A note about my use of “God”. In my work, I feel comfortable using the word God to refer to what others may feel more comfortable referring to as spirit, universe, goddess, and so on. I value these interpretations.

Perhaps, if we are lucky, at the end of our lives we will have travelled to our edges enough times to have received what feels like God’s gift to us – deep understanding. To have lived the art that moves us into states of joy, love, ecstasy, as well as sorrow, fear, hate, and pain. To have cared deeply, to have seen deeply, felt deeply, to have invited it all in with each inhale. And then, allow its leave when the moment or season passes.

But rarely do we reflect so profoundly or poetically when we’re in the thick of what hurts. We’re too stuck in the interstitial breath of the moment to appreciate what cosmic but very human forging is happening to us. I know I don’t reach for vetiver right off when an event incites my body and voice’s urge to fight for what I perceive is my protection or the protection of my child. Old wounds revisited. I’m experiencing. It’s only after the fact that I have the mind to do this.

It seems it’s only after the heat of the moment when we have the mind to consider. To apologize. To course correct. To flee or anchor. To hold. To love. To forgive. To rest and breathe. And then we learn. We move on from that lesson when we’re ready.

And maybe we recognize our story is not so unlike the myths and fairy tales we’ve read. There are no new themes. We witness what our loved ones are living through and see the common thread of human experience connecting us. We listen to them. Meet them for a walk. Offer hugs. Bring them flowers and food. Make them tea. A beautiful fragrance. We’re great at being for others what we most need to be for ourselves. But maybe that’s the gift God gives us when we are unable to meet ourselves with that much compassion. We are given friends and family who are able to meet us where we are because their story is not so different from our own.