spattered
about, given unmeasured

But whoever measured love?
Who taught it to go by rule?
Who said it wasn't messy?
No one—no one but a fool

A different fool am I,
who aches for doing right
and crushing joy
in the heart of a broken boy


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wilderness












No ashes smudged my brow,
no fellow pilgrims gathered 'round,
no bread was pressed into my hand,
there was no wine for parchéd tongue
no taste of Christ's body or His blood

Instead, white flakes upon my crown
Ash-like, they blanketed the ground,
My empty home was filled
with candle glow and a beating heart
a chamber of blood for the body of Christ

Empty space became hallowed
my knees pressed in, head bowed;
Desolate darkness filled with little flames,
the silent void invaded by a chant
breaking forth from the Body of Christ

In this season of sadness bright
the valleys become hollows to catch light,
the negatives show up outlined clear—
Our Lent has been a year-long affair
sustained with only the Body of Christ

We who see the edges of dark
find the contrast stark 
between Advent's rising Sun and its setting,
where we befriend lament and night,
swallowing deep the body of Christ

'No ashes' leaves an empty space
where I learn to receive a crown of grace
for expectations unmet and things lost—
And a single heart is not alone
when it is part of the Body of Christ

Hollowed hands are a channel of
opportunity to be offered in love,
to be raised in repentance, 
and lifted in worship, open to be
the physical signs of Christ's body. . .


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tears

















The candles are crying waxen tears
        from their unseeing eyes—
Their little frames have 
        no hearts to break
no wound to bleed like mine


My own grief pools red and hot,
        or cools upon my cheek,
my waxen heart cannot feel
        unless it is this emptiness—
My loneliness none dares to break


Candles burn bright and
         candles burn low—
Grief and loneliness don't fill me
         they hollow out my feeling,
stealing life, their appetites grow


What can fill grief and sorrow,
          loneliness and death?
Their hunger growls and I diminish,
          their ache digs deep
to ravage my every breath—


Breath! Spirit of God poured out
           like melting wax—
Unlike water in the wilderness
           the Spirit is not swallowed—
He fills and heals each crack


Cracks in my soul that run
            deep and hungry ache,
He finds the bottom and
            fills the deep wells
making a pool of Beauty—a lake


A lake of salty tears
            that now reflects
the Light, the stars, the silver moon—
            and bathes the travellers' weary feet,
a gift, a healing they did not expect.




Tuesday, January 5, 2021

I Shall but Love Thee Better after Death. . .






Dear Aaron,

Why do I still write to you? The last note I received from you was seven years ago next month. Seven. Years. And of those seven years, you have been gone two years, four months, and two days. 

I suppose I write for the reason I always did. . .you are my beloved friend. Reading your letters has taught me much, both then and now as I re-read them. And I always felt like writing to you in particular brought my thoughts together in ways that didn't happen with anyone else. Oh, I wasn't brilliant or particularly deep, but when I put pen to paper for you, it was like all the synapses snapped, all the thoughts aligned, all the pieces came together into a full picture. Writing to you made my world bigger, my thoughts clearer...it made me a deeper, richer person than I was. That has never happened in such a way with any other correspondent-friend. 
“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.”

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

Perhaps it sounds a little selfish, but I think the heart of Miss Browning's above lines is this: you are such an inspiring person that those who are given the gift of truly knowing you can't help but become better because of you. 

She's right, you know. So many times I have mourned the loss of your friendship, and then the loss of your life—and in that, I've mourned the loss of part of myself. Some part of myself was diminished when you shut me out of your life—and that part of me died with you, Aaron. I grieve that the world is a poorer place without you, you generous soul. I grieve that your family keenly feels your absence. And I grieve the loss of beauty, cheer, and depth I once had when we were so regularly in touch. 

There have been persons in my life who seemed to call out the worst in me; I did not like myself when I was around them. My family and friends didn't like who I was when such persons were in my life. But you weren't like that. You called my mind and heart to soar upward; to look toward God's Beauty, reflected in nature and poetry and music. You inspired (breathed life into) me to want to read more, think more, live more, experience more. I love the part of me that you brought out. I mourn that part of myself, now buried with you. And I eagerly await the renewal and resurrection of that part of me in the New Kingdom. It will be refined and redeemed... To know you again, not as we did, but in a much fuller way, will bring out a facet in me (and you!) that we only had a glimpse of during the years we were friends.

I can only pray that my own friendship, such as it was, inspired you and made your life somehow better, friend. And I pray that in the New Kingdom we will continually draw out the good in one another, calling one another "Further up, and further in!"

As I read Elizabeth Barrett Browning's gentle lines again, I realised why I still write to you, Aaron. I still write to you because I still love you. I will always love you. I love who you were. I love who you inspired and encouraged me to be. And I can't wait to get to learn to love you anew in the Kingdom Coming. It will be a different love there—a love pure and untainted by selfishness or any fallen thing. Loving you in the Kingdom will be something glorious that our earthly friendship could only catch a glimmer of.

I love you, friend. I love much of what you love. I love your sincerity and earnestness. I love your love for Beauty. I love your silliness and exuberance (from ringing bells to quoting poetry on tables and playing guitar until people hollered at you). I love your generosity. I love your unquenchable thirst for wonder and for knowledge. I just love YOU. And I miss you. Oh, friend, I miss you. So. Much.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Darkling Thrush





Photo by Ankhesenamun on Unsplash


I leant upon a coppice gate
          When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.


The land's sharp features seemed to be
           The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
         Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.



At once a voice arose among
                      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.


So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware. 

— Thomas Hardy, The Darkling Thrush




Can you see it? A barren field, grey skies, lowering clouds, and scraggly weeds whipping in the wind. The year is closing, and for Thomas Hardy, the nineteenth century was closing; buried in crypt like a corpse. Everything looked bleak, grey, gnarled, and worn out. 

Though much of 2020 was fairly normal for me at a daily life level, it was not without its pall. A dear family friend taken in death—the mother of my best friends growing up. No Holy Week and Easter Sunday gathered together with fellow believers. Nine months of not being able to worship side-by-side with other believers. The death of Mike Adams. The bleak reality that there is no longer free speech in America. The sudden removal of one of our delivery drivers, someone who had been on our route for years. Normal-person-sickness cancelling our Christmas plans with extended family and friends. 

Break-ups. Ageing. Cancer. Suicide. "The ancient pulse of germ and birth / Was shrunken hard and dry, / And every spirit upon earth / Seemed fervourless as I." My sister described her normal-person-flu symptoms as leeching the colour from life. "Everything seems grey and un-enjoyable." Being sick is like that, insipid, uninspired, listless, and dull. Christmas felt like that for me, even though I was (blessedly!) with my immediate family. The year 2020 felt like that for many people. Like a corpse outleant o'er all the land, like weeds against a flat, grey sky. Colourless. 


At once a voice arose among
   The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited. . .


In the midst of death, decay, and listlessness a song of joy breaks over Hardy. The singer isn't a young bird, a hearty bird, a colourful bird. It is "An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, / In blast-beruffled plume" who has "chosen thus to fling his soul / Upon the growing gloom." We often think of children being resilient or hues of colour in a bleak setting. And they certainly can be... But what I love about this turn in the poem, what made tears streak down my cheeks today, was that this was an aged, frail thrush. There is no freshness, no innocence here. He knows hardship. Yet he full-heartedly flings his very soul out into the gathering gloom.

I don't know what 2021 will bring. But I'm tried of being told it will be dark and fearful. It may be. Given the evidence of how the masses have been led by the media to believe outright lies, how the Left is openly saying they want to put people in "re-education" camps (sound like Hitler pre-WWII to anyone else?), and how Christian companies are being dropped by their credit card services for having normal Christian morals, I don't anticipate that 2021 will be better than 2020. It may be much, much worse. Things I never thought could happen in America have happened, are happening. . . I'm not sugar-coating that or denying what could be.

But. 
      But I want to be like that frail, weather-beaten, aged thrush.
                      I want to fling my soul out into the gloom of the gathering storm.

Not in recklessness, not because I've given up, not because I'm saying "Oh, to Hell with it!" and calling it quits. I am not. I will not. I want to—God help me!—throw my soul out into the great big world and let it be a note of beauty, a moment of colour, a breath of inspiration, and a glimmer of Hope.

If ever there was a moment in my lifetime with "So little cause for carolings / Of such ecstatic sound" this is it. I've personally had worse times. But this is bigger than my own griefs. This is a gathering gloom of national, global proportions. And I want to put my finger in the dyke, if only as a brief stopgap, a clear note in the pre-storm silence of "Some blessed Hope, whereof [I know] / [Yet the world is] unaware." I want to sing "In a full-hearted evensong / Of joy illimited." And that means, to be clear, that I want my soul to be filled with Beauty and Truth, which both flow from and point to Jesus—the Word without whom nothing that exists would have been at all. There is no limit to the joy which flows from Him. Let there be no limit to His joy "trembling through" me, either.




“...that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

— Mary Ann Evans (aka: George Eliot), Middlemarch                 


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Smoky Lentil Stew

     


1 can (14.5 oz) beef or chicken bone broth + water (enough to rinse the can)

1 can (8 oz) of tomato sauce or juice

1 knob of butter 

1 large potato, with skin, cubed (I use sweet potatoes, either the orange or purple kind for best nutrition)

3 large carrots, scrubbed and unpeeled (slice into rounds like coins)

1/2 red onion, diced 

2 Anaheim chiles (aka: Hatch chiles), fresh, diced small (veins and seeds retained or removed to whatever degree you can handle!)

3 cups cooked green lentils (I keep the water these have left once they are soft)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 kielbasa sausage (smoked), cut in small cubes

1/2 Cup kale stems (fresh, washed well, diced fairly small—you can use kale leaves if you prefer, but the stems add just the right amount of texture to the stew)

1 tsp fennel seed

1/2 tsp anise seed

1/4 tsp onion powder 

Sprinkle of smoked paprika (a little goes a long way!)

Dash of red wine or apple cider vinegar (or white wine)


Makes: 6 servings (1-1/4 Cups each, approx 225 Calories)


While your lentils are very gently simmering in water, throw a knob of butter (I like lots of butter, just use your best judgement) into a cast iron skillet. Once melted, add your fennel and anise seeds, cook approx 1 min and add onions, potato cubes, carrot coins, and diced chiles. Coat everything in butter and cover with a lid to cook for about 3-5 mins (be sure to stir often so as not to burn the onions). Add garlic and turn off the heat.

Add these veggies to the cooked lentils once they (the lentils) are tender. Add broth, tomato sauce/juice, and any water to rinse the cans. Add onion powder and a dash or two of smoked paprika. Add cubed sausage. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on very low heat. Throw in your diced kale stems and simmer for 5 more minutes. After you remove stew from the heat, add a splash (~1 Tbs) of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (or white wine, if you prefer). A squeeze of fresh lemon in each bowl would also be yummy!



Sunday, December 13, 2020

Rhythms of Sacred Time

                                                                                                                           Photo by Amy Luschen on Unsplash


There is a white-breasted blue jay out my window. Not a scrub jay, stellar jay, or grey jay—a blue jay. They were common enough where I grew up, but in Colorado, "regular old" blue jays are a special treat. He looks bright against the clear sky and crisp snow. 

Birds and trees draw me deeply into the joy of nature. The stillness of nature. The melancholy of nature. Like the flock of crows I stood silent under yesterday. The clouds were low and heavy, light snow was sifting down, and bird after black bird pressed his outline against the winter sky. 



Today I am reminded of that throng of birds as I listen to Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt. The piece begins with silence; it is somehow sparse and simultaneously spacious. Like the shades of white and grey and black yesterday. The limited light and colour pallet of the snowy day allowed for depth and detail one might miss on a bright day. It was solemn—grand and causing reflection—and expansive. The quiet of the fine, falling snow, the swish of wings—occasionally broken by the coarse cry of a crow, coming in wave after wave—and the weight of the clouds were all sparse and expansive in their own way. It was balm to my ragged, tired soul

The beginning of December feels like a marathon, trying to cram in long hours at work and  with people in every free evening. There are plans, plans, plans—and though they are enjoyable, the amount of scheduling and coordinating is exhausting. To tell the truth, I get very grumpy at this time of year. I don't even want to go to the events. I just want to curl up in my own home, light candles, listen to quiet music, and read Adventy things. But I rarely do that, because the evenings are full. 

Then, in creeps the resentment. I wrestle with this resentment of other people planning my schedule for me. What if I simply want to stay home and not rush, for once? I've tried this a few times, only to fill in the free nights with work or to have someone unexpectedly appear at my door. Indeed, I sabotage myself the most. Whether I stay home or go somewhere with a sigh and a "because I have to" feeling, it all comes from my perspective or perception. The reality is, I feel rushed because some part of me doesn't want to let others down or because I didn't employ good boundaries. I don't start with stopping, much of the time. And so, what should feel like a celebratory time feels like an exhausting rush.

The thing I've begun to see about time this year, as I consider the mo'edim (appointed times/seasons/days) is that I am not good at rhythms. I used to be. I used to have quiet time in the morning, used to go for walks before work, used to have margin. I began much more from stopping (Shabbat) and loved sacred celebrations (Sukkot). I also didn't work full time and knew fewer people in the area. . . which certainly meant there were more free hours in the week to employ contemplatively. 

How did I fall out of step in the Great Dance? When did I begin trying to fill every crevice of the week days with work and people, leaving no room for quiet space with God? I feel like Moses in Exodus eighteen, hearing the people from morning till evening. Rather than evening and morning it is backwards: morning and evening—not the rhythm given by God in Genesis one. So, how do I begin the evening before? How do I begin with Shabbat, stopping? What do I need to leave (Pesach)? And what do I need to learn to receive (Shavuot)?

Perhaps I need to take lessons from Spiegel im Spiegel, to begin with silence. To not fill every crevice in the music of daily life with 'noise' as it were. I need more silent space in my days and weeks. There are always podcasts, books, music, conversations, and more to fill each hour with sound. But what if I chose silence in those spaces? Silence on my walks? What if I chose not to multi-task all of the time? Inside my mind is screaming out, "So much would be left undone!" And I don't mean in the task sense. What would end up "undone" is conversations with people. And I think people are the most important beings in the universe, in life. Or do I?

I know I'm unhealthy when I feel like there is no room for people. But who do I decide to connect with, and who do I need to move on from? I have realised that I cannot possibly stay in touch with everyone I've met or known. Not unless I quit my job, and I have to be able to feed people when connecting with them! What if I'm ready to move on and let some relationships drift apart and the people on the other end want to hang on? 

Here is where I come back to resentment (a constant theme I've noticed in my adult life). When someone is trying to celebrate me specifically (or celebrate with me), but doesn't offer what I feel would be a greater gift (not having to get together yet another night), a wrestling match ensues within. I don't want to hurt someone's feelings (though I have, plenty of times!), but I also don't want to have to do something I don't feel like doing. At that point, I feel like I'm not appreciating the time and effort of another (definitely not okay in my value system), but I also feel like I'm not able to choose how I want to celebrate—so a boundary is broken and I feel stepped on or like my desires aren't respected.

Right about now anyone who might actually be reading this rambling of mine is probably thinking, "What the heck is your problem?! You have friends who want to spend time with you! That is a gift!" Well yes, it is. But sometimes what this actually feels like is: everyone wants a piece of me—to the point that I am so disintegrated that I don't exist anymore. I can't be me, I can't be a whole human, if I'm constantly pulled to pieces. I will be a snippy, snappy, no-good-to-anyone, resentful person if I keep getting pulled to pieces. And the older I get, the more people I know, and the more directions I feel pulled in. 

Since you can't sort out friends like you sort out your closet and take some of it to Goodwill, what is a person supposed to do? Some old friends, like a favourite sweater, you want to keep close. They are comfortable (even when they tell you to shape up) and cosy and just right for any season. But some old friends are like your favourite pair of jeans that have holes in unseemly places. They were great for a time, but some good things have a shorter lifespan than others. You can't keep holding on to the jeans hoping you can keep wearing them. But people...people are intrinsically infinitely more valuable than jeans. If you have tried the slow fade (not answering calls and e-mails as quickly) and have mentioned that life is going a different direction for you and they still hang on, there is friction—which happens to be rather uncomfortable. 

Discomfort isn't always a sign that you need to leave something or someone, it can be a sign of growth, too. But discerning between growth and death is difficult. A baby must grow in the womb to keep it safe, but if it stays too long, it will actually die. A snake must shed its skin to keep growing, and a butterfly must wrest its way out of the cocoon to strengthen and form its wings. Some relationships need to be grown out of, and some need to be adjusted. I often feel the snake reference when I am home with my parents. I love them dearly! But when I go home, I feel like I automatically am being stuffed back into that skin that is ten sizes too small for me now. I choose it; my parents sort of assume it; even family friends expect me to be that person I was. But I'm not that person. I don't fit in that skin. In fact, I am probably more like the caterpillar who has become the butterfly. Not only do I not fit in the cocoon, I'm a very different creature now! But I try to become a caterpillar again because I am back in the cocoon of my parents' home and their world/schedule. Yet I don't fit. And I don't fit in various friendships now, either. For some, I am ready to move on, even if the other people aren't.

On the flip side, there have been friendships I was loathe to lose. I wanted to go back to what we had (or continue it), even when they needed to move on and grow apart. I hated that! So I  do have compassion for the friends I have moved away from and the ones I'd like to step away from. However, I won't continue to be myself or the person that any of my friends like if I keep getting pulled to bits. When close friends begin telling me, "You seem really out of sorts or not like yourself," I know I'm in the downward spiral of being overwhelmed in every area of life. And when I don't feel like celebrating what should be celebrated (or lamenting what should be lamented), I know I'm disintegrating. When I can't feel happiness or sadness, something is terribly wrong, I've been terribly "busy"—unable to connect with myself, but more, unable to connect with God, who puts me back together again when I've begun to splinter.

It is what feels like a lack of time that causes this decay in me. When I think of sacred time and the rhythms of the mo'edim, I feel envious when I see other people living in a place of sacred abundance or holy celebration. I want the quiet space to journal and read poetry and Scripture. That is part of the celebration of any season, but especially during Lent and Advent. I want to begin with stopping—re-creating and being re-created by God. I want to give of myself, my time, my creativity (of which there is none when I'm fractured), my finances, and my hospitality—but I can't give to everyone. And perhaps I un-discerningly choose the wrong people to give to, so that I have nothing left for my old friends... But I want to give to those on the fringes, who often feel unseen, how do I see them and also see my old friends? 

I believe I need to leave my broken way of seeing. I begin to realise that I am seeing the land of abundance as if it were the land of lack. I am seeing the Promised Land as if it were Egypt. I'm seeing a blessing as if it were a curse—and so it becomes a curse to me. I want to receive the gifts God gives as though there were the good He intended—whether it is the gift of time, the gift of friendship, the gift of silence, the gift of space (all of which must be stewarded well); or the gift of lack (which leads me to need God), the gift of small spaces (that I might learn to be myself where I thought I had to be someone else), and the gift of noise (which makes me grateful for the silence and stillness when I am able to receive them).

And now I return to birds—the swift-flying crows, the brilliant blue jay, the cheery little nuthatches I often see on the scrub oaks. . . Birds are a sign of fecundity and a symbol of freedom. Perhaps I am drawn to them, inspired by them, because I long for life and liberty. Not the "liberty" that is really license (doing whatever I want), but of the true freedom that comed from breaking out of one skin to be contained in the next skin. Snakes don't stop being snakes when they shed their skin, they simply grow bigger. A caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly, but it would not be free to really be a butterfly if it continued to use only its legs (like a caterpillar) and never its wings. Likewise, I want to be free to be myself, the human God made me to be, which means I have limits and boundaries, but there is an expansive freedom within those boundaries... Like a doorway limits the size of what can go through it, but on the other side there may be rolling fields and open skies for those who can go through.

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien




Tuesday, November 3, 2020

 

“If anything is to shock our souls, 

let it be Hope.”

— Bryan Wandel
 


Friday, October 30, 2020

Staying. . .

He shuffled and looked down at his feet, "You're not going to like what I have to say." I was standing in my office with a sinking feeling in my heart. How many times had I stood in this exact place with someone standing there, telling me they were moving on to something else? A dozen times? Twenty? One year ten people left the place I work. Another year six people were let go due to budget cuts. Here and there people have retired or moved on to pursue this or that wonderful thing and I'm left standing in the basement. This week I had this conversation with not one but two people. The second one hit harder, as I wasn't expecting it at all. It was suddenly the last day I'd see someone. Someone I've seen almost daily for four or five years. 

So, here I am again, standing in my office grieving in hot, fast tears.

Don't get me wrong, I like my job. I especially like my coworkers. I like staying. . .

But I also hate staying.

Staying means that everyone else leaves. And I am tired of being left. 

Left at work while everyone else "moves on," as if to imply that working here isn't worth my time and loyalty. Left to myself while my friends get married and have children. Left on this side of eternity while people I love step into the Kingdom. 

Sometimes I think it's not worth it to care about people, they just leave you, leaving a hole where they were. Sure, sometimes you keep up with someone in spite of not being at the same job, the same church, the same neighbourhood. And sometimes it's just fine to move on and make new friends. 

And let's be honest: I've done my share of leaving. Not returning calls, texts, or emails. I don't have the time or the emotional space to keep up with everyone I've ever been friends with. I've left people who were emotionally draining. I've left jobs or churches and never looked back. Sometimes to move forward we have to leave some things, even some relationships, to memory. 

The truth is, I'm tired. I'm tired of caring, of building friendships only to lose them. Tired of acquaintances hanging on when I'm ready to move forward. . .and conversely, tired of friends leaving when I still want to grow together. Being left, yet again, is wounding. It makes me feel like there isn't any virtue in staying. Being faithful just ends up hurting. The thought of learning yet another new person at work, of befriending them and making sure they feel seen and cared for sounds exhausting right now. I don't have the heart for it. I will. . .but not today. Today I'm just sad.