Sunday, February 24, 2008

why i disappeared for a while

Last week on our way to Mexico, our layover in Dallas was dragging on and on, pinning us between two worlds. I felt irritation and restlessness rising in my chest, and I was eyeing the flight times with a growing suspicion that we would never be allowed to leave.

I was unhappy.

Then it hit me: here I was surrounded by my dearest loves, my children who are astounding and my husband with his shining heart, and I was lost in distraction and longing.

This is the magician trick: the lure of "something else", the endless waiting for what is around the corner, the grasping after what is just barely out of reach.

So I settled in and decided to be there with my whole heart.


I notice that Danny is singing the ridiculous lyrics of a song that is playing over the intercom. He is aware of the silliness and laughing as he sings, dancing a little in his vinyl chair. He is creating something new. Danny is like a clown let loose in a children's sick ward...a whimsical, floppy muppet charged with the task of saving the world. Against all odds, he will make you smile.

I notice that Janelle is jittery and fatigued from the stretching out of the day, and she has wrapped herself in a blanket she carries with her. This blanket smells like her puppies, and she pulls in the scent to bring them near. She is leaning into Joey with so much tenderness and trust, like a child with a fever. She can sleep even here in this noise and chaos with her scents and her warmth and her deep, deep love.

I notice in a way much deeper than ever before the way that Joey's heart is expansive and vulnerable-the way that it is immediately available. I have just read him a sad little story from a book I have with me, and tears are shining in his eyes, his face flushed with the kinship he feels with the boy in the story, the tiny hero. He smiles to push back his feelings, but it's too late...they are here as his gift to me. I drink in his lovely tenderness.

I notice that my husband's smile is easy and relaxed. His heart is always extending out in every direction and pulling us close to him. It is a magnetic force, this heart of his, and it gives us all permission to be exactly who we really are. He is the safest person I know.

I suddenly recognize that I am in the presence of something so dear, something so good. I recognize also that I could have missed this...I could have remained absent and allowed all of these treasures to slip through my sleeping, anxious fingers. I am determined to be here right now in this airport with all of its abundant blessings.


This is why I disappeared from this place for a little while. I was busy being somewhere else.


  1. sweeeet!
    way to practice what you teach girl.
    missed you~love you~bless you!


    terri, it sounds like "wonderful" would be an understatement for the time you had just *being* with the people you love, the people you do life with.

    i hope you received so much, that you felt rested and cared for and loved and that you were able to thaw out. i hope that you were able to take is big lungfulls of that mexican sea air and that you were able to find something meant only for you in that place of resting & being.

    i am so glad you are back & can't wait to hear more about it.

    blessings & peace to you,

  3. This brings tears to my eyes.

    and so much soft love to my heart,

    Thank you,


  4. I agree hon.

    Be in the moment. Notice the people and things you love. Even in an airport you may be trapped in, one can find the blessings.

    Can't really say that I'm glad we're back ALREADY. Can't vaca's be a little longer?

    And there I go grasping again . . .

  5. TERRI YOU ARE BACK !!!!! Guess how much we missed you? Nate has been listening to me whine for days now about missing you.

    I will be hosting a welcome home party at my house. And being that we all live so far apart that means I will have to drink one for everybody.
    Uh where is my Tequila anyway? ( You know i am just being crazy and that i don't drink)

    Have i told you how much i thank God that there are people like you in this world? I am totally serious about that. I am so proud of you for laying the blogging down though, man that is tough. I am about to be crucified with Christ.

    Your family is so sweet and precious, you are blessed with them and they are blessed with you.

  6. Hey, has anyone noticed that Terri's back?


    Wow (I say that too much). What a beautiful time you've had, if these people were there with you. I love the way your descriptions give us a glimpse as to part of who they are.

    I hope your rest and be-ing time was all you hoped and prayed it would be. I hope your heart is so refreshed it wants to jump up and down and run around screaming, it's so excited.

    Take it easy. (But do feel free to tell us more when you're up for it ;) )

  7. HOOOOORRRAAAYYYYY!!!!!! you guys are back! and you posted beautiful, luscious, lovely pictures of all of you and gave such special stories along with each of them.

    i was cuh-racking UP! when i read the story about danny. my little brother is such a ham. i love it. love it, love it, love it. great pic of him, by the way. it communicates so much of his personality.

    i loved getting to know joey and janelle a little bit more. that part about janelle pulling the blanket up close to smell her puppies . . . oh, that was so precious. i totally get what that is about.

    i loved hearing about joey's heart. the part about his eyes welling up with tears over the children's story. (what was that story, by the way?! sounds like one i'd love to read.)

    and that picture of you and dave?!?!?! so freaking delicious! i was screeching over here in my house just staring at it. could not take my eyes off of it, girl! you are GORGEOUS!!!! ahhhh!!!! i can hardly stand it. i made kirk come over and get to know your family on my screen here. i told him i would love for us to come visit this extended family of ours up in minneapolis. and then i made him give me a kiss because your love made me feel so much about our love, too.

    your story about dave is precious, too. i love the way you two love each other. makes me happy. makes my heart warm.

    thank you for sharing your love with all of us! and the pictures. and the stories. and the laughs. and the reasons why you were gone.

    but i'm so, so glad you're back. pulling up my chair for a front-row seat on the mexico stories now!!

  8. ps: i posted my comment before reading everyone else's comments (that's the second time i've done that today -- which is not my usual way of doing things!), but i just have to say . . .

    tammy, you are freaking hilarious. you're going to have to drink one for everyone . . . classic. i love you so much. i'm sorry you're going to feel crucified over the next few days of being in your special place with God, but i am so, so glad you're taking this step. you are a brave girl, and i love you so much.

  9. Oh how wonderful to have you back! You have such a strong presence around her, Terri. It’s nice to get a glimpse into your family. You write so well about how easy it is to slip into wanting something other than what we have in front of us (even when what’s in front of us is pure love). But instead you noticed and drank it in. It’s poetry. I love how you described your husband as the safest person you know. Awwww. That’s so sweet.

  10. di: yes, it was pretty stinkin' sweet. and all that stuff right back at you.

    kirsten: it is really hard to find the words that will do it justice. but you know i'll try. :) we all had the best time. i'll write more soon. it sure is nice to be talking to you again.

    maithri: me too.

    dave: not grasping is hard work! especially after the time we had. but we brought most of the good stuff back with us...all the love and whatnot.

    tammy: have one on me. ;) thanks for missing me, and whining to nate about me being gone. it feels good that people were thinking about me...and i thank God for you too.

    sarah: i feel so sublime and relaxed it's not even funny. and i love the descriptions's that feeling you get when you write something that really nails it. (you know all about that, i'm sure.) it's gonna be hard to drag myself back into the real world tomorrow. *surfing the urge to fly back to mexico*

    christianne: i knew you'd enter in like this. i'm glad you can know them a little this way. they really are worth knowing, these angels of mine. and it's so flipping great that you squeezed a kiss out of kirk from this. i love that! (by the way, the story i read to joey was one that anne lamott talks about in bird by bird...the story of the little boy who agrees to have his blood transfused for his little sister who has leukemia...he's laying on the table hooked up to the IV when the doctor comes along to check on him, and the little boy asks, "how long until I begin to die?")

    chloe: thanks for those words from you. sometimes those moments are so far beyond words, when something real and good opens up in front of you. i was sitting there wondering, "how did i not see all of this a moment ago?"

    oh, and i love that he really is that safe.

  11. Terri, your stories and pictures are beautiful. There's not much I could add to what's already been said in these comments. We're all glad you're back; you were sorely missed; it always nice to get a little more detail about you and your family. Did I mention you were missed? :)

    Now, slowly, acclimate yourself to this new, old world. Radical re-acclimation is hard. Peace.

  12. Welcome back. Boy do you have some reading to do to catch up!

    Of course the fact that five bloggers I read were away with you does mean that I'll now need to set aside more time to keep up with all that's happening!

  13. I (also) missed you...BUT...

    while standing on the beach in Cape Town, with the sun basking on my face..and the wind blowing just so that it is not too hot...I was thinking of all my new friends across the globe...oh! and for a moment I was with you and your family in Mexico...with the sun shining...lovin all around...laughter! Happy hearts! Family!

    and then I had to run...cause I had to meet all my friends and family in Cape Town!

    Yes, sometimes we just to re-focus and look around many wonderful people and magical moments right next to us! xx

  14. Welcome back to reality Terri ---

    I am joining you in trying trying trying to live in the moment, whatever it is ----- and not be wishing for the next thing.

    Thanks for sending your sweet friends back to us rested and happy! We love them and we won't really marry them off to undeserving TALL gentlemen just to keep them here ... we are selfish, but not THAT selfish.

  15. "I was busy being somewhere else..."
    LOVE it!!

    miss you guys tons! (hey, you missed all the excitement on the last night...)

  16. Terri,

    I noticed you had special look to was beautiful to see you taking in the moments.

    love you!

  17. nate: thanks. it is hard to come back, but your voices make it just a little easier.

    dean: i think i had six bloggers with me: greg, jen, tess, marcia, dave,'ve got some reading to do my friend. :)

    linni: ooooh, bonus! i was in cape town too? i knew i felt especially exotic! bless you sister.

    tara: thanks, you had me a little nervous for a minute there. i know it wouldn't take much for tess and jen to plop themselves down in haiti for good. and being in the moment...much easier in mexico than here, but i'm trying...i'm really trying.

    jen: yeah, i heard. have we ever gone anywhere with you when your amazing doctoring skills were not put to the test?

    marcia: i noticed you noticing me noticing. :)

  18. Love Love Love this post.

    Reminds me to bring myself back to the present and see the beauty of people we love around us. I am forgetful most of the time...

    Mexico was pretty sweet!