Breath of Heaven

Presenting a public persona is a tricky business. I am a writer; this is a writer’s blog and, as such, I’ve chosen not to discuss politics or religion here. Today’s post is not meant to be a statement of my faith in any organized religion because I subscribe to none.

However, this is a season that speaks to my spirit and for the past several Christmas seasons, I’ve fed it with this song, sometimes on loop as a meditation while my hands are busy. Amy Grant’s version is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Obviously, it’s a Christian song, but to me something about this song transcends dogma. I suggest you close your eyes and feel as you listen.


Peace and Joy



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Unacceptable Loss

Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
You think that you’re gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
With all this rain falling down

Those words are from the song “Rain” by Patti Griffin. I first heard this song a week or so ago, and when she sang these words, I burst into tears. And I don’t mean silent tears; I mean a real boo-hoo. I was listening to this in my car, on the way out to shop, but had to come back home to repair my makeup. That kind of crying.

Why did these lyrics hit me so hard? Every so often, without warning, I fall into a deep deep deep sadness. I feel like crying. And sometimes I do. I feel the need to hug myself. And, inside, I do. Nothing has happened in my life to account for this sudden darkness. It’s happened so often for so long I’ve learned to just ride it out. Just wait. This too shall pass.

But I never had an explanation for it—until now.

Yesterday, while under one such cloud, I picked up Dani Shapiro’s Devotion, which I had started reading a couple months ago. I read this part about what happened to her after she moved from New York City to the Connecticut countryside:

“In the country, I stopped being a person who, in the words of Sylvia Boorstein, startles easily. I grew calmer, but beneath that calm was a deep well of loneliness I hadn’t known was there. No wonder I had been running as hard and fast as I could! Anxiety was my fuel. When I stopped, it was all waiting for me: fear, anger, grief, despair, and that terrible, terrible loneliness. What was it about? … In the quiet, in the extra hours, I was forced to ask the question, and to listen carefully to the answer: I was lonely for myself.”

Instantly, I knew. That deep deep deep hurt, that sadness that makes me want to weep weep weep, is loneliness. I miss myself. A part of me is lost. And I must find it.

This is an unacceptable loss.

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Untying the knots

“There are stories inside of me, hardened into tight little knots. Call them anything: Sanskrit samskaras, disturbances in the field, sediment scraped from the depths. They are at the core of all the other stories that are easier to tell.”

Photo: Author: Lorin Klaris; Book: Len Lagrua

Though I don’t know why, it’s usually Spring that renews my spiritual quest, so it’s fitting that I am reading a book by Dani Shapiro titled Devotion: A Memoir. This book will lead me into my annual journey. As I prefer to savor this one, I’ve read only up to page 35, yet this beautifully written work has brought me to tears more than once.

I’ve not cried because of what she wrote so much as for the memories her words evoke. In the cover blurbs, her book is described as “wry” and “funny” so it’s not meant to depress, though I doubt anyone could read it and not find it’s relation to events of their own life.

I applaud Shapiro’s courage, her honesty, in writing such a memoir and appreciate writers like her who share their stories to make me feel as though she has told some of my own for me. I could not—nor, I suspect, will I ever be able to—do that. At this point, I cannot separate my story from those of others in my life, and I don’t feel I have the right to tell anyone else’s story. The best I can do is write fiction, and hope that bits of the “tight little knots” inside me work themselves loose.

I also have to thank Cynthia Newberry Martin whose beautiful post on this book made me want to read it, when you go there be sure to click to watch Dani’s book trailer.

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