“it means more than i can tell you. so you must not judge what i know by what i find words for.” - marilynne robinson // gilead
these words capture the loss and grandeur of living, the mystery and transparency of being human and being in relationship. it captures the moments we miss. the moments when we speak for each other and over each other. it captures the challenge we face of sitting still enough for long enough with each other.
we live a limited existence. we cannot begin to fully understand and know each other no matter how hard we try (contrary to my last post…but i think both are true…alas, we are all — almost always — walking contradictions). we cannot fully wrap our arms around each other’s stories, contexts, souls. we can reach out, but we will not be able to touch the curve of every soft and subtle emotion, every form of robust desire, every invisible current of grief that plows through the center of our story.
we will fall short of knowing each other because we cannot always find words for our stories, for what we know.
words fail us.
take, for example, ben’s and my kitchen.
if you walked in, you’d probably notice a fridge, a table, white cabinets and green countertops. i might try and tell you that our kitchen means more to me than what you see. that it represents healing. the slow to unravel kind.
i might try and tell you how i know this to be true.
how the sunlight announces itself at the start of every day and waltzes in through the wide window above the sink. how some cabinets are empty and how some are full. how almost everything is second hand, which we love (most of the time) because it means every thing was someone’s before it was ours and each one carries with it an odd character and charm, especially our kettle with its clumsy and frantic screech. how i love our kettle and do not want an upgrade.
i might try and tell you how our kitchen has held every good, every full, every bad, every hard conversation over the past few months. how it’s held the tension and apologies. the hugs and the dance offs. how it’s heard “the blessing” by kari jobe and kygo’s album one too many times. how that, too, is a kind of healing.
how i often feel the most at peace when i’m washing and rinsing dishes in the porcelain sink because the act itself is a kind of loaded and hopeful prayer.
(i'm linking "the blessing" here because it's just too good not to share. listen to this while you wash the dishes next and i guarantee a better dish washing experience : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9VL7AhXBKY)
i can try and tell you all this, but the time spent in the kitchen means more than just those words. there's an ocean of meaning beneath it.
what i’m trying to say is, there are no words fully capable of capturing what it means to be alive and to be in relationship.
what it means to love.
of course this is more than just about a kitchen. it’s about how we cannot tell each other fully what it means to lose a parent, receive news of a diagnosis, move away from home, live with depression, suffer anxiety, graduate, get a job, lose a job, welcome a new baby, walk through a miscarriage.
and this is where it’s hard and limiting because i will never fully know what you cannot find words for in your particular story. we’ll miss each other in this life. we’ll fall short of fully understanding, of wholly honoring each other in our becoming.
our stories hold meaning that extends to the heavens and yet our words hit the ceiling.
you see why we need patience, kindness and grace for each other? how we just need to hold more space for each other?
because there will always be more to what we cannot find words for.
“always more beneath the surface” “you don’t know the full story” and it’s true.
instead of throwing labels at each other
“she’s not capable”
“what’s wrong with —"
might we always and ever stay curious and stay seekers because in this life, seeking and pursuing each other even when we cannot fully understand is the closest we’ll come to becoming more like Love.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.