"As you may remember, we've been renovating our bathroom and, as we enter week four, we're finally at a stage where we are tiling. Our tiler is a lovely, congenial man and he is also in deep, deep grief. He lost his 28-year old son to a heroin overdose just four weeks ago and he comes to work at my house, because he doesn't know what else to do with himself. He doesn't know the future. He's not sure about the present. He's lost nis only son and his daily work companion -- his beloved boy and the young man he had hoped would take over the business one day.
"I hear him, trudging up and down my stairs, each step reminding him that his son is gone.
"'The steps are hard. I'm sixty years old, you know? And normally...' His voice catches in pain. "Well, normally my son would help with this part of the job..."
"'But it is what it is,' he says with finality, as he signs and turns back to his work.
"His grief is big and it fills my house. But it's okay, because this home is built with enough love and joy to hold space for his sorrow--for any sadness that comes into our lives in whatever form.
"Up and down the stairs he goes, each step a reminder of the love he has for a boy he lost and I send him peace. And I send his son peace. And I also send you peace, for whatever sorrow you may have today, big or small. This house is big enough to contain whatever is within you, too.
"I get in the elevator at work, and see CNN playing on mute in the little screen above the numbered floor buttons. They flash up a screen shot of a tweet: "Why does the media keep showing the young, pretty Hillary? They should show the old hag that she is today." (I don't remember this type of discussion ever going on about any male presidential candidate.)
"I read 'Girl in a Band,' Kim Gordon's new memoir about her time in the seminal experimental band Sonic Youth, and the book is threaded with asides about her appearance-related worries due to her being the only female in the band: Should she downplay her naturally good looks, try to look ugly and androgynous? Should she be sexier, to help 'sell' the band's inaccessible, dissonant sound? Should they put her front and center on the stage (they did), should they feature her prominently in band photos on their album covers (they didn't)? (None of the guy members of the band dealt with any of these concerns.)
"Just you try and tell me we no longer need feminism in our modern, enlightened Western world."