I was at the Dermatologist last week and was told that the bite on my leg that would not go away or stop itching was not from a tick and I didn’t have lime disease. But you never know what detritus the insect that bit me left behind and how the body reacts to it. Context told me what the word, detritus, meant but truth is it is not in my everyday vocabulary. This morning it popped up again on my ipad as I was reading this Danish mystery trying to get a sweat going on the elliptical machine. The inspector seeking to interview a person of interest in a long unsolved murder noticed all the detritus on the front lawn: an old and rusty bicycle; over worn lawn furniture; scraps of life now discarded and left to decay and be transformed. Of course the novel was written in Danish, so I guess it is the translator who chose the word.
Nevertheless, detritus is my new favorite word. Webster defines the word as loose material resulting from disintegration, especially organic; miscellaneous remnants. So I can think about the detritus of my physical being – all that dry skin just flaking off and floating into nowhere. (There is a dermatology theme going on here.) Or the detritus of my relationships – all those people who have sifted through my life and now are somewhere long out of sight (but not memory). Or the things I have done both positive and negative the effects of which are out there still rippling in the spiritual cosmos.
I believe that. Everything we do has consequences, some barely perceptible in the here and now, deeds and acts that change the very space we occupy and imperceptibly but assuredly modify what the future will look like. For most of us it is a subtle and delicate process. But I think how I interacted with the server at Cheesecake last night impacts both of us. I think my decision not to have the salted caramel cheesecake was a good one even beyond the calorie/cholesterol debate happening in my head. I think that the driver of the car I let get out of his clogged lane of traffic and into mine that was somewhat clear and would probably make the light will feel differently about himself and humanity in general at least for an instant. I think, well actually hope, that what I decide to write in this blog impacts some of you (me included) and transforms even if for a moment the way we look at the world and our place in it.
I think I should save this blog until closer to New Year’s but there is always something that is left over, unfinished, or unwrapped, laying out in the yard, patiently waiting for resolution. That is part and parcel of the message of this season: picking up the pieces, keeping your spiritual footprint pointed in the right direction, trailing blessings as you move through your day. It is the lights, the candles, the music, the parties, the presents, the stories, the preparation, the food, the friends and even family, and it is hope and it is faith. Hope that we can find a way towards healing this fractured world; faith that we can clean up the detritus of the past and move forward each of us owning what we have left behind.