Today, to be honest, has been kind of a lonely day. I’m snowed in (almost literally since the drifts are creeping up my front door) alone, and the city has been nearly eerily quiet. But I am blessed with great girlfriends who always know to call at just the right time. I talked with two friends for over an hour each, and both conversations gave me the kind of perspective and wisdom I needed today. Blessings to them.
My friend Melissa and I were chatting about aging (we’re both 35) and how 35 seems harder than 30 did. I pointed out, perhaps unhelpfully to Melissa, that I thought it was particularly hard because I seem so much closer to 40 and I can remember how old I thought my mom was when she turned 40 (sorry, Mom). We both sighed at that one.
Then, she asked me about a piece of writing from Anne Lamott that I shared (or maybe our friend Molly shared, now that I think about it). I’m not sure this is the one Melissa meant, but boy, did it perk me up a little to flip through some of Lamott’s great words. She is a great woman.
Here’s just a taste of the honesty and humor that make me love this writer:
I am trying to accept that I am no longer in extremely late youth, as I like to tell myself. That actually I’m m-m-m-m-m-middle-aged. And even though I am a feminist and even though I am religious, I secretly believe in some mean little rat part of my brain, that despite those beliefs, I AM my skin, my hair, and worst of all, those little triangles of fat that pouch at that top of the thighs that we call Brooklyns around here. In other words, that I am my packaging. Even though both paths teach me that I am the person inside, the spirit, the heart, all that I have survived, all that I have given over the years, after I started liking this guy, a funny thing happened: I looked in the mirror, and sighed, and forgot all about that, and thought to myself, I will cut my eyes out.
But in the same mirror I saw a framed prayer on the wall, from when Sam was four, and we were at a friend’s house for dinner late one summer day after we had been lost for hours. And at the dinner table, my boy Sam who was hot and sweaty and hungry somehow managed to get his head caught in the slats of his chair; no one noticed for a moment, and until, in this tiny Tweety-Bird voice, Sam was heard saying, “I need help with me.”
I thought it might be the best prayer I ever heard. I said it out loud the day I decided to cut my eyes out: I need help with me.
Sometimes the best prayers in the world are ones like these – Today, Lord, I need help with me. And today, my dear friends, were my help. Praise God for the telephone and the snow.
– The Great and Glorious Anne Lamott