Friday, September 25, 2015

Kneeling Before I can Stand

Luke 5:12-26 contains a verse in which Jesus asks the Pharisees, "Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk?'"  I'm not doing exegesis on this line of scripture.  I'm just clutching it to me.  People go all squirrely when you try to talk about sin.  They always have.  Even back when Jesus walked the earth in his mortal body, people believed that any disability was sent straight from God as a punishment.  Modern  Christians fall all over ourselves to cast God in a different light.  God is merciful, we say, God is loving and kind.  I know that.  Today I am aware that as far as my suffering goes, it is bound in equal parts to my genetics and to my sin and that is why The answer to Jesus' above question for me is that to say either thing is damn hard. I can't get on my feet again until I get down on my knees and truly amend the behavior that disabled me in the first place.  (Seminarians and all other would-be pastors, take note:  The following self examination must not be attempted in pastoral settings.  The sinner, suffering from the consequences of her or his sin is the only person who should be permitted to analyze the connection between their own actions and their suffering.  Don't hope to shortcut that process by saying "You suffer because you sin," The penitent has to come to it in a circle of love that you hold around her.)

I wrote the paragraph above almost six months ago.  I didn't know what my future held, but I could see well enough into my past to recognize some toxic patterns. I spent the spring and summer caring for myself more lovingly and more thoroughly than I ever have in my life. It made for a pleasant summer for me and the whole family. And I got better. I slowly weaned myself off methylprednizolone  - a nasty steroid that seems to work by sucking all the inflammation out of your joints and sending it to your face.  I exercised gently and faithfully. I slept.  I ate right.  I lost weight. Every now and then I would push beyond what I knew was sensible and sure enough, there was the pain and the fatigue waiting for me right where I strayed from my careful routine.  I felt stronger.  I agreed to go back to teaching half time. I packed up my classroom and moved to a little desk in another teacher's room.  I gave up world history and kept English. I wrote encouraging notes to myself all through my planner, chose the books we would read and thought I had prepared myself as best I could.

When my own kids went back to school, so did I. I thought I was ready.  I stuck to my schedule for exercise and rest. I slept.  I was cautious.  But I hadn't factored in one variable of the equation. An element with enough power to skew all my painstaking planning and draw me dangerously out of my careful self care: Children's faces. I had forgotten what they do to me.  One looks confused and I want to move heaven and earth so she understands.  One seems to be daydreaming and I want to engage him.  One smiles appreciatively from the back and I want to sommersault.

Children!You are marvelous! There is hope in you. There are talents untapped and loveliness entirely unimagined. There is still time for you to appreciate yourselves and each other before the hardness of the world wraps you tight! Believe me when I say I can see you and that you are beautiful... Believe me when I say you can learn and grow. Listen and I will tell you stories and give you poems to read and build you up.  Here is paper! Write! Here is music, dance! If only you will feel your feelings and put them into words! If you only knew that you are lovable, you would not doubt yourselves the way I did when I was young! Or hurt. Or cry... I would do anything to keep you from it! And there it is: My "sin."

"Sin" or brokenness or whatever you want to call it.  Why, for me, must love morph into an imagined rescue? Is it because I wished as a child for rescues that didn't come?  Or because I feel I am not valuable unless I am playing the hero to someone?  In the paragraph I wrote six months ago I spoke of behaviors that disabled me.  And to be sure, I did too much until I got sick.  I worked too hard and slept too little.  All that was true.  I poured myself out into my classroom and brought a shell home at night and put it to bed. But it wasn't what I did that made me sick.  It was the belief that lay beneath all those doings that did me in. I believed that being a hero to each one of those children was my job. Pride made unholy love to Fear and spawned my work ethic:  I care about these children more than anyone else does!  If I don't show them love, who will?

Ugly realization! Dragged out of the fog of my unconscious into the light of language it's hard to look at. I'm embarrassed to admit this belief has been living and thriving inside my own a bot fly larva growing fat on my blood. But there it is and I have to admit it and begin to change this belief because I have begun to hurt myself again...intoxicated by the trust my students place in me, I have begun to stay too long at school.  Busy myself needlessly.  Volunteer for things I don't need to do. It has to stop.  I have to stop.  I am not these children's champion.  I am their English teacher.  That has to be enough. God is going to have to take care of the rest for them. Meanwhile, I'll stand up and walk. Ugly as it is, this sin, too, is forgiven.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Face Palm Sunday: A Reflection

I thought I was going to live my life and die old in Alaska.  I had grown accustomed to her mood swings.  The Taku winds were exciting, her punishing winters built character. Mountains of snow provided my kids with the opportunity to ski and me with an excuse to spend hours knitting and quilting.  They weren't hobbies in Alaska, they were survival skills.  Summers, by contrast, were blindingly manic celebrations replete with giant cabbages and midnight water skiing on Harding Lake.  Wilderness.  Stars.  Northern light. That was my plan.

Being chronically ill wasn't part of my plan.  And now, in Southern California when the temperature drops from 70 to 60 and my rheumatoid  joints cry out I wonder how I would have managed in wet Juneau, or the cold interior.  There appears to be some providence in that. And how is it that I fall miserably ill with fibromyalgia down the street from the only multi-disciplinary treatment program for that disease in the country?  I am aware of blessings on all sides.

Let me be clear: The God I worship is a personal God, not a personal assistant.  She does not open her day planner and page ahead, see that she has scheduled me for a Fibro diagnosis in 2014 and move me next door to the Casa Colina Rehabilitation Centers in 2012 as a prophylactic measure.  I don't pretend to know how providence works.  That isn't my job.  My job is to notice it, name it and give thanks for it.  And boy, do I.

But even when I am surrounded by God's generous care for me, such is my nature that I can still respond like a selfish brat.  The Casa Colina program began and following the guidelines they gave me, I started to feel better.  Gentle, regular exercise, nutritional changes, paying attention to "sleep hygiene" and education about the physiological and psychological cycles of pain all worked together for my good.  So what did I do?  I gathered up all my recovered energy and ran off with it.  For two weeks I jumped all over my carefully reconstructed life like a muddy dog.  I moved furniture around the house, spot-cleaned the carpet.  Took my girls shopping for shoes, drove the boys to practices and sat for hours on metal and concrete bleachers cheering them on. I cooked for the family. I had meetings with the kids teachers and job hunted and did every fool thing I hadn't been able to do for a year.  Funny thing:  When you have a chronic illness and you live as if there's no tomorrow, there often isn't one.  I binged on activity and then I crashed.

Naturally it coincided perfectly with the liturgical calendar.  On Palm Sunday morning I was determined , despite several days of waxing pain and waning energy, that I would get to sit in a pew with my children in church (another thing I hadn't been able to do since last Summer). I got dressed, and got us all to church, but as George blessed the palms for the procession  I crumbled inside. I realized that I was right back where I had started.  I felt the way I had in my classroom right before my medical leave began.  I had to go home.   I got back into bed.  Just like the Palm Sunday liturgy, I started out flying and ended up cringing, afraid of tomorrow, mortified that I had blown my only hope of recovery.  I cursed my stupidity.  I cried.

Holy week for me has been about creeping back out from under my shame and disappointment. Humility, who trailed behind me in my manic days now coaxes me gently out from under my covers. This walk is as much about obedience as it is about regaining independence.  Like people who work 12 step programs, I am aware that for all my efforts I get only a daily reprieve from my pain and fatigue.  Each day I must build my health anew. Eating, sleeping, exercising, praying (see how I avoided the title of that book, just now?) brings me a single day of relief.  Then I do it again, and again.

I see now that I have not entered a period of recuperation, but a lifetime of it. All this care and self pacing is how I live now.  I don't ride the pendulum anymore.  I wind the clock; not too tightly, just enough to keep things moving for the next 24 hours. I need to construct a perfect balance. It is both essential and impossible.

Which brings us to the Triduum.  These three days are about how God gives us, the fallen, what we absolutely need but cannot procure for ourselves.  In a word, Grace.  It is a word that encompasses my utter dependence on a power greater than myself to do for me what I cannot do for myself.  My illness brings me pressingly, painfully again to this realization. Without God's very breath in my lungs, without God's very name on my lips, I am nothing.  My precious autonomy leaves me in shreds. Only in Christ am I whole.

I wish you all Grace and Peace.  I pray that your journey to Easter brings you closer to the source of all life and the death of all sin. You pray the same for me, too, please. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Don't Just Stand There

Our last daughter is a model of even-tempered self-sufficiency. She could thread a needle at the age of 3.  Now almost 12 she makes a better omelette than I do. She completes her homework on her own and spurns input on fashion, books, music.  She knows what she likes and what she wants and excels at getting it for herself, thanks.  Every now and then she requires help.  And since it is so rare, and since we, her parents, are always trying to be helpful and having to be put in our places, when she actually needs something, she is rightfully baffled at any hesitancy on our part.  Is this not, after all, what we have been badgering her about? If we so desire to assist her, why should we not be quick about it when the opportunity is offered to us?  Yesterday morning such a golden chance was offered by The Daughter Herself to George, who was supposed to fetch her a pair of the tiny socks she likes to wear.  I think he was shocked and momentarily stunned.  He was having a processing moment, as though the words from her mouth could not possibly have meant what he thought they did.  She regarded him skeptically for a moment, and then, entirely without pique she prompted, "Well don't just stand there."

"Don't just stand there" has become my clarion call. I felt better last week, so naturally, I avoided this blog.  Why?  Because that is my pattern.  Get a little better, revert to old habits. When the pain subsided to the point where I was aware of discreet aches as opposed to a nauseating all-over agony, I was so grateful I forgot my mission.  This leave from work, this dietary makeover, this pharmaceutical offensive are all about my quest for wellness.  It has been so long since I felt well, I confuse relief with remission.  I lost my way.  I was just standing there.

My approach to my disease(es) reminds me of my pursuit of emotional sobriety.  When I quit drinking alcohol, I was one of the lucky ones who didn't start up again.  But my emotional life without alcohol in my body was just as turbulent as it had been when tossed on a sea of gin. Surrendering my will and my life to the care of God turned out to be a lot harder than I expected it to be.  I would pray and humble myself (a must for a massive alcoholic ego) and the next day I'd feel a little less crazy. I didn't understand that the daily reprieve from the tempest in my mind depended on asking a power greater than myself to calm the sea...and then actively refraining from stirring it all up again.  I get a little relief from pain and I confuse it with remission.

Managing fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and anything else, for that matter, is going to require the same kind of surrender that getting sober did.  It is going to require prayerful action and intentional, honest vulnerability.  It is not something I can do on my own, but rather something I must actively allow The One who loves me to do for me.  There is considerable leg work required to allow the healing I desire in my body.  I don't have the power to make myself well.  But I for damn sure have the power to make myself sicker.  I am not going to to that any more. Writing is part of being open to the healing God makes available to me through the ones who love me. Rest is the work I must now undertake.  Prayer is my preparation.  Close attention to what I eat and how I use the energy food gives me is a matter of urgency.

Whatever I do, I can't just stand there.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pain Killer

Today's Gospel reading from the Daily Office is John 4:1-26.  It's the story of how Jesus ends up talking to a woman at a well.  He wants a drink. She just can't make sense of what he is doing there. What ensues is a conversation in which she ticks off all the things that should divide them:  You don't have a bucket, what are you doing at this well? You aren't from around here.  Your people always badmouth my people anyway. You guys don't worship like we do. I'm a woman alone, you're a man alone, we shouldn't even be talking.  She keeps expecting him to dismiss her at every moment.  He never does.  He has an answer for everything and ultimately, ends up revealing himself to her. There is a lot of beautiful water imagery in the passage, "The water that I give will become a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."

I feel like that woman in my current state.  This illness should be separating me from everything and everyone.  Instead, I am driven to write about it, to reach out.  We can talk about the weird neuroses that probably betrays within me when I get better.  For now, my words are the only thing I can find that even partially contain the pain, and yours are the only salve that work night after night.

Last night was pretty bad again.  I can't make sense of it. I took the melatonin.  I took the anti inflammatory the rheumatologist gave me  - you know, instead of a pain killer. But there it was again, the burning, slicing all-over pain I've come to know and dread. Not as bad as The Worst Day of My Life, but not much better. Sleep seemed like a distant thing - something healthy people do when its dark.  I was determined not to keep my poor husband up all night again.  It was excruciating to get out of the bed and down the stairs.  I found the kitchen in the kind of desperate disarray you can imagine in a sick house ... dirty dishes everywhere, remnants of the meal people from church brought us sitting on the counter. Moving in slow motion, I cleaned the kitchen. It took four times longer than it would have taken me when I was well.  Every movement cost me. I don't know when I began to feel less awful.  I climbed the stairs, dizzy and sore.

And then, you all were there with me.  I lay down and meditated on the warm wishes and words of comfort you have offered me.  I envisioned the words of your prayers hanging in the air, each letter of each word a glistening drop of silver mist.  I breathed them in. The mist dissolved the pain bit by bit. Sleep came. A couple of times.

Let me be clear, I fear and resent this pain.  But I do begin to see it is leading me to something I might never have found without it.  I'm not ready to say what, but I admit to being curious. We talk about pain as the enemy.  We want to escape it, kill it.  But in the context of the "living water that gushes up to eternal life" the adversarial language strikes a sour note. I don't know what is going to happen to me when I lie down to sleep in a few minutes.  I do know that if the pain comes back, the only way out of it will be through it.

By the grace of God, I might be able to festoon the idea of your prayers around me again...glistening droplets of the water of life.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wade in the Water

Yesterday was the worst day of my life.  People who know me well can pause and let that sink in. And today is better.  So much better.  No wonder today feels like Easter Sunday.  Naturally, today would not feel terrific if I didn't have yesterday to compare it with, which is the first of the gifts that that painful flare-within-a-flare brought to me.  The second is this:  Never again will I doubt that I have a serious disease.  Fibro is tricky because it leaves no visible mark.  I may feel as though I have been crushed by the treads of a caterpillar tractor, yet I sport no bruise.  I know there are microscopic demons armed with razor swords hacking paths from my bone marrow through nerve and flesh to the daylight on my skin, but they never break the surface.  Not a drop of blood is ever spilled.  People with fibro don't look sick.  I, for one, always felt like a whiner. As a result I felt guilty on good days at work.  Having asked for easier recess duties at school, I felt I owed my colleagues an apology on the days I could have made it out to the field to watch the kids play.  Sometimes I would be fooled by my own self denial into thinking the generalized non-specific muscle pain of fibro was just "in my head."  Never again.  Yesterday the cruel and awful power of this disease washed over me hour after hour.  I will never doubt it, or myself, again and I will pursue every avenue of relief available to me, even if it means taking care of myself.  (Oh!  The Horror!)

Today I am better and there are reasons for that:

1) Your prayers.  I know you were praying primarily because you told me you were.  I can't tell you how your messages of love and support uplifted me.  Some of you told stories from your own lives that really belong in the comments section of this blog because this isn't just my story, it is ours together. Think about it.

2) Sleep. I decided to stop reading about melatonin and take it.  I slept.  After a year of being up six or seven times a night, it was a real pleasure, better than any massage or spa treatment I ever had. Apparently interrupted sleep is one of the things that keeps fibromyalgia sufferers locked into the pain cycle that plagues us.  Clearly sleeping is a way out of it.

3) The Water. 
Casa Colina is the rehab place down the street from me that has the country's only multi-disciplinary Fibromyalgia management program.  The only one in the country.  Down the street from me. One of the services they provide involves exercising gently in their 95 Degree salt water pool.  I was scheduled to do just that yesterday morning at 9.  Naturally I contacted the physical therapist to tell her there was no way I could make it and she surprised me by urging me to come anyway.  It made no sense. I could tell she knew my pain level because she offered a wheelchair and encouraged me to shower at home afterwards. But, seriously, did she know what she was asking?! I was so desperate I crept to the car, clinging to my husband (who had stayed home from work because I was in such pain) and similarly crept to the pool.  When I got there, the physical therapist, who calls herself Diane Whiting, M.A., P.T. but who, in reality, is an angel in a swim suit set me up with some stabilizing swim noodles and let me hang in the water at the deep end of the pool.  I cried the whole time, salt water dropping tear by tear into salt water. I was only there for 35 minutes and getting home was every bit as hard as getting there had been.  I took a quick shower, each drop of water feeling like a needle hitting my skin, and went back to bed.  Some time that afternoon, the agony began to lift.

Today's reading in the Daily Office includes this line from John, Chapter 3: "Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time with them there and baptized. John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there."  For me, in my abnormally shrunken world, this is clearly what I need to remember: If I want to get better, I have to be where the water is abundant.  I must seek the water at every level of my understanding.  There is the literal water of that salt pool down the street. There is the universal chemical element of water, H20, that all we earth dwellers need to live.  We need it clean and we need it free for everybody, not just for corporations powerful enough to hoard it for industry.  And We need the Water of Life, that outward and visible sign of the inward Spirit that binds us, one living thing to another.  

So, I will seek it. You come, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Moreso Theory

When I was working at Visiting Nurses and Hospice of San Francisco in 1986 and 1987 the AIDS nurses used to talk about something they dubbed "The Moreso Theory."  Everybody I knew who had AIDS back then is dead now, save one.  And the theory went pretty much that you die like you live, only more so.  If you are a fighter in life, you fight all the way to the end, getting more and more angry as the moment of transition approaches.  I witnessed some rough, and bitter passings.  If you are loving and gentle, you tend to go the same way, except you spread your grace onto everyone around you.  There was a big controversy among people in the AIDS community about the myth of the "beautiful death."  Not sure I ever saw one.  But some were profound for me.  Life changing. It's been a while since I meditated on those days.  Such loss...AIDS is why I became a priest.  But that's another story.

There is a new application of the Moreso theory this morning, and I feel like hiding it from you.  But so many of you have thanked me for my honesty, I can't start lying now. The truth is that today is the same as yesterday, only more so.  I am even more grateful for your companionship with me on this journey.  But I am also  in so, so much more pain right now than I have ever been.  Ever.  And here they are side by side.  I want to apologize to you.  I searched myself all night long about what I did wrong (hear that?  John Calvin Lives!!!).  Was it the bath?  The lunch out?  The MSG in the restaurant food?  I spent the night reasoning with myself: "Burning alive would hurt more than this. Being boiled alive would hurt more than this..." I so wanted your graciousness to get an instant payoff, declare myself healed by God's love, channeled through you and fast forward to the celebration liturgy!  I actually had a little chuckle right now.  My desire to arrange everything dies so hard! Somehow, being aware of my own abject silliness lightens my heart.

So, there it is.  Pain is real and undeserved.  Grace is real and undeserved.  Life is a gift.  Use it.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Isolation and Why it is So Stupid

You have changed my life in these past 48 hours. I am still wrapping my head around what has begun to happen to me.  In order to understand it, I had to reach back into my earliest history.  Please, bear with me, you play a really important role at the end:

I spent a lot of my childhood alone.  My parents were divorced and my mother was pretty self-contained.  I entertained myself. Most of my friends were imaginary and proved to be very open to my suggestion. I remember how jarring it was to play with real kids with ideas of their own. It took me years before the autonomy of others didn't feel like an affront. This is not very flattering, but it is true.  I also pretended I had a baby brother whom I instructed about the important things in life, like how to put on an undershirt.  When my father remarried I actually got a baby brother, but he didn't want to put on an undershirt.  In fact, by the time he was in 7th grade and was listening to death metal bands I despaired of our ever having the relationship I had imagined for us. He had completely hijacked my little brother fantasy. I decided to focus on my peers.

I was better at the relating to others thing by then, sort of. By the time I was in high school I had learned that responding to someone else's initiative could be fun.  When it wasn't, instead of getting angry that others didn't do as I wished, I got sad. I was diagnosed with chronic depression as a young adult, and have struggled with it off and on, but part of me still wonders if my bouts of despair weren't just reactions to the world's refusal to operate according to my design....

Solitude always accompanied my lowest times. It is typical to withdraw from society when in any kind of pain, emotional or otherwise.  I remember likening it to sitting at the bottom of a cavernous grave. To even speak to someone up in the daylight required the psychic equivalent of scrambling up the crumbling earthen wall. The only way I could stay engaged was to clutch at the grass for a few minutes before allowing myself to fall gratefully back down into isolated oblivion.  It didn't seem worth the effort just to exchange a few words.  At least in the darkness, I was in charge.

12 Step programs taught me to laugh at my need for control, as did precious friends in seminary.  A man who has been like a brother to me took to pointing out my faults with an arch humor I couldn't deflect.  In addition to serving as my "man of honor" at my wedding he has been present at all of the really important milestones of my life, including the birth of my first child, to whom he is Godfather. The loving observations of  my catty friend and some knowing laughter from my recovery companions healed me in so many ways.  Depression came and went, but each time I escaped the pit, it filled in, somehow, became shallower.

One of the things that has amazed me about the past year is that while I have been in physical pain, I have not been depressed.  Part of that comes from having been properly medicated for the past several years, but that hasn't always been enough.  The truth is I adored my job teaching, loved my colleagues, and was pleased that my own children seemed to be finding their way.  My husband has been stalwart and supportive throughout my illness and my prayer life has been active.  All this has been enough to keep the demon of despair at bay.  But all these blessings haven't prevented me from isolating.  

For the past year I have worked and I have slept. I love teaching.  It gives me energy when kids discover their own voices, realize they have opinions, stumble on something in a book that mirrors their experience. To me the most beautiful sound in the world is that sighing "Ohhhhh!" they make when something that didn't make sense a moment ago suddenly does.  I admit that I love being the one who precipitates that beautiful exhalation.  But by the end of the school day, even during summer school,  I was utterly spent. I spent weekends in bed, not even able to get up for church.Granted, it could be argued that the pain drove me to bed the very moment I got home and fitful sleep seemed like the best refuge from it. But I think something darker was driving it.  

When I was in the classroom, I had a modicum of control.  Sure, my students were full of life and independent energy but like my imaginary friends all those years ago, they were open to my direction. Outside the classroom, I was forced to operate in environments I had not prepared.  I hadn't planned the lesson and nobody was relying on me for a grade.  Sure I was experiencing fatigue.  But I was also chafing against my own powerlessness.  Even now, after all these years and all the intentional surrenderings I have made to God, when the chips are down, I have no energy for the initiative of others, much less God.

Isolation is static. If something in life is unpleasant, isolation is an excellent method of insuring nothing changes.  If nothing, if no one breaks in, I really am entombed in my own body.  

This blog started because my baby brother called me. (He didn't turn into the degenerate I was sure he would, In fact, he grew up to be a journalist and married one of the most gracious, enterprising and beautiful women I've ever seen. He is a producer on NPR's Morning Edition with three sons of his own, now.  It is humbling to admit it, but I don't think I am really cool enough to be his friend.  It's lucky we are related.....)  He, like many of you, was alarmed by my post about saying goodbye to my students and decided to check in on me.  On his birthday.  He urged me to make something of the situation I find myself in.

"There's a lot you can do from your bed..." he told me. "Why don't you blog about this?"  A quick message to my "man of honor" netted me a wealth of suggestions about the practicalities of how to start a blog (and a few delicious barbs: "Why don't you call your blog 'Smarty had a Party?'")

It made sense to write.  I have no control over how I feel, but I have the words to describe it.  It made me feel better to see it could be expressed with language.  I knew it wasn't control, but I had a voice. Just being willing to claw my way up to the surface and write a few lines about how I was feeling really did bring me some relief. 

Then I pressed "publish." 

Never in my life have I had representatives of every single phase of my life flock to my aid as you have in the hours since my first post.  Friends from early childhood, now grown, and colleagues from all the schools I have ever taught at contacted me and promised to read this blog.  You all, by reading my writing and responding to it, have given me an energy and sense of purpose that is as transformative as it was unexpected. So when a new California friend came to take me out to lunch today, I went!  She referred me to her chiropractor who had already urged her to tell me to investigate "The Anti-Inflammatory Diet." OK, truth be told, when lunch was over I was utterly wiped out and had to lie down.  Still the companionship continued to roll in wave after healing wave. 

A woman who had been the coolest senior in high school when I was a freshman witnessed to me over the phone about how she had conquered the very diseases I now suffer from with diet, natural medicines and exercise. Messages echoing this advice have poured in. There is hope in every letter of every post you have sent me.  I wish I could do justice to the healing work I sense that God has begun through all of you.

I still hurt.  And I am still in bed.  But thanks to you, I know I am not alone.  I have absolutely no idea where tomorrow will take me.  It is scary as hell.  And that is fine with me.

Because, you.