Thursday, February 02, 2017

What's Saving My Life Right Now

Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy invited us to share what's saving our life right now.  She reflected that this is the midpoint of winter, but I don't deal with cold weather or Seasonal Affective Disorder where I live.  Like others, however, I have been struggling with the mess in the world and in my own passport country, the United States.  After a long and brutal election season there and in the country where I live (the one in the US was more brutal, but the one here in Haiti went on longer, with postponements and even a redo), the political news didn't quiet down, but instead got louder and more insistent.

When I stopped to reflect on Anne's question (originally from Barbara Brown Taylor's memoir Leaving Church), I realized that the answers all have to do with my OLW for the year, ROOTED.  The things that are saving my life right now involve focusing on where I am and on situations where I can have some impact.

The people around me are saving my life.  My husband, my children (one here, one via Skype from college, and yes, that still counts as "where I am," since my heart is with her as much as it is here), my extended family and household, my friends, my colleagues, my students, my church family.  The people in my life.  The people I love.

My writing group is saving my life.  I've wanted to be in a writing group for years, and now that I finally am, I'm finding it a rich experience.  Even if I don't get much done in the two weeks between meetings, I love the conversation.  We start with a piece by another writer (not one of us), and then we talk about what we've all submitted.  We drink tea and laugh and swap ideas and act all English-majory, and it's wonderful - like being back in grad school but without the competitive angst I used to writhe in back then.  Writing saves my life; it's one of the things that reliably makes me feel better, but it takes a lot of effort, and often when I feel the worst, I have the least motivation to make myself write.  The writing group helps with that, giving me the extra oomph to work and to know that I'll have sympathetic, smart readers.

Taking photos is saving my life.  I started a photography project at the beginning of this year, in which I'm taking photos every day, and posting one a day on Facebook in response to prompts from It's making me look around my world more closely, finding what's beautiful and what's ugly and what's worth capturing.  Some days I'm happy with my photo and some days I'm not.  Some days lots of my friends pay attention, and other days hardly anyone seems to notice.  All of that is all right.  It's a way of grounding myself, of being exactly where and when and who I am. 

Reading always saves my life, and it continues to do that.  I read to relax, to reflect, to learn, to grow, to escape, to live other lives.  I know that doesn't sound like being rooted, but it is.  It's being rooted in who I really am, and always have been since I learned to read when I was four, and even before then when my parents read to me.  I am a reader, a book person.  I am so blessed to have a job that lets me be a book person and encourage others to join me.  And it's also saving my life to be a Book person, a person who reads the Bible in the morning before I read my news feed, to orient myself with ancient wisdom and love before plunging into whatever awful thing just happened.  (I still plunge - I don't see how I can close myself off to it - but I have a more eternal perspective.)

How about you?  What's saving your life right now?

This post is linked to Modern Mrs. Darcy's roundup.

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