Sometimes I forget.
Everywhere we turn, there are obstacles. Impediments. Blockades.
Progress is slow, or nonexistent. Sometimes it's actually regress.
Health problems. Financial problems. Family problems. Technical problems. Bureaucracy problems. All personal to us, but we know how much they afflict the larger community, too.
And a very disheartening set of spiritual problems, in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a beautiful young Black man for the crime of being Black.
Those problems, too, belong to the larger community.
Sometimes, I can't solve any of them.
Sometimes, I want to give up.
And then Spirit visits - often silently, fleetingly, like a kiss in the dark, a dream half-remembered - and suddenly, there is zhawenjigewin ("grace," sometimes expressed as "a blessing").
Ten days ago, I was visited by grace. In the form of a laptop sent to me by davidincleveland.
On the day the laptop arrived, I was trying to get something produced and out the door. Nothing was working. For two years, my old one's been plagued with freezes, hangs, crashes, and increasingly-frequent bluescreens.
On this day, it was a blackscreen. With a error message I'd never seen before. And it did it twice.
Finally, hours and untold amounts of frustration later, I got what I needed, got it finished, got it on its way.
And then turned to the box Wings had brought home from the post office.
I opened it up . . . and began to cry.
Inside lay a beautiful new laptop. Dark blue and silver upper casing; black lower casing and keyboard. Extended keyboard, with large, easily-readable keys. Unbelievably slim, and light as a feather. Gorgeous video quality. Fast.
And at the moment, one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.
Zhawenjigewin. In the form of a little electronic box, a mazinaabikiwebinigan, a computer (literally, "a waste can for inscribing things").
And I feel so blessed.
Not only because of the wear and tear on my nerves using my old laptop. Not only because the old laptop was my only means of maintaining Wings's Web site. And not only because that Web site, this time of year, is our only link to selling his art; the Pueblo won't re-open for at least another couple of weeks.
But because someone - apparently more than one someone - thinks my little scribblings here are important enough to give me the means to keep writing them. And that's a form of grace that can't be bought, borrowed, or stolen. It's miiniwewin, a gift.
And it's one I'll never be able to repay - not for what the way it's filled my heart.
But I can try. And besides paying back, I'll continue to pay forward, as well. Because every day, someone out there needs a little grace, a little blessing, a little zhawenjigewin. And the one thing I can promise this community is that I will always try to find a way to find that person, and give them what I can.
I know that besides davidincleveland, I owe huge thanks to Mnemosyne. (I'm given to understand that others were involved in this little plot, too, but I can't find a way to thank you personally if you don't tell me who you are!)
And for David, who I cannot thank enough, this is for you: