Letter to myself about bedtime prayers and starting over

by erika

Hi My Dear,

That NY Times article about Anne Lamott and her “late life” wedding (Let me tell you, 65 is kid stuff from here) really made an impression on you. Most profoundly, that tiny end note about her perfect prayers “Whatever,”(for mornings)  and “Oh Well” (for bedtime). You’re so funny–I love how you didn’t even read/need the prayers, just their titles, in order to start practicing their medicine in your body. The nighttime prayer has really worked its magic on you these last 50 years. 50 years of Oh Well can do a lot for a girl! You are so much more forgiving of yourself and your fellow humans. This sweet mantra has not been an “Oh Well, I should just give up,” but an “Oh Well, I should just give in.” And I don’t mean give in as in admit defeat, I mean follow those actual instructions–Give in to yourself. To your needy, wanty, grocery store-checkout aisle temper tantrum heart–the heart that is hungry and thirsty beyond what food and drink can quiet. Give in to yourself the good stuff. The high calorie lovin’. The full fat forgiveness. Feed the well of your Oh Well with your so much enoughness that your soul/spirit/inner bear totem stops rumbling for you to do better. You did what you could. Maybe you can do better tomorrow. Maybe not. It’s sure worth staying curious about. So don’t go to bed angry, sending that part of you who said that thing by the copier or in that text or in your head to the couch. Oh Well-come her under the covers. Tuck her in extra tight. Maybe even sing her that Suzanne Vega song you used to sing your boy…”And do not ever look for me, cause with me you will stay, and you will hear yourself in song, floating by one day.” Then wake her ass up tomorrow, pack her a good lunch, and “Whatever” her way through the day.

You really like being a human, even when you can’t dance as much as you used to. Don’t worry–you have mastered the low impact soft shuffle and found lightness and indirection in a way that makes your moves rise like vapor. Folks still ask, even from this chair, if I used to dance. “I am dancing,” I say and smile.

Go get ’em, kitten.

Love always,

95 and a half year old Erika