It's enough just to stay upright,
upright in every way,
And pour your love into your children,
til there's nothing left to say.
- Ani Difranco
I want to live upright. These recent weeks of listing and limping along has set me eager for an upright life. To me that means something about self care and the discipline to hold to that course. I'm feeling better in the last 48 hours and I'm optimistic that I'm back on track. My head and my heart have cleared some. I'm eating nutritiously, have set down the cigarettes, am playing with my son, and pausing for a moment's gratitude and good will.
Of course today, a good day when the doom and gloom has just passed on, upright means more than how I care for me. It encompasses the big values of environmental stewardship, social justice, advocacy for my son and others on the spectrum, global socio-economic awareness, etc... But let's not call back the clouds of doom and gloom. Let's start with this good day. Little N and I composted and recycled. We ate mostly vegetarian. We wore second hand clothes. Yet, we weren't perfect or pure or holy. I drove the station wagon across town adding to a variety of forms of pollution. We played in a wading pool that could be considered a waste of water. And right now our freshly laundered clothes are spinning around in our dryer, rather than being hung out to dry on a line somewhere.
Because that's just how my life is these days. I yield to some of the conveniences of contemporary life and culture the same way that I yield to passing storms of hard feelings. I expect that I won't be "upright in every way." I think, I hope, that's where we lean on grace. The grace of good friends who email me with encouraging words and acceptance of where I'm at. The grace of city-wide collection systems that make doing the right thing (compost, recycling) convenient. The grace of divine (?) forgiveness, of self (?) forgiveness, for all the time when "inconvenient" or "culturally inappropriate" renders doing the right thing "impossible" and left undone. The grace of clarity and retrospect to try again or simply to call on grace and apologize to whoever is paying attention for where I'm still not quite upright.