first things first, you are allowed to want more

first things first, before you stand in front of the open window hoping to be seen by the God whose name you have carved on your wrist, or perhaps you don’t have one, a God that is, in which case i hope you won’t stop reading my words—please stay for a few word-strings more, because this might be important, a brassy key with which to open an old locked door, and if you have lived a life that has taken you to a field of disappointments, then keys that work and doors that open, become fewer and fewer, and maybe you too, have the voices-that-like-to-hold-you-in-check, and they are so stubborn, these voices, and so persistent, with their ‘oh, how you think you are better than us’, and ‘oh, you need to learn your place in life’, and they usually sound like real people, like bodies with a name and a presence, and they might be a memory, but they might also still be alive and breathing, and so it is the most difficult thing in the world to ignore a voice that still lives in its very own body, but who also still lives inside your head, and so here it is, what i want to give to you: first things first, this is what the woman realised whilst waiting for her God to speak to her through an angel, or a bird, or anything really, she was that desperate, she was that hungry, and perhaps you know this too, perhaps you are also stretched membrane thin, but then again perhaps you are full and your boundary lines are drawn in secure places and your God always shows up at the door with kindness and working keys, and things just never run out, but maybe not, maybe just like the woman-in-front-of-the-window you are also tired and left wondering why it is like living your life wandering through a swamp, and the mud sucks at your feet and it is difficult to move any which way, never mind forward, and you have to keep an eye out for things with teeth that would happily eat you for breakfast, and there are days that the light just doesn’t reach through the vegetation, but let me tell you this: you are allowed to want more, you are allowed to want more, you are allowed to want more than you have been given, because there are holy books filled with stories of ordinary people who wanted more, and this is where we should peek over the wall, but also, you should know this: there are stories of people who just couldn’t believe for more anymore because of the depth of their disappointment, and sometimes it is easier for them to pick the feathers off the wings of those who still feel the breeze, who still want to climb right into the heart of the sky and fly, it is easier to say, ‘oh, you need to learn your place in life’ and ‘who do you think you are to want what you want’, but listen to me! there is an old story of a wedding and the wine that started running out, and the shame that would fall on that new bridegroom’s life was a wet, breathing thing, and a woman, a mother, not his mother, and this is important, because you too might be a soft body like this for a stranger, this woman-who-saw-things knew that this man, this other mother’s child, she knew that he didn’t even realise what was about to happen to his life, and shame is a thing that sticks, but she was shown, and this is important—she knew where to go for help, she knew whom to go to, and also all of this was happening away from that young man’s newly-married eyes, and this is also important—the woman knew that it was ok to ask for more on behalf of someone else, even for this young manling with stars in his eyes, this soft body who was not hers, and so she did, she dared to ask for more, she asked because she knew it was ok to want this very ordinary thing: for the joy of another soft mammal to not run out right there in that ordinary diaphanous moment, isn’t that a wonder, this geography of kindness happening behind the scenes, and us being privy to it through an old story, and us being given the first layer of the story, and being allowed to peek behind the curtain of it, and know that it isn’t really about the wedding, or the wine running out, but that we are allowed to want things to go well, that we are allowed to want for something better, and that we might ask for this without shame, and then there is another story of a woman who was so hungry for things she had only every heard of, she asked for the scraps that were about to be given to the dogs, and when she met resistance, she kept going, because she knew that the leftovers, the crumbs were actually so much more than what they looked like, and this is also important, she knew to not stop asking, she knew to keep going, and someone was amazed at this act of courage, and what she asked for, she was given, and everywhere you look for them, you will see small stories unfolding around you, reminding you that it is ok to WANT more, but first things first, there is a beginning, and this is where you should start, because it is the most important part, this is the small key that i want to put into your hand today, this is where you must begin, knowing that it is ok to want what you so hope for for your life, remembering that disappointment makes it easier to fold into yourself, sometimes we curl inward to protect the wound, and hoping for more seems like an impossible thing, a courage-skin that we have to keep pulling over our heads, and sometimes it takes the knowing body of another to see what they have been shown, and to bring us this courage-skin, or perhaps to take it to their God, saying, ‘listen, there is a soft body of another mammal that is about to encounter a thing-they-might-have-to-recover-from and i know that it is ok to want more, so please, help?’ listen. do this, when you stand in front of your window, even as you struggle to pull courage over your shoulders, open your hands first, say please and thank you, then—open a door so things can come and go, then you begin, then you ask. the rest? the way the story will unfold? you can’t control that, but first things first, know that it is ok to want things to look different. for things to breathe with joy. start there. already it is sacred ground.

© Liezel Graham 2023

{image by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash}

a wee bit of a long read today, but i am sending it out with love and the hope that it finds a home with someone, especially that might become a different voice, one that speaks with a kinder, more insistent presence, that you are allowed to want more, that this is where you have to begin, by opening the doors and windows so that things can come and go.