luminous things: on being a (not-quite-yet) teacher.

I’m sitting in my bedroom, with its soft beiges and greys and blues (colors I picked because I need a quiet haven), soft lamplight to my left and a puppy cuddled up right next to me. “Friends” is on Netflix, so naturally, it’s playing in the background.

And next door, my neighbors–perfectly kind and fun but also perfectly oblivious–are blasting (and I mean BLASTING) Christmas music from God-knows-where. I mean, I can hear “White Christmas” like I am listening to it on the radio in my room.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is the universe is not really helping me de-stress.

Ever since I walked through the door this afternoon at 4:30, I have been trying to get work done. But it’s like my brain is floating. I am exhausted. I am stressed, and I know it. But a lot of good that self-awareness is doing because I can’t seem to do anything about it. I have a headache.

I have given up trying to be productive, and I’m just being. At least for now. I’m meditating on luminous things.

I am student teaching right now. I’m working as an educational assistant, too. In my thoughts at every moment of every day are students. Seventh and eighth grade faces and names, behaviors, theories about how each of them are doing, relived conversations in my head combined with regret about not paying more attention to so-and-so when they asked such-and-such question, frustration about a student’s response when I thought my redirection was spot-on, disappointment in myself for not being perfect, and reevaluation of every waking, working moment of the school day.

“Nick,” I tell my husband, “get used to this.”

This being a spacy look in my eye and an insane amount of love and concern and prayerful consideration for my kids that aren’t my kids, and constant self-criticism, and the incessant asking for feedback about lesson plans and projects and activities, and complaints about the inappropriate things little so-and-so, bless his heart, said to me again today, and the accidental use of “teacher voice” when talking to Nick, and the god-awful annoying fact that I say, Hey, I work with middle school students every day, okay? whenever anyone mentions anything about their job being tough or their day being hard.

(The “I work with middle schoolers, okay?” thing is annoying because I almost always say it like it’s 100% difficult and exhausting and 0% something I absolutely adore and find overwhelmingly rewarding, when it’s much closer to a 50/50 split.)

I opened my photos on my iPhone today and discovered my students took an ungodly amount of selfies on it without me knowing. Should I be angry? Eh, maybe (like, how many times a day have I said, “Y’all have no boundaries!” I’ll tell you: about 37.), but honestly: these kids will hold such a special place in my heart forever, and that’s why their countless selfies make me happy.

We’re doing a poetry unit right now, and it’s my favorite unit of the year. The students are eager and engaged, even though they all say, “Ugh, I hate poetry, it’s the WORST!” They constantly ask us questions. Some of them hover around my desk, looking at my Book of Luminous Things (a poetry anthology) and asking me what I think about their haiku or their sonnets.

They point out Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” in the Realms of Gold anthology and chuckle uncomfortably until I ask them to tell me what it’s about, and they find their voice for a second. I recommend Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Spring and Fall” and smile when one student recites it from memory. I gasp and clap when they tell me that “that good night” is a euphemism for death! I gush and rave about Pablo Neruda and Walt Whitman to kids who have yet to appreciate that kind of wordly beauty–y’know, just in case some day, five years from now, they remember the crazy hipster student teacher who teared up talking about the powerful play and contributing verses and they are moved to read “Love for This Book” or Leaves of Grass.

Okay, so, some of the poems these kids write are intentionally ridiculous (“No, you can’t use shart in your poem, and if this was just a ploy to get me to say that word, it worked”), but I could listen to them say ridiculous all day as long as they’re working with poetry and words. (Is that the naive words of a newbie? Mm, probably. “No, you can’t use shat either. Why? Because it’s the past tense of shit, and I can’t believe you just said it aloud.”)

These kids challenge me every single day (jesusmaryandjoseph, do they challenge me), and I’ve learned so much from them. What it means to show respect even when you’re angry (because I have to choose to do that so many times a day, I can’t even tell you). To be patient when people are going crazy around you (oh, bless the hearts of those students–you know the ones–that just grin and patiently bear their peers’ descent into insanity on a day before a break). What it feels like to love and care unconditionally (because, jesusmaryandjoseph, they work my last nerve, but they are so right when they say teasingly, “Oh, come on, you know you love us!). How healing it is to laugh even when things are stressful and hard and daunting. What it means to be truly, whole-heartedly proud of someone and the wonderful things they’ve accomplished.

I’ve learned what it’s like to be comfortable in my own skin (because sometimes middle schoolers are are just plain unabashedly goofy and ridiculous, at times immature and inappropriate, and at other times ageless and wise, and I just plain love it).

I’ve learned to be okay with something less than perfection.

I’ve learned that when I have rough days, I can still show up, and I am capable of shining a light on the good things: the true and honorable and just things, the pure and lovely and commendable things, the excellent and praise-worthy things.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Truth be told, my heart is full with those things. Luminous things. And sometimes big, bulky, ugly things like stress and fatigue block the light.

Truth be told, I am stressed beyond belief, and I am terrified, and I am uncertain, and I am weary. But my heart is full of luminous things anyway, so I won’t let the shadowy, bulky things get in the way.

Truth be told, dark things and shadows can’t really squelch light and luminous things, and that is the good news I must choose to remember today and every day.


journal entry | lest i forget.

Let’s face it: I know quite a bit about depression and chronic pain. I have lived it, and I have researched it until the wee hours of the morning. I’ve read books and blogs, articles and essays; I’ve written them, too. I’ve got the book smarts and the street smarts.

So I know that my spirit is often struck with a dizzying spell of depression around the same time my body is struck with a spell of pain and fatigue (a frequent visitor whom I call “flare-up”).

I have been trying to pinpoint just what I’ve done wrong to have brought me here, to this feeling of back-and-forth numb and sad, numb and angry, numb and anxious, numb and achy. Did I take my medication on time? And my supplements? When have I been going to bed? And how’s my stress level? Am I exercising enough? Am I eating well?

I look up symptoms of depression because I’m pretty sure I’m there again, where the air is thicker, and the vision is murky, and time either passes too slowly or too quickly–I’ve too much time to feel this way but not enough time to pull myself out of bed and get things done–there, in one of those dark, zany places where I forget important things like food and water or bills, or worse, I can’t recall what I enjoy, and I somehow forget the importance of waking up in the morning on time.

It’s not like I don’t know this place–I know it well. But I read about it again, just to make certain what I’m feeling is not just me, that I’m not the only one, that enough people have felt this way before that it shows up on a Google search.

I look up chronic pain, too, so I can read what it’s like, to make certain it is real, too, and that those doctors are wrong when they tell me it’s not. I read that other people know what it’s like, and these feelings of anger and frustration are normal–so normal that Google can tell me all about how normal it is.

Normal. As in, I might not be crazy unless these thousands of other people are also crazy in the exact same way.

It’s always the same: a deep breath in, an exhale out: some small part of me is always oddly calmed. I’m allowed to feel like this. I remember that it’s okay to be not okay, that things get better, and this is just temporary. Depression is real, but I don’t have to live right here, right now forever, and I can cope and deal. That God is in it and through it and amidst it.

I am frustrated that I have to be telling myself these things in the first place, let alone, to have to go through this so frequently. I’m angry that it is often easier to pretend I’m “just a-okay” than it is to explain how I feel to people who want to understand but can’t. Each social interaction is a choice between authenticity or ease. But I can’t blame them. I can’t understand my own pain sometimes, and I’m living it.

What’s most frustrating is the lack of control I seem to have over my own body. “Eat lots of fruits and veggies!” they say. “Pilates and yoga!” “Water! Lots of water!” “Vitamin D and fish oil!” Yes. Yes, I do all of those things, but it doesn’t magically heal you. Chronic pain is chronic pain. Depression is depression. I probably am in less pain than I would be otherwise, but that doesn’t mean the pain won’t ever show up again. (Did I mention “chronic?”)

I do all of the right things most of the time, and I have been doing them lately, but my world still began to turn grey, and here I am, in this place where it is  hard to get up in the mornings, where I’ve been almost late to work every single day since school started back up again. Here, in the place where I fight back tears throughout the day, and if I’m lucky, grow numb by the time I get home, so I can work on schoolwork or clean or cook without wasting time crying about nothing in particular. I often sit on the couch for an hour (or two) telling myself that I need to get up and do something that makes me happy, trying to wrestle for control of my mind and spirits, repeating the mantra I can do this, that it will be good for me to push through and press on, but then I stay seated because I am just so tired.

This is the place where my bones and muscles ache, and I wake me up at night on the hour or two hour mark; my brain is foggy, dazed; I feel incredibly alone, even though I’m not; where I am not the person I should or could be because I have this nasty nebulous thing puppeteering my energies and endeavors. This is the place where I feel I spend each day wandering and floating–how the hell am I this tired when I can’t even remember what I spent the day doing?! Don’t even ask about how I feel when I see people with far more on their plate–mothers of small children or people working more than one job–and I wonder how I will ever be able to successfully maneuver my adult life with children of my own when I am in survival mode as things are.

I was having a rough day a couple weeks ago, still on the outskirts of This Place I Am Now, and one of my friends asked me how I was. I was honest with her. And her response back to me was, “What can we do about it?”

She wanted to help. She meant no harm, but I still had to fight back tears and silence the voice that told me, See? No one gets it. It’s always about you not doing enough. But how could she have known that my whole life is built around maintaining as much health as possible? How could she have known those things just weren’t working like they were supposed to be? She doesn’t know that every decision I make is weighed against the potential pain or fatigue it may cause me.

The answer to her question, then, is that there is nothing more I can do about it sometimes because I am doing all the right things-eating well, limiting sugar, taking supplements, taking meds, journaling, counting your blessings, positive framing exercises, physical exercise, doing what you love–and I can know all the right things–that this isn’t my fault and life will go on, and eventually I will be okay, and this is normal, and it’s okay to be not okay.

And I can still feel this way–crippled, ill-equipped, and defective, numb and uninterested, sad and angry, down and out, tired, depressed and confused, lost and more than a little lonely. And it’s not my fault.

There are moments when happiness is a choice, when you have control over the way you see and hear and feel things. And there are also moments when choosing happiness doesn’t do diddly-squat because you keep choosing it over and over again, and the machine is just not taking your coins.

So, what can we do about it?

All there is to say is what I always say when there is nothing else to say: This too shall pass, and Even so, it is well, and Even so, He is still good.

Lest I forget.


I am so tired, she says, a cavern
submerged in the watery light of morning.
Incrementally, she raises herself up from
the folded fulcrums of a blue grey blanket,
as tears are falling,
shattering like broken glass.

she explains
like an echo,
not to me or to anyone, really,
I’ve done this before,
hurried and hopeful,
but now I know: take it slow
or else you cut yourself

she crouches close to the ground,
sweeping up the shards.

Hope isn’t hurried,
she whispers (a cavern,
empty of some things
but not others),
to me, perhaps, or not to me or anyone in particular,
like an echo,
Breaking is so brisk, but–

She stops (she is tired, recall),
stands up,
and the creaking of her bones
are utterances:
Hope rises like the tide-
softly, simply, but always
it rises;
so, does she.

She moves with
sound strides that are
like the small sea swells of Puget
that wash away dead and dry
cracked shells,
shabby and shirked by the
hermits who’ve since moved on;
with strides like waves
that wipe clean the slate of a grey shore.

Toil is the deeply buried treasure,
but it is also the sand that buries it,
and today I am the tide.

What like a mosaic
her tidal tears make,
the lines on her face like lines in sand,
like sediment and sadness
telling the story of a heart
that will heal from hurts
and has no shame
for living life in the voluptuous bosom
that breathes and ebbs
in brokenness.

upon speaking with gerard manley hopkins.

Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, “I feel the fell of dark, not day”

Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours.
But which is being soured? The dull dough? The self?
Today, both; I feel the fell.
Breathe in, exhale.

The fear cuts through like a gale.
How can I stand resolute? I will lose leaf and limb.
Do leaves and limbs lost leave forever?
But wait! are my limbs and leaves the tree, or am I,
I, resolute with this trunk and these roots, these veins,
pied, stippled, counter, original, spare, and strange
The wind can strip me, but it will not fell me.

Yet I feel the fell of dark, not day–
yester was day, and I miss it.
I stumble until darkness lifts,
until dark rises instead of falls.
Veiled in these black hours,
I do not see what I would see.
Selfyeast of spirit, wait.
Wait and remember: glory be to God for dappled things
whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
–or why.

Admonish this panic.
It is neither of me, nor Him.
My selfyeast of sour spirit, this dull dough
will not be so forever

nor will the gale uproot me.
I am the tree–without leaf and limb–
but I am the tree.

Catch your breath.
Stand up. Adazzle or dim, do not wait; rise.
You are the tree.


You ask me how I am, and I say, “Fine, and you?”

But what I really mean is, I can feel them creeping into my bones, the fibers of my connective tissues. They clang like cymbals in the pit of my stomach, loudly, forebodingly. They are in my head, gnawing, and in my fingertips, marching and parading, waving banners to mark their arrival. I can feel the banners throbbing and waving under my skin. I can feel the heat and fever of movement reaching the surface.

You’ve had a good week then?

“Yeah, it’s been okay. Can’t complain.”

What I really mean is, can I complain? Because if only you knew that I’ve been overtaken by unwanted guests, uninvited visitors that set up camp with no disclosed time of exit, the ones that rattle my nerves with their yelling and screaming until wee hours of the morning, the ones that doctors can’t seem to find, even when they stick needles right into the heart of where they’ve called homes, the ones that take me hostage and make me yell NO I CANNOT because I know what they will do to me if I say YES I CAN. Inevitably more banners of pain, more heat and fever, more of the color red–always red, and more of the clanging.

Got any big plans for the holiday weekend?

“Nah. The usual. What about you?”

What I really mean is, having big plans for a holiday weekend sounds a lot like throwing myself down a jagged cliff but still surviving the terrible fall, bloodied and bruised, and to be honest, I am carrying a lot of extra weight here, what with the uninvited guests entering my knees and elbows, my wrists and knuckles, and slowly making their way into my head and heart–ya see, they’re sort of big bummers to have around–and if only this holiday weekend hadn’t inconveniently occurred right as the uninvited guests showed up, and I tried to reschedule, they’re unreasonable, but thank you for asking, and your holiday plans sure do sound lovely, like a cliff.

I remember pointing at my head, shoulders, knees, and toes and laughing as I sang. I remember when they were just body parts not parts of my body’s pain.

Where do you hurt?

“Here, and here,” pen in hand, I circle places on a diagram, the head and shoulders, the knees and toes. “There, most of the time, but not all. And here. And there, too.”

What I really mean is, head shoulders knees toes and well… it is easier if I just circle the whole diagram, really.

Sometimes I wish my body could be seen in infrared, but instead of heat, it revealed levels of pain. Then you would know. Then doctors would see. And I wouldn’t feel so crazy.

What is your biggest fear?

“The dark. Fire. Being stuck with no way out.”

What I really mean is, I am often awake when it is dark when I want to be asleep and unaware of just how dark it is, and I can feel the fires kindling in my head, shoulders, knees, and toes as I sing the lullaby quietly to myself, and I sometimes feel fires spreading as I try not to move, stuck under the covers–no, too hot, out of the covers–no, too cold now–stuck because I know the uninvited guests will throw a hissy fit if I move again. No, perhaps I’m not really afraid of those things; perhaps I just hate them, so what I really mean is, I’m afraid of what happens next, and does the dark get darker, will the fire get hotter, and is there a way out, and will I always feel stuck?

What do you want to do with your life?

“I would love to become a teacher, and a writer. And a professor. And a mother. And.”

What I really mean is, God help me, I want to become all the things I want to become, and God help me, I hope the uninvited guests don’t get in my way, and God help me, can I answer the question about my biggest fear again because I am suddenly reminded of what mine is.

infinite losses.


Grief has no resolution. It ebbs and flows like the ocean–a compounding, building brick-upon-brick grief that picks up the debris and carnage around it until it is monstrous, then erodes away only to begin again.

It does not look backward or forward. It is the very top of the drop of a rollercoaster, the uppermost apex of tension and anticipation for both the best and the worst. Will I ever come down? Can I go back? It is too late. What awaits me?


How do you define yourself? I can tell you how I would answer. I am a 26-year-old who loves reading, writing, and I generally prefer discussing the meaning of life over awkward, pointless small talk. I love to sing. I am a teacher, a learner. I look forward to starting a family with my husband someday. I care deeply for my friends and family. I like to think, to challenge myself, to achieve.

All good things. All good things that can so easily, quickly, unexpectedly fall away, disappear, fade into the black. Who would I become then? What would I do?

As I’m building up this house, I wonder what of it will stay; it seems you just take things away.


I have watched illness and chronic pain ravage and thrash at my family’s well-being and tear away at the things they’ve built up. Good things that have defined them, given their life meaning, granted fulfillment–chronic pain and illness can take all of that away, and we all stand speechless at the scene of the crime. Helpless. Baffled. Hurting. What do we do now?

Grieve. We have to grieve the loss. There is no way around it but through it. Loss asks for nothing more and nothing less of us.

People ask how I am doing. I am grieving; I am unresolved; I am dissonant. Tomorrow may be better; next week it may be worse; next month it will assuredly be different. But it will not leave.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds in the way people think it does.


A story:

A country boy, rebel-without-a-cause with calloused hands and a warm heart, has grown into a young man has grown into an adult. He has traversed the many hills and valleys of growing up–death and loss, sickness, addiction, depression, exhaustion, the existential dream that is early adulthood, late nights, babies, doubt, crises of faith. He marries a woman whom he loves and who loves him; they ski and hike; they go camping and enjoy an active life. He works his fingers to the bone to provide for his growing family–night shifts to day shifts to sleepless nights to babies and wondering how they’ll afford diapers and formula. He is smart, savvy, kind. He  quickly climbs up the ladder of success, from the cement floors of warehouses to the corporate offices of management and directorships. High-stress, high-stakes, high hopes. He wakes up before the sun; he follows it home. He takes pride in his work. Affable and generous, charming and funny, he loves people, and they love him. What a good man, they say, even when he’s not around. I’d never want to work for anyone else. And they mean it. His children never see his stress; when he is home, he is Dad, who wrestles and plays catch, who tells funny stories and laughs, who rides bikes and plays around-the-world in the driveway, who rescues kites from roofs and crashes BMX bikes on rickety ramps…

We learn about this man by what he does and how he does it. We piece together who he is with these scenes: Able-bodied. Energetic. Down to earth. Active. Humble. Fun.

I prefer to call him Daddy. He is all of those things and more.

I do not know when it came, but chronic pain and illness snuck into the corridors of my daddy’s body like a thief in the night and made dirty, crusty homes in his joints and connective tissues. They acted quickly, eating away at what made his body strong and fluid, eroding his activity and mobility, his energy and well-being. In the swift blink of an eye, chronic illness threw a wrench into the gears of my father’s life. I cannot say when the rheumatoid arthritis crescendoed from cumbersome to crippling. But it did.


This is part two.

He is in pain all day, every day. He cannot work without causing further damage to his body, but he works anyway–for as long as he can. He loves his job, and he is nowhere near retirement age. There are bills to pay, too. Gone are the hikes and pick-up basketball games, the crawling on the floor with kids. His joints are aflame. The flight of stairs in his house are Mt. Everest. He grapples with a disease he cannot stop, enclosed by the unfairness of it all.

His wife is struck down by a brain aneurysm, which she miraculously survives. But now they both live with chronic pain. With limitations and nasty assumptions. Forced early retirement. Astronomical medical bills. They are thankful to be alive, but their bank accounts do not express the same gratitude, nor do bill collectors. They foreclose on their home. His identity shrinks and sheds as everything he has worked for all his life are crumbling. Was it all for naught? Did he overcome so much just to end up here? How can he find meaning now, at mid-life?

It seems you just take things away.

That was years ago.

The disease has since progressed. The pain is worse; medication does little other than cause side effects. My parents’ lives are shaken; at every turn, there is a monster to fight. Loss, so much loss. Infinite losses that compound upon one another and are woven together and loop from here to there and back again, much like the negative feedback loop of symptoms that occurs within my father’s own immune system.

Loss of stability. Loss of health. Loss of energy. Loss of faith. Friendship, family. Loss of community. Loss of intimacy. Loss of the future. Confidence, dreams, hope. Mobility, ability. Trust. A way of life. Quality of life. Resources.

Depletion. Defeat. Being emptied out.

Identity. They have been forced to redefine and refill themselves, to redraw the lines of who they are, plugging picked-up pieces of themselves into the empty spaces the best they can as they travel down the road away from the carnage. Some days it feels more like they are outlining who they were in chalk, covering what’s left with a white sheet, and departing from the scene of the crime. A ghost.

Does this have a point to it? God, I wish I could hear you. Why did you take this away? I wanted it! Can I move on now that it’s gone?


Daddy is still Daddy in more ways than not; for that, we are grateful. Mom, too, who has fought back her own demons and damage from the brain aneurysm.

Dad cracks jokes to break tension. He is ornery. He is charming. Nurses and staff adore him. He itches to work; he doesn’t idle well. In fact, the last time he was hospitalized, Mom is certain it was a result of his insisting to mow the lawn a few days prior. The day he was released, we caught him out watering the plants multiple times, claiming, “The nurses told me that I should walk around!”

Lies, of course; the nurses said no such thing. But that is Daddy–work ethic, affable charm, stubbornness, a need get his hands dirty, even as they swell and throb from the pain and damage of RA. I worry at times, but I also know he’ll never change; that’s okay. He is picking up the broken pieces of himself, putting life back into the carnage, clinging to who he is, giving a hearty, “F— you!” to his disease in the best way he knows how.


There is much to be thankful for, and that is no mere platitude of piety or feigned strength. It is the honest-to-God truth; I stand upon it daily. It is my sword and shield–it is Divine Light of God in the dark that I can say even so, He is still good, and even so, it is well with my soul. (That’s my hearty, “F— you!” to disease and loss.)

But the grief hovers; it is tireless. Like the slow, pulsating light of a star, it fades in and out, taking its time to travel toward me, sometimes hidden or out of sight, yet always there. Even as the first light reaches me, always I know there is more to come, in waves of light–or of water, sound, color. Deep down I know, too, that in some distant, unknown future time, there will be grief that will hit like a supernova, a blast of radio static, a tsunami, a kaleidoscope. Whatever loss I experience now, there is other loss to come, and by God’s grace, I’ll find a way to stand up under it then, too.

So I am at once grateful and grieving, both accepting and angry. There is tension, an odd simultaneity and equality between grief, gratitude, and fear, empathy, sadness, anger. It is not either/or; it is all.

But how can one feel all of these things at once and not implode?

By giving each thing its place and its space.

When I think about life before my family’s chronic pain, I see snippets of scenes that are far away, so far removed that they feel more like mythology than history, more fantasy than biography. I don’t really remember what life was like before pain and sickness became part of the family, and perhaps I am protecting myself from the mirage of “the good ol’ days,” from the bitter kind of grief about how things were and how things are supposed to be not being how things are. Perhaps I am merely resting at a bend in the road where the scenery around me prevents me from seeing clearly behind me or ahead. At the top of the hill, perhaps I’ll see more; perhaps I’ll be ready for it.

All I know now is, I am struck with a grief with no resolution as I watch chronic pain and illness chip away at those I love most, to see them grapple with not only pain but crises of faith, of identity, of worth; they were not ready. At 25 years old and 23 years old, Jordan and I were not ready for this either. So I don’t look back, and I only look so far forward as is necessary. There is no relief when looking back brings only anger and sadness and looking forward brings no hope.

Where do I look?


I can only look up and around–the here, the now. I see the good; I feel pride in watching my loved ones press on. I see the bad, and I curse it. I look heavenward when I am baffled, broken, bruised. I seek grace upon grace, joy, clarity, and peace, and I allow God to fill in the dry spaces of my heart that need Him.

I swallow the bitter seed of pain today, and tomorrow, one of sadness, and a week from now one of anger. I will digest it, let it settle, plant it. Looking up, trusting that even seeds of grief grow beautiful things when they are quenched by the Living Water.

I give each thing–good or bad, ugly or beautiful–its place and its space. I can’t weed out the bad until I see it for what it is; to do that, I must give it space and a place. Acceptance and surrender.

The only way around it is through it.

Grief will whiplash us if we try look beyond or behind it; it grows and crystallizes like old honey, becoming perverted and unpalatable if we ignore it. And yet, there will never be complete resolution to it because time does not heal all wounds in the way we think it will.

So what else can I do but call it what it is–heart-wrenching, unfair, painful; love well–even when I want to run away; and do the work. Give each thing its place and space.

The only way around it is through it.

*Quoted text is lyrics from Wavorly’s “Time I Understood.”