I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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I will be forever thankful for Brian Doyle’s writing. Although I identify as a non-practicing Catholic, I, too, know the Mother and yet I, too, know nothing of Whom I speak. And I, too, know that I am one of the billions of the clan of the consoled.
Twenty-two years ago I had an experience similar to the one Brian Doyle describes in his essay “Let It Go” [Dog-Eared Page, January 2019]. I was a single mother working ten-hour days who had just given birth to a son. The baby was not sleeping well, and I was “at the very end of my rope,” as Doyle describes.
I was trying to rest one day when I heard a voice say, “Helen, this is Mary.” At first I was startled. But the voice continued to talk to me in soothing words, the gist of which was that everything was going to be all right.
I am not Catholic or even religious. And I have not told many people of my experience for fear of being judged. But it did happen. I wish Doyle were alive so I could talk to him.