Building Kinder

I am not the only one with unbearably big plans. Charles François Ribart, an engineer, proposed a gargantuan fountain in the shape of an elephant be erected in the park on the Champs Elysees in Paris. It was to be in honor of King Louis XV.Sectional views inside the elephant reveal a ballroom, bedrooms, and a dining room decorated as a forest.

I drove home in a quiet car with a good friend last night. Amy is the kind of person that makes you calmer by proximity. I love her and hope I always know her. She also happens to be a much better writer than me, so I am perpetually jealous of her.

It should be complicated, but I just love her too much for that.

(Did I mention I love her?)

We talked while we passed through the night at 65 miles per hour. She let me cry and worry about the same things she has let me worry about before.

” I don’t know where to put my time. I feel like a kid building with Legos. I want to build something like the Lego palace in the toy commercials. You know, a 12 bedroom, 10 bath affair. So I build a little here, a little there, rarely in the same place and almost never with the same plans . My scattered constructions never get higher. And I am left with all these pathetic Lego huts. The kind of thing you stub your toe on before throwing the blocks back into the toy box.” (Yes, when trying to put my life’s problems into a metaphor I naturally gravitate towards Legos. What can I say? I am an incredibly classy and deep lady.)

And then she said all the things someone like me needs to hear.  She told me we need to be gentle with ourselves. That perhaps the business of palace building includes too much pressure. And that maybe, just maybe I undervalue the progress I have made.

She said what I needed to hear, Amy has a way of doing that. But she did something else, something I needed so much more. She sat with me, listened with me, mourned with me, hoped with me. For the space of a few moments she took my problems up and made them lighter.

When I left that car and that ride home, I felt renewed. Being truly listened to by a good friend can do that. And, tonight at least, I am able to see my imperfect attempts at building perfection with a little more clarity. Yes, there have been stairways that go nowhere and unexpected demolitions. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I ever pulled the right permits.

But I am building and, right now, I think that is all that matters.



7 Comments


  1. The way you feel about Amy’s writing? That’s how I feel about yours.
    I agree with Amy, but I know it’s sometimes so hard to due. (Stupid Satan! Filling our minds with doubt.) I don’t know Amy well, but she seems to have this air of wisdom about her. We should all listen to her, I think.

    • Yes, Jewels, you should all listen to me! (I wonder if I could get a plaque for my house…?)

      And they way Meg feels about my writing? That’s also how I feel about hers.

  2. Oh, Meg, you’re such a light. I’m so thankful we could talk and cry last night. And so impressed you already wrote about it. :) You ARE doing so much, and so very, very well. Thank you, friend, for loving me. What a gift to me.

    And remember, I could share those things so wisely because they’re the things I need to hear, too. We are all in progress! Here’s to more gentleness!

  3. The inner critic will never relent, that’s for sure, and there’s nothing like a good reality check from a friend! I thought it might help you to know that I enjoy your writing and your perspective. I was introduced to you by…hmmm, I forget which blogger it was…but she interviewed you on her blog recently and I loved your answers! I’m enjoying your posts. I like this phrase today: “my imperfect attempts to build perfection”. I can relate!

  4. I think we could all be more gentle with ourselves. I Love both of you!

  5. Oh, I know these feelings well, Meg. Sometimes, though, you’re so close to that thing you’re building, putting one brick up at a time, that you forget to step back and see that your hut has already turned into a home. Our impatience with ourselves is unnecessary because everything we’re doing is part of the plan. They’re things we’ll look back on and value. Including these moments that allow us to understand the true strength of our relationships. xo

  6. I love Amy, I love her a million. And I love you, too, also a million. Can’t wait to be together again on Thursday.

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