Sunday, April 17, 2011

Love Hurts, Love Heals, Wholy and Holy

Jesus, y'all, I'm a mess.
I mean, not really but yeah, really.

I can't stop crying these days. I cry for sweetness, I cry for pain, I cry for joy, I cry mostly just because the earth turns and the light changes and the it's too much beauty for me to hold in my heart and it keeps bursting forth, wave after wave of salt-watered emotions.

Just stop it, I want to tell myself. Quit it!

Really. I can't. It's all too damn much for me to bear.

Yesterday I sat in the audience of the Opera House which is a different perspective for me entirely and for an hour I sat and listened, often with my eyes closed to Lis and Gabe and Lon playing and tears just streamed down my face. Lis's voice is a pure thing. It's pure like water and it satisfies my soul. It comes straight from her heart and it finds its way into the listener's heart and when she's singing her own songs, the ones she's written, it's that much more.
More of what?
Everything you need.
And that Opera House stage is a perfect place for her to sing. Nothing stops the notes and they rise up and soar and they settle down and whisper of all things: love, joy, comfort, adulation, despair, wishes, dreams...

No one talks when Lis is singing at the Opera House. No one would dare to miss a note. And when Lon joins her in harmony, it's two voices together who have spent thirty-something years singing together, onstage, over breakfast, wherever they are together. Combine that with their love for each other and it's like being witness to something so damn good that you know what holy is.
And maybe that's what's making me cry.
Witnessing the holy in every damn thing.

Last night after the festival, Lon and Lis came back here with Lon's sister and her husband and I made chicken and dumplings- a simple, old-fashioned dish in one pot and heated up the last of the collards and we all sat down around my table and we held hands and said this prayer together: "I am grateful. For all of this."

And we ate.
And we laughed. And we told stories. And it was good.

This morning we got up and ate our breakfast outside where the birds were singing, blackbirds and cardinals, mockingbirds and doves cooing and Jessie and Melissa came out and joined us and again- holy, holy, holy.
And there was silliness and banjo playing in the kitchen

and (I can't talk about it) knowing that Jessie is leaving soon, that this funny, silly, beautiful, radiant, music-making girl is about to graduate from college and go live in Asheville, North Carolina (only eight hours away!) is breaking my heart into so many pieces that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to put them back together.
And it's okay. It's great. I'll just have to learn how to live with my heart all rescrambled and stuck back together with glue and baling wire and paper clips and ribbons and clothespins and sticky tape and I will and so will her father and her brother and her sisters and her nephew and her friends. We will (only eight hours away!) but she won't be in my kitchen on a Sunday morning with Melissa, shaking her maracas and sticking out her butt and giggling away and saying, "What else is there to eat?" and kissing and hugging me

and teasing me and petting the dogs and washing the dishes and making me laugh.
Or making me cry.

But she was here this morning.
Doing all of that.

And now everyone has gone. Lon and Lis are playing in St. Augustine tonight. "Don't you want to come with us?" Lis asked me. "Aw, no," I said. "I have to clean the hen house."
We laughed because that was so lame and I could hardly let go of her or of Lon either.
And we all went out front and sat for pictures. Lis and I had to do our kissing picture.
"We've kissed here before," Lis said and she's right. We have.

And Jessie posed with her fairy-godparents.

And then Lon caught us in full laugh.

I don't even remember what we were laughing about.

And then everyone got in cars and drove away and we waved forever and here I am.
Crying again.

It fucking HURTS when your heart breaks. It pushes up and it lodges in your throat and your nose runs and you cry.

Because you know that life is all about comings and goings and the things that happen inbetween those things. And because fuck it- it's just so damn important.
We think the important things are more money or a bigger house or a new car or losing weight or a diamond ring or a trip to Europe and yes, yes, yes. Those things can be important but no, mostly, it's sitting around a table and eating a meal with people you love and it's listening to notes from humans making music and it's laughing so hard your stomach hurts and it's someone playing banjo on your porch, in your kitchen and it's nothing you can plan for.
You can't know when you get up that this holy thing or that holy thing is going to happen so you have to pay attention! You have to be aware that this moment in time will not ever return, not exactly like this and that there has been a coming and there will be a going and yes, new things will come about which are holy and that's the way life is.

And I guess you can't hold on too hard, can you? I mean, what good does it do?
You have to say, "Go with my blessings. My blessings and my joy at your leaving because it's not a running-away from this life, it's a running-toward that next part, more goodness, more music, more LOVE, more of everything and we're only going to be eight hours away.

Or three hours, as we are with Lon and Lis. Nothing. Pffft, like that.

We wave forever. We come in the house, we look around at all the empty space where a few moments ago there was so much activity. You listen to the silence where an hour ago there was singing and you realize that now the space is holy, too, because it held all of that.
Just a minute ago.
Just an hour ago.
Just a lifetime ago.

We come, we go, we stay, we leave, we sing, we cook, we clean out the hen house.

Yes. We cry.

Because it's all holy. And because our hearts shatter again and again and before we've figured out how to bind them together with all that stuff, whatever we can find, they're just going to leak.

A lot.

Or at least mine does.

Well. Sunday here at the Church of the Batshit Crazy.

Here's our hymn for today. Love Hurts by Gram Parsons (rest his soul) sung by Lon and Lis Williamson at the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival and I don't know what year. My favorite part comes right at the end.

Holy, holy, holy.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Love your photos. Sorry Jessie is going away, but one day she'll be back, hopefully with more than she left with :)

  2. I am so glad you wrote all of this today -- every word written from a full heart. It reaches us all, wherever we are out here in the world. Love hearing Lis and Lon harmonizes and seeing all you gals roaring with laughter. x0 N2

  3. Oh, Mary........I have a new word to praise you......divine.

    Your writings, your words are simply....... beyond words.

    I love that picture of you laughing!

    By the way, old darlin'...forgive me for confounding you with my blog of are so evolved beyond my sermon that you are too humble. Go today and read my P.S.

  4. Oh sweet Mama, that was a beautiful, fun morning. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with me and the world. Love sure can hurt, but it's a good kind of sadness that's hard for me to explain but we know so well. That's what happens when you have too much love. Damn. ;)

  5. I don't know what to say.

    Maybe just echo you. Bless your heart.

  6. Oh, and can I copy and paste the paragraph about the important things in life and add this link to a post in a forum I follow?

    I think those people need to see this.

  7. Jo- She better come back before she has TOO much more. I mean it!

    N2- I wish I knew what we were laughing about.

    Lo- You are way too sweet to me. I wish I was as divine as you think I am. Damn. I do.

    HoneyLuna- I know. And as Ina May says, a broken heart just lets more love in. I believe her. I love you. I guess you know that. Thanks for coming out this morning. Thanks for wanting to.

    Andrew- I can always use a heart-blessing. Thank-you, sweet man.
    And yes, you can certainly cut and paste and use. You have my permission and thank-you for asking.

  8. Oh honey, I'm weeping right there with you. It's so hard to let go, like trying to peel off your own arm.

    Sending you big, warm, Mama hugs. You are so blessed.

  9. Yes, yes, and yes. I know all too well the pain of heartbreak. My heart breaks daily for my little man. All the pain my 3 (very soon to be 4) year old son has endured and that he's wearing a big fat spica cast and it's just not fair.

  10. P.S. Elvis looks fabulous in the new header. Also, I think we were laughing about that girl thinking I was on a Segway, but really I was just tall. Really not that funny, but that's what happens when you laugh a lot for any little thing.

  11. I loved the whole post -- especially the song at the end. Thank you for bringing grace, once again, into my life.

  12. Gotta say I got a little teary-eyed myself when I saw those pictures of Miz Jessie. I called Austin over and said "Look! Guess who that is!!" He stared for a while and said "A famous person?"

    "Close! That is Jessie Moon!"

    His eyes widened. "She got so tall...I watched Popeye with her...I wonder if she remembers me."

    I told him I would check.

  13. Terena- And don't I know how blessed I am? Damn!

    Rebecca- Life is so far from fair I can't even see it from here. I hope the best for that baby boy of yours.

    HoneyLuna- That was IT! yes!
    You in heels.
    You goddess, you.

    Elizabeth- Fair trade, darling. Fair trade.

    Omgrrrl- I'm sure she does. Absolutely.
    Love you, girl.

    Andrew- So welcome.

    Gradydoctor- And why wouldn't it be? Laughing makes god happy.

  14. I'm so happy you posted a link to Lon and Lis. I've always wondered how they sounded and now I've had the pleasure of hearing their simple and beautiful voices.

    Such big changes coming for Miss Jessie. A wide open future full of possibility. I loved all the pictures but especially the one of you three ladies laughing-priceless.

    Love the new header pic of Elvis too.

  15. Dearest Mary, what a beautiful post! Ditto Lo.

    I'm sorry Jessie's going but she'll be back before you know it. What wonderful friends and family you have. I love the pictures, the one of you laughing is just gorgeous xx

  16. Love DOES hurt, but NO love is the worst. You gotta have it to miss it, sister. I LOVE YOU.

  17. Ah, Ms. Moon, you went and had me cry again. It is love and family and friends and laughter that make me the happiest, as well. The others are just things.

  18. Mel's Way- Aren't they beautiful, Lon and Lis? Don't you love the way they reached out and held hands? God, I love them.

    Christina- Jessie pointed out that we were talking about the fact that she'd had a gig the night before and had worn heels and was so tall that someone actually thought she was riding one of those Segways. I think that person must have been tipsy but I can understand the mistake.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- You're right. You do have to have it to miss it and I love you too!

  19. Dear Mary,

    We feel that we are the luckiest people in the world and have truly been rained down upon with good fortune. You and your family are most certainly at the heart of all of that my beloved friend.

    Missing you terribly and thank you more than we can say for the countless blessings you have bestowed upon us. Our hearts and our heads.

    All our love,

    L & L

    xo xo xo xo

  20. P. S. Not to mention all that amazing food. Chicken and dumplings, collards, fruity nutty pancakes and venison sausage. I am still dizzy. :)

  21. Lon and Lis- Oh my. Yes. Yes. Yes.
    All of it.
    I love you both to there and back and then off into the vast universe, wherever it may lead.

  22. It has been hard for me to let go of people. All that abandonment stuff comes up. But I have let go and still lived. I do miss them. And I can actually start to miss them before they leave. Crazy shit, but that tells me my heart is still tender. Probably always will be.

  23. It stinks to high heaven when our babies move away, for me it was like driving full speed into a brick wall, I hated it. I'm so sorry your baby is moving 8 hours away, I'm sure in your heart it might as well be 800 hours... Thank goodness you will always there, cooking chicken and dumplings or whatever other yummy thing she loves, when she comes home.

  24. Syd- If you didn't have such a tender heart, I wouldn't love you so much.

    Tiffany- It's going to be all right. My mantra. And it will be.

  25. You know, given all of this..
    I imagine you need to have some down time.

    My oldest daughter won't be coming home this summer between school years.. it's okay. and it's not.

    I don't know what the future holds in terms of where all my babies will be living, and I don't really want to think about it too much.



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