Day of Rest

mock orange, peeking through the fence

For the past two days, I have been listening repeatedly to Jason Mraz’s song I Won’t Give Up. It’s like a love letter to yourself, to the world. I love the lyrics, the message. This morning, I imagined my higher self singing to the self that is on the ground, the one that struggles and suffers, the one so confused, still smashing herself to bits, and tears streamed down my face. There is so much love, so much courage in that promise, “I won’t give up.”

Often, in our confusion and fear, we cling to hope. This can temporarily make us feel better, but it still is a wish for things to be different, pretending that if we could just be somewhere else, if things were only something other than they are, everything would be okay. This is so tempting when things are bad, hard, scary. And yet, it is just a further denial of the present moment, and without that, we are nowhere.

In the past, I’ve let hope take me away to a safe, happy place, only to later discover that it robbed me of the present, took from me the opportunity to say “fiercely loving and bravely tender things,” say goodbye, look in her eyes and tell her to her precious face how much I loved her, say I’m sorry, things that now I will never get the chance to.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that the opposite of hope is hopelessness. I think that rather than fear or hope, which both make us run and hide from reality, make us believe in something that we can’t know for sure, there is love, right here and now, for certain and for real.

I won’t give up, “Even if the skies get rough, I’m giving you all my love.” This is a promise to stay, to stick around, heart open, no matter what. That has power. I will stand my ground, be here with you, come hell or high water.

How many of us have been able to do that for ourselves? Not me. I’ve abandoned myself, over and over. I judge and reject those parts of me that I consider weak, shameful, problematic, unworthy. Just last night, I got an order of tshirts from Cafe Press, and when I tried one on that didn’t work, I automatically blamed my body. The shirt didn’t fit, didn’t look good, and somehow that was my body’s fault. This kind of rejection, abandoning of pieces and parts, makes it impossible to be whole.

But you know what? I won’t give up.

I won’t give up.

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
Still looking up.

I won’t give up on us (no I’m not giving up)
God knows I’m tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We’ve got a lot to learn (we’re alive, we are loved)
God knows we’re worth it (and we’re worth it)

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

5 thoughts on “Day of Rest

  1. Erica Staab

    Absolutely love this… I loved that when I was reading I was softly singing the song the back of my mind, and I love the idea that perhaps it is a love song to the soul… and I am intrigued by the idea of hope taking us away from the moment… and I think you are so right about that… so thank you for the food for thought… [I feel a journal entry coming on soon :)]

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I struggled so much with the idea of hope being as problematic as fear when I first heard it (in a Pema Chödrön book), but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. The act of grasping, clinging isn’t ultimately helpful, even if what we are hanging on to is “good.”

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I know, right? I have been thinking about this more and more, how my basic goodness, my innate wisdom and compassion, that higher self, so much smarter than the animal body, is speaking to me all the time, trying to help me, if only I would listen–which requires that I slow down, be quiet, get still, and open my heart to it. There’s a Walt Whitman quote that feels to me like an explanation of how I feel in the moments I connect with it, “I am larger, better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.”

      1. Stephanie at Visible and Real

        That’s a wonderful quote! Thank you for sharing it.

        I also think that the great thing is that as we settle and listen (when I’m able to do so), that intelligence is so much richer and fuller than what we usually understand intelligence to be. The world is so much more vivid and moving.

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