Wednesday, July 27, 2011

say what you need to say

"I learned ... that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness." Brenda Ueland

from an email sent to me by Lynn Jones Ennis, Ph.D. Associate Director
Curator of the Collection, Gregg Museum of Art & Design, North Carolina State University

say what you need to say

my friend lynn had a way about her. loved soft hats, that girl did. and clothes with such texture you could almost see the voice of the maker in the stitches. diminutive hands. soft in voice and countenance. in her best eastern nc lilt she would often end our visits with: i can't wait to see you aGANE. (caps my emphasis, pronunciation hers.) aGANE, like gain, as if every single time i saw her was her gain. i know it was mine. she used words like SWELL and sent us SMOOCHES by email. things like that.

every so often, an email would show up in my inbox from her, as she hoped to gather three of our friends and me for a seasonal meet up. and somehow we would merge five schedules into one night just long enough to share our stories and our dreams.

i don't remember exactly when we met, but yoga had something to do with it. my friend miriam had met lynn through yoga and introduced us, and somehow lynn talked this muffin top into participating. she assured me that the creativity would just pour out of me if i gave my mind an hour to settle into the ommms. my neighbor candy and i bit, but pretty much everything but creativity poured out of me after my yoga sessions. at home, after,  i poured my well-plied body into a soft chair and promptly fell asleep.

lynn and miriam and i, all writers, found other ways to gather, and in time, candy and diane — writers,too — joined us. we met for energy and support, not so much to share our work but to celebrate the fact that we had our work and our links to each other. lynn, an expert in creativity, softly encouraged us, aGANE and aGANE, and we encouraged her, too.

whenever we met, she would turn to us one by one and say: now, what's going on with you? 

when last we met, we talked about her work at the museum where she was curator, about diane's recent breast cancer and surgery, about miriam's plans to teach a seminar on cooking, writing, painting and eating. candy had finally landed an agent for her middle grades historical novel. all good. all hopeful. so good to see you aGANE, said lynn as we parted in the parking lot.

only i wouldn't. never again. no gain. only loss.

yesterday lynn died. all of a sudden, maybe as she stood at her kitchen sink and told her husband that the headache that had been plaguing her for the past few days had worsened. died. right there. in an instant. in the house she loved, with her tea cups and her plants and the pictures of her granddaughter nearby. 

it does not seem real to me. though i work at my church, i avoided going into the nave for prayer because it would become truth, then. i thought about lynn, who had come to my church in february for a gathering of creative women like herself, sitting not far from where i took my seat yesterday in the pew, there alone I prayed for her family, and for the gift of her life on this earthly walk.

the four of us left in our circle have talked on the phone, wept, wondered. two in our group have lost family members in the past two weeks. we are not in that closest of family friend circles, but we are connected, and so we hurt. 

last night i called my friend grace and said: you mean to world to me. i emailed barbara and my sister, said the same. and instead of television, i asked my husband to hold me while i cried. 

today i got my hair cut (too short) but... my hairdresser is an effusive Christian who wears his faith right out there, joyously, sometimes a little uncomfortable for me. as i told him about lynn, he said this: the Lord does not guarantee us a tomorrow. no. indeed.

after that, as i headed into work, john mayer came on the radio urging me to 'say what you need to say...say what you need to say."

You better know that in the end/It's better to say too much/Than to never to say what you need to say again/Even if your hands are shakin'/And your faith is broken/Even as the eyes are closin'/Do it with a heart wide open/A wide heart
Say what you need to say

say what you need to say. 

my faith is not broken, but i know i need to say what i need to say.

i love you. you mean everything to me. you did a wonderful job. thank you. thank God. i'm sorry. i should have done a better job. i will change. i hope.

 and thank you, lynn ennis, for being a part of my life.