What follows is a recent musing by Anne Lamotte.  I follow her on Facebook. I went looking for something she wrote recently to put on our chalkboard painted kitchen cabinet message area.   I don’t agree with everything she  says, but then again, I’m sure you don’t agree with everything I always say either.  ;-) DM


Last night, at Arborlawn United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, the last of 14 cities on the book tour for Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair, a woman in her late twenties raised her hand and asked, “What is the big picture? I do a lot of things that I love and value, but don’t have a clue what it all means.”

The crowd was actually hushed, as if I might have the secret launch codes, and could answer this for all time.

I said, “Welcome to the monkey house,” stealing one of Vonnegut’s titles. Everyone of every age roared with friendly laughter, because we’re all in the same boat. We ALL think we missed school the day that the visiting specialists stopped by our 2nd grade classroom to distribute the pamphlets on what is true, who we are, how we are to live with the great mystery of life, how to come through dark times, how to awaken. We’re all sort of winging it, trying to learn self-love and respect, trying to be here, now, sometimes, and live lives of meaning and joy.

You do a LOT of things you love and value? That’s the big picture.

You’ve learned about radical self-care, and putting your own oxygen mask on first, yet also have discovered that we can only be filled up by service, by giving? Are you laughing enough? Are you saying “No” enough? Have you taken to heart that “NO” is a complete sentence? That no one over 40 must EVER again help anyone else move to a new house? That no one over 50 must EVER chair a yard–or-parking lot-or garage sale–for a church, or a high school sports team?

Ram Dass said he thought that when it was all said and done, we’re all just walking each other home. That’s the meaning, I think. That’s the big picture.

You’re not squandering your time racing around all day doing meaningless bullshit, multi-tasking, and always feeling like you’re behind on your homework? If not, that’s what it all means. Rest is a spiritual act.

My pastor once told us that you can trap bees in jars without lids, because they look straight ahead, muddling around, panicking on the floor of the jar, bumping into the glass sides, because they don’t look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.

You’re learning NOT to chase the mechanical rabbits at the Greyhound Race Track, of fame, drama, achievement, ownership? You’re pursuing a creative call of some sort, now? You’re not pretending that you are going to get back to writing, singing, dance, as soon as this or that happens–ie as soon as you graduate or retire, or your youngest leaves home? You’re doing it NOW, badly, herky-jerkily, as a debt of honor? That is the bigger meaning of it all: creation.

You’re living as if you may have a year or so to live, and want to make the most of it, savor and be filled, by spending time with those you love most, much of it outdoors in the beauty of our Mother? Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.”

So are you out there, shaking your head with amazement, smiling about the earth’s wild sweet beauty? That is the bigger picture. That is the meaning: wonder, presence, immediacy, being HERE. Like my teenage friend Mason says in Stitches, “I had brain cancer. I was in a coma. Then I was HERE again.” Are you here?

That’s the big picture.

Anne Lamotte

chalk board paint


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sitting on my grandpa's farm porch with Feedie
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5 Responses to Nuggets

  1. shoreacres says:

    Well, I know a lot of people worship at the altar of Anne Lamotte. I’m thrilled that you posted this today, because it reminds me of all the reasons I don’t.

    Have a good day – gorgeous here, and I’m off to the docks!
    I like how you put that..”worship @ the altar of Anne Lamotte” Tell me more! DM

  2. micey says:

    I read Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies. I think she’s a beautiful writer. I don’t agree with her take on theological matters, but I do appreciate her honest search for truth. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for truth, meaning, love?
    I don’t agree with her on some theological matters she touched upon here either (the little I’ve read) nor on some other hot button issues, BUT there were some powerful statements in this muse that were right on. Several years ago when I was taking some classes in counseling, we critiqued various schools of thought in the counseling/ psychology field. I learned “nuggets of truth” can be found in the most unexpected places because truth is truth. DM

  3. Bill from PA says:

    Thanks for sharing the quotes DM. I’m a new follower, but like the concept of living in the “now”. Trying to teach my boys to be present and mindful in all interaction. I’m having a hard time with it myself. Love the blog, keep ‘me coming.
    thanks Bill. the timing of your comment is perfect. I was beginning to think what I write is boring and no longer interesting, was thinking about taking a break.,just goes to show, sometimes my perceptions are not 100% accurate. DM

    • Bill from PA says:

      Keep it up. I’m a teacher and sometimes you feel like no one is listening. Then someone asks that great question or repeats something you said months ago…then it’s all worthwhile.
      Thank you Bill! DM

  4. lisalassas says:

    Oh DM, let me tell you, PLEASE keep it up. You have wise things to say. I am back here reading your past posts because it is Sunday morning and I am feeling a little lost and your name and your writing literally popped into my head out of nowhere! I found my way back to your writing because it helps me reset my own inner compass. And so, for my two cents, does Anne Lamotte in this post. By the way, despite my own probably way more loopy-doopy (than you) belief system, I don’t agree with everything Anne Lamotte says either. But she is a seeker and she is as honest as she can be in her pursuit of her own truth. That is still something I see as absolutely valuable. Thanks!
    Now that is a profound/ awesome compliment Lisa,…right up there with something a young mom told me a week ago. I’d worked @ their house a couple of years ago, and they would invite our crew in to have lunch with the family. One of her younger sons began requesting I sit next to him @ meal time. “If I would.” She told me the other day, Jarret is the shy one, and the fact that he wanted to sit by me was amazing and spoke very highly of me. I’m still living off that compliment 3 weeks later.:-) DM

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