the long way

June 4th, 2013

IMG_6002“Great words of inspiration. I really admire you for embracing your life as it is.”

She wrote it by hand in a card and then mailed it to the publisher named on the copyright page and then someone at the office tucked it into another envelope and mailed it to me and I opened it on Saturday evening when my husband handed me the day’s forgotten mail while I was sitting in the green chair in the living room, and what struck me was not the words, although they did make up in small part for the last jaw shattering one-star review on Amazon, “self-centered drivel, not worth my time.” No, it wasn’t what she said in the card with the picture of a yellow bird sitting on a blossoming branch, it was the faith and patience, the few minutes of time and trouble, the paper, the pen, the flowing stroke of the letters, the tenderness expended in doing a little something the long way and sending it straight into my heart.

I’m slowly gathering materials and supplies, robes, pillows, bells, things remembered and nearly missed, for a long drive north on Friday to sit with folks for two days in lightness and dark at the ocean’s edge. Honestly, I don’t much like this part. The packing and organizing, listing, thinking, all the thinking, the miles, the money, the time. But I do it. I do things the long way. Because when I finally get to that place in the room where the silence rolls in my heart fills with the fullness of peace and I come to rest on the good ground of forever.

The long way is the straight way to the human heart.

For anyone who ever wondered if I saved the card you sent. Yes, I saved it in a woven basket of forever.


  1. Karen–that was beautiful. Yes the long way seems to be what all of us who realize what we’re missing are seeking. Maybe a walk, seeing things and people. Hearing the birds. Enjoying the many colors of leaves coming from spring. In Japan, you probably know, there is a famous saying: “Spring comes and the grass grows by itself” It’s all there for us. Just to slow down, be with ourselves, and find it.

    Comment by Daniel — June 4, 2013 @ 9:29 am

  2. I love you. Simply. Truly.
    You always touch my heart.
    Thank you, over and over again.

    Comment by Katharine Weinmann — June 4, 2013 @ 9:44 am

  3. In lightness and dark. Yes, Maezen that’s where you are.
    Whoever gets a chance to sit with you will know that too.

    Comment by Roos — June 4, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  4. I remember so well the very public online “review” of a solo show on which I had worked so hard … a proclamation of “Meh” which cut right to my soul.

    There was no good reason to smart so badly. After all, he had no credentials to speak of, there was no obvious thoughtfulness or intellect behind his pronouncement … at least none he decided to share. I think it hurt so much because that seemed it’s purpose. Mission accomplished.

    If only we all took the time to acknowledge what inspires us, what gives us strength, then it would bring balance to those who so forcefully voice the malicious stuff. Instead, we have to call upon faith that what we do really matters.

    That said, you inspire me, Karen. Deepest thanks for your wisdom, your generosity of spirit and all the love that you share. It matters so much.

    Comment by Clare Kirkconnell — June 4, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  5. Sometimes the things you don’t say are just as important as the things you do say!

    Comment by Emma — June 4, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

  6. What is said and not said are of equal importance!

    Comment by Emma — June 4, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

  7. Oh Maezen, I soak up your words here through tears of recognition. Weathering my own first one-star review on Amazon (“stay away from this book!”), and even though I tell myself not to take it personally, it is the kindness of strangers, the steady presence of kindred spirits, the sentiments that arrive the long way, rather than the insults coming through the ether, that remind me that it’s love that matters, and all the rest is just noise. Beautiful.

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — June 4, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

  8. I do believe Katrina, we have entered a new low in degeneracy, or at least common decency, abetted by online anonymity. The really mean comments come from folks who say “I couldn’t even read past the first few pages . . . or I threw this in the trash.” They didn’t even read it and they are saying such things?! Then I click on their little Amazon identity and read their other reviews, which are just as nasty. Aha! So this is what they share with the world. A little window into the nature of suffering, which causes more suffering.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — June 4, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

  9. And as I get ready to close a day that thank God “was yesterday” I come to bathe my eyes and soak my soul in your beautiful words, and as a bonus, Katrina’s too. I am re reading Magical Journey, just returned by a friend, “all kindred souls are we”. Your books side by side on my shelf,and Margaret’s too. Thank you Karen!

    Comment by Daisy Marshall — June 4, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  10. On today’s “to do” list (on paper, in pencil)is a reminder to write two letters. Actual letters that will go into the mailbox. What a pleasure it is to receive such an exquisite relic, once a part of daily life, amidst the circulars, catalogs, credit card offers, etc.

    The act of putting pen to paper is practice itself. It is attention. What a lovely gift from a reader.

    Comment by Laura — June 5, 2013 @ 5:00 am

  11. Sometimes I postpone saying thank you, often for so long I forget all about it. Sometimes I think the thankee is so famous or busy, it wouldn’t matter to them anyway. This was such a good reminder to go ahead and do it. So thank you for that!

    Comment by Dawn Downey — June 5, 2013 @ 10:25 am

  12. […] was thinking about this reading a blog post from Karen Maezen Miller. I have two of her books, and I’m looking forward to the third that she is now working on. […]

    Pingback by Communication and kids: When is it worth all the effort? | Donn King's Corner — June 16, 2013 @ 9:09 am

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