Friday, January 1, 2010

Making a Way

When we get our spiritual house in order, we'll be dead. This goes on. You arrive at enough certainty to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don't expect faith to clear things up for you, it is trust, not certainty. - Flannery O'Connor

Her words have a seal of authenticity; Flannery O'Connor's short life remains vivid to me because she was a damn fine writer, and she suffered terrible pain. So she knew about suffering in a unique way, and therefore her voice is trusted, even to this day.

Over the last few days, I've been staggered by the kindness of my sister, her tending to my house with me, de-cluttering, cleaning and preparing it for sale. Now the house, is, as they say, on the market. I keep telling my sister, I could not have done it without you- and it's true. I would still be floundering and staring at all the stuff, wondering what to do next. She, armed with zeal like the north wind, buoyed me toward the finish line. Left to my own devices, I'd drift along, halfway content the rest of my days in dust and old daydreams. Maybe I could have finished this project of de-cluttering without her, but it would have been a lonelier job, and six months in the doing of it. With her help, I did it in almost one 14 hour day. We threw out a load of old stuff- things I did not need, things I would never use, that today could be smiling at someone from a pale Goodwill shelf.

And so we made our way. In the midst of it, when the piles of clutter were enormous, when my bones creaked and muscles ached, I did not think it possible. But as I watched my passionate sister carry on through the day and night, I was energized and inspired. Several times she would stop to clutch her back and sigh. I grew weary too and temperamental at times, biting my tongue on occasion, and letting it slip on others. Nevertheless, we muddled through. In making our way through that long day, I've been the one to reap the fruit of the labor. My home is a showplace.

My sister is the Flannery O'Connor of home fixer-uppers, she's a doer with stick-to-ittiveness. She calls it like she sees it. She loves the truth. And she inspires me. She is more like Flannery than any of you could ever know; her suffering has lasted a lifetime. And it has shaped her into a stunning woman with an authentic voice-for hers and Flannery's I am ever grateful.

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