On a Sunday morning in 2011 I found myself trying to convince my then 9 year old son to sit still and listen in church. The conversation was as routine as our attendance, and like most, it was recorded in a journal I kept in my purse. I wrote him this letter:
“Listening is opening your mind up to becoming a new, wiser, more loving person. I wonder what gift you will receive today, this morning, listening.”
He proceeded to carefully draw the image on the cover of the album with the words “The Trying Mark” titled above it. Then he wrote this:
I can’t care about it. (insert small version of trying mark here)*
For two years I have had this confessional symbol before me as a kind of totem that returns my wandering energies toward center. The fear and frustration of “I can’t do my longing justice and feed my children” is somehow compassionately softened by the trying anyway at both, each day. As I have meditated on the symbol, words like “enough” and phrases like “I don’t know” steady me, redirecting my attention to that mystery within which I live and move and have my being. The songs in this collection point to that unknown country the trying marks.
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