I've always been big into ceremony, ritual, celebrations, the marking of meaningful dates. I got married on June 21st—twice—to the same man. Once for the legality, once for the show. Today, six years after my divorce, somewhat suprisingly I didn't even remember this used to be my wedding anniversary until I looked at someone else's wedding photo on Facebook. Even then it took a couple minutes before it dawned on me. "Summer Solstice. Wedding. Oh yeah . . ."
Last year I wrote this. This year? No reaction. No emotion. No melancholy. Simply a historical fact.
Pretty darn cool.
What's also different is that I decided not to make a big deal out of today.
Usually my thinking goes something like this:
Hooray, it's the Summer Solstice! I should dance! Rise to the occasion! What am I going to wear? I have to dress up! I have to take extra special photos and write extra special wisdom and read + share lots of extra special writings and generally make a Very Big Deal out of this extra special day!
Jeezus. With a brain like that is it any wonder I'm exhausted? This is why I ask (beg) God to please direct my thinking, every day, repeatedly. Had I been invited to a Solstice gathering I might have attended and quietly participated. But I don't have it in me to whip up extra special. And anyway, the Divine isn't manufactured. No grand effort is required. It's simply allowed in.
So instead of getting it up spiritually, I let the Divine put me to use. I saw, heard and read things I'd rather not see, hear or read, thankyouverymuch. A K-9 officer killed in the line of duty. Driving on the highway next to a truck hauling pigs, probably to slaughter, praying as one stuffed her pink nose out an air hole. "I'm sorry, pigs. I'm sending you love." Heart fucking breaking. Sitting across the table from a veteran haunted by fears I can't begin to fathom. Locked eyes, unflinching, bearing witness. Because faith was present. Fear or faith—no other choices.
Pretty cool deal. Instead of reflecting on the past, I got to be present for today. Not today as the Summer Solstice, but today as this day.
A day, apparently, that wanted someone to pray for pigs. To pray for the struggling veteran who found God in the rooms of AA many years ago and, as he said, "She never left me." To offer hope and a hug to a woman new(ish) to the rooms of AA. We see you. We know you. We're with you. To pray for a fallen K-9's handler. To read poetry, which I cannot get enough of. To eat crappy Teriyaki chicken and terrific steamed broccoli. To play with Silas. To reach out and offer free photography services to several local organizations with K-9s. To pack + ship candle orders. To read more of Zoli by Colum McCann, a magical and haunting story about a Gypsy woman in Czechoslovakia. To say thank you. To breathe. To wish my jeans weren't so tight. To not eat sugar after yesterday's binge. To offer encouragement. To soak in wisdom. To accept. To change. To choose. To allow.
A day like any other. Not a former anniversary. Not a seasonal turning point. Just what this day asked. Simple as that.
P.S. I do wish you a Happy Solstice. I mean it.