Day 30 (Giving thanks)

My brother, John, wrote this shopping list for my mom.

At first I tried to figure out why olives are at the very top because who needs olives for Thanksgiving? People kept talking about it all day, and I couldn’t figure out why, and they told me it was just because people like…olives. People that are not me. But I’m glad they’ll make somebody happy.

And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what MS meant. MS? The disease. What?

“Maple Syrup,” John said matter-of-factly.

Maple Syrup will forever in my heart be called MS. Forever.

And as I admired the interesting doodles that accompanied ‘the list,’ and I listened to the Christmas music my dad holds off from playing until November (Oh, Nate King Cole. I will be yours truly, always), and made pie, and found myself in the middle of a mini LaBrasseur Family Reunion, losing to my 8 year old brother at chess, winning against my 18 year old brother at Peggle, laughing hard with my sister (who’s one of the only people that gets me), and welcoming said sister’s fiance into the huddle as I challenged him to eat three mandarins simultaneously, which he accomplished with aplomb (not), and at fudge and ice cream, and played backgammon with my old man, prayed with my mom…

What is there to be said when words cannot suffice? How do I articulate such intangible things as receiving a hug from your big brother, or pressing out pie crusts with your dad, and being happy? Life hasn’t been easy this past year. I could fill tomes with my words, but they need not be said. No one needs to read those; they need to know that God is good, and that he loves us– that I’m waiting to go home. To enter the gates of Glory where God will catch all my tears in palms that could contain all the oceans, call me by name with a voice that birthed the stars in the heavens, and come home.

But, for today, I can wait.

We will shop for olives and Maple Syrup, play endless games of Apples to Apples, and we will wait. And today I will find joy in the gift of a thankful heart.

Day 22 (Sonder)


“n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.” (Courtesy of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)

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Waiting at gate A26

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Like this instagram, I’ll keep it simple (or heartrendingly complex?).

I was sitting in the Denver airpot, messing with my ipod; covertly resting it on my knee, I had pressed the capture button. As I kept staring at the photo that appeared on the screen, I realized I was their coffee sipper. I was their blur of traffic, their lighted window at dusk. Those people in my periphery– was their periphery. In a mere moment the faces in this photo grew starkly independent from me, and I loved humanity. It had not been the first time, nor will it be the last, that Sonder possessed my heart and wrenched it from the familiar, the narcissistic.

And I find I can no longer walk a crowded street without imagining elaborate passageways.

Day 19 (The Batwa Dance)

Do you remember what I wrote last night? While I was in my post-work stupor, feeling sentimental and wistful? I said I wanted to write beautiful things. I wanted my writing to point to beautiful things. I want to write little Batwa boys dressed in oversized, violet blue sweaters in Africa, dancing to the music of his tribe. If I could choose to write something, I would write this. But things like this can hardly be written. It makes my heart skip a beat to fathom all this entails.

Music, God created that. And He created family, and made our bodies capable of dancing, and made our hearts glad at the prospect of doing all of it together at once. He made the desire to know other peoples, the desire that provoked that man to travel across the ocean and film a remote pigmy tribe in Africa.

He made Africans, and He loves them, and I love Him and them.

And every time I think I’m over it, that I’m finally done with the heartache, I discover a rock. So I turn it over and find things underneath. Like this:

Day 18 (I’m tried and I know it)

I’m so tired right now.

I worked a catering shift, which means pushing your body around for a solid 7 hours until they let you off early. 10pm. It was some sort of convention for the Latino community. There was a live mariachi band, and salsa dancing. Wine. Lots and lots of wine because it was an auction so us servers were instructed to let it flow.

Something else happened tonight that made me feel weird. No, not weird….just different. A tall, handsome man told me that I had captivated his attention tonight, among other things. Usually I don’t take events like that too seriously, but the look in his eyes denied triteness, and he gave me a number on one of his business card. I might have blushed, I don’t know, because I’m shy like that.

Do you love Christ with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind? That is how you will win my heart.

But I didn’t say that. I just slipped the card in my pocket and continued serving. Shame on me.

So the night ended well with me not screwing up and everything going smoothly, and I came home and spilled my Arnold Palmer all over the floor, but that’s okay because I still had my Indian curry that I made a few nights back. My mother gave me her favorite recipe and now I am queen of the curry realm.

And I’m sitting here, exhausted. And all I want to do is bury my face in my palms because I want to mold something beautiful out of words, something that sings and glows. I don’t want to want to write beautifully; I want to write about beautiful things. I want my words to provoke minds to see beauty. There’s a difference. Too many have proved that raw talent is not enough. It is, but not for what I desire.

And you see what happens when I sit down to write?

When I scribe thoughts of impossible things and dreams without waking,

diminished in shadows,

born yearning for morning,

craving the light.

So you see. Words catch in my throat and make them ache, but so many times I am caught rendered speechless. My tongue refuses to cooperate when I am asked a question, or when I desire to speak now, not tonight or the next when I’m awake in my bed, trying to sleep. I have this irritating tendency of stuttering when I’m at work, and I feel like an idiot. It’s not like I spend hours meticulously fine combing my writing. I just…let my fingers type. So why is talking to difficult? I don’t even know where half this stuff come from. Maybe all those Patricia Mckillip books I read growing up. They captivated me, I remember. Heart and soul.

So sweet dreams. Goodnight night. We have another morning to face, or to glory in. Take your pick.

Something you should watch

The illustrious Vogelkop Bowerbird. Such little gentleman they are; they soften my heart. Birds have such an eye for beautiful things, and, apparently, a preference. A bird with a preference. They spend YEARS (did you hear me? YEARS) building their cozy, delicately crafted homes. All that just to impress her.

Now, I’m one who tries not to go around anthropomorphizing willy nilly, but I think there’s something here. These little birds reflect something terrifyingly vast and beautiful. If a bird  can appreciate beauty and art, I think it’s everyone’s job to ask ‘why?’ He’s not proving himself to be the most fertile or strong, or even the most intelligent. His display for his love of beauty is what wins him a mate. And I cannot accept that this is a product of random inception, of a cosmos that burst forth simply to reproduce the survival of the fittest.