Yesterday I was talking to a friend about this transition I’m making from apartment-living to being a housemate. “What must be hard,” he remarked–and this is a dear friend, and I know he was speaking out of total respect and concern–“is not seeing it as…a step down.”

Actually, I realized later, though I am a bit strapped for cash, I’d been thinking it was a step up: better neighborhood, bigger house (and a house, not an apartment!), huge yard, a place in Joshua Tree to which I also have access, cable, free wifi, washer-dryer, all for three or 400 dollars less than I was paying at my old place.


But he got me to thinking about how 1) it’s no use ever trying for a certain effect (not, I don’t think, that I had been) as people rarely see things the way you do; and 2) is the glass half-empty or half-full? syndrome.

I thought about this particularly last night as I was asking the cashier at the Silver Lake Goodwill for the “old people’s” (my term) (over 55) discount. I thought more as I walked home alone, in the dark, on Sunset Boulevard. I could have thought Aging spinster buying clothes at the thrift store or I could have thought, as I more or less chose to, For 11 bucks I just got a pristine pair of black Everlast workout pants, a cashmere cardigan, and a green v-neck jersey with three-quarter length sleeves I can wear to the retreat I’ve been asked to give this weekend for which I’m getting flown out to St. Louis,  paid well, and 50 women have signed up.

I could think I’m a boarder or I could think I now have a place in the city and a place in the desert. I could think I’ve made less than 10 grand this year or I could think I just took off for 6 months, went all over the country, had a huge set of adventures, met a bunch of people, and am freeing myself up for more adventures. I could remember that I may not be making a ton of money but I am writing, hard, steadily, and I hope well (or at least better).

I could think I’m a loser or I could remember I’ve found my way to Christ and that is the one, the only thing that matters, ever could matter, ever will matter on this earth.

In this morning’s Gospel I’m reminded: “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Luke 6: 38-40. And really this is the crux of the whole thing. I’m reminded that Christianity is not a theory; it’s an experience.

You have to let go before you have enough, when you’re not feeling secure. You have to give to someone else when you’re terrified there won’t be any left for you. You have to choose to believe, with every ounce of strength, that if you’re trying to make your basic policy  love, everything is a step up.

4 Replies to “A STEP UP”

  1. Oh Lord, that was me! (Odd worry, come to think of it, as I went from living alone to having a roommate and my quality of life is way better!) It IS a step up, in every way. But as you delineate so well, we can so easily into the glass half-full perspective. I used to think that was just realism. Now I live completely in the full part of the glass–as do you. But yes, we need to actively maintain that willingness to perceive ourselves as living abundantly.

  2. Mark, you darling creature! I was rushing around yesterday (and am now in St. Louis) and kept thinking I should send this to you so you didn't come upon it unaware but then I realized you would totally TOTALLY get it–which you of course did. It is all, all, food for thought, growth, self-examination, and MORE love…as always, thank you for the support and for your own trash whispering and writing, xo

  3. Anonymous says: Reply

    That last paragraph was more bracing than a caffeine bomb. I needed to hear it. Thank you.

  4. And today I just posted song lyrics written by one of "my" homeless friends, Chris.
    It's found art on top of found art (him). I'm awed by how much beauty there is everywhere when you choose to see it anywhere.


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