“But the essence of trust is believing you will be held up if you let go. And though we can practice relaxing our fear and meeting the deep, there is no real way to prepare for letting go other than to just let go.” Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening.
I adore Mark Nepo- his writing. I adore his writing. I love his books. This quote is from my daily devotional and out of the entire devotion, this is the only part to hit me. Not even the entire quote, which I hacked already- just the part that says, ‘There is no real way to prepare for letting go other than to just let go.’
I have a clogged sink right now. My house is very old and the plumbing is a mish mash of copper, plastic, PVC and who knows what else- and the line between the kitchen sink and the street has two capabilities- drain slowly and clog. Every time I lift the heavy door in the floor to the basement, I close my eyes and then turn on the light, opening each eye slowly as if that will somehow shield me from the terror of finding that one rusty pipe in pieces, spewing water far and wide. But, every time I heave that door up and hook it to the wall, listening for the sounds of water, I hear nothing…It’s just the same pipe, dripping at the same pace, leaving the same stain on the cement floor. The pipe has yet to let go. And I breathe a sigh of relief…but then I just stand there. I stand there and I look around at the crumbling walls, the exposed and unused electrical wires wrapped in fabric and wound around porcelain knobs…the cracks in the cement used to patch over the original walls- the pieces on the floor, the exposed beams and nails, the things I keep down here…Things not needed. Things hiding. Things past. Things that I may need, or want, or should sell…Things that I can’t let go.
I always talk to my house. I say a little prayer- okay, I say a chanting of prayers- I walk around my basement walls, running my hands along the cracks and thanking them for withstanding the test of time, the test of my life- my crying and yelling, the fighting, the bouncing and running of my children’s feet. We have, after all, lived in this house three times over the course of 12 years and it has been the only place that I have ever really called home. In the basement as I walk, and with my gratitude expressed, I then ask…okay, I beg the house, please, just withstand us a few more years. “Please just make it for a few more years…Until Super Model goes to college…or forever. Forever would be good.” And then I cry and I fret. I cry because I know that without me the church who owns this house will tear it down and I cannot afford to move it. I cry because I am afraid it won’t last as long as I feel I need it too. I fret because my natural state for most of my life has been to grasp, to hold on too tightly to things that need to run their course and be let go. Writing that, I am not convinced that my house, with its clogs and crumbles, with its cracks and slopes, has a course to run at all. Maybe it’s more like me; It has a course to stay.
This morning I felt as clogged as my sink still is, with my writing. I just sat here, staring at the screen, letting the Pretty Princess interrupt me with peanut butter toast and pickle on the side requests, and whatever else she may think she needs, NOW. Normally, on a “good” writing day, this pretty much pisses me off. I have to run through my mental checklist of things that really matter, and tell myself that someday she won’t need me anymore and then force myself to lay the computer aside and do what she wants. The truth is, sometimes, writing is hard. Really hard. And sometimes I write anyway and ask, Why did you write that? But harder still, is not writing. Harder still, is just sitting here, staring at that quote, that inspired me to turn the computer on, and nothing. Just thinking about the clogged sink in the kitchen of the house that I call home.
So I started to write about my clogged sink- about my sink’s inability to let go and in turn, my writing revealed what I hold onto. It revealed in me that there is no preparation to a big chunk of life- there’s just life and the living of that life. Writing is a gift from the Universe, from God, and of love and all of those things, I believe, don’t change us, but reveal us.
The magical thing about my writing, for me, is this;
My sink is clogged.
But now, I am not.