A rose in my daughter’s color of pink bloomed yesterday in one of those green outdoor plastic pots. It rained hard in the night. Hannah left for college this morning with her dad.

I remember one dream: I was in a house, and the roof of the boy’s bedroom leaked. The man—I think it was Steve—was drunk and didn’t really seem to care. I kept saying, “But I lived in South Carolina, and I know it can rain much harder than this all night.” He seemed to think the worst had passed. But I knew better. I was trying to talk us into going onto the roof to put a layer of saran wrap over the hole. Then, I began looking for buckets. I remember thinking I was so smart to think of the buckets when no one else had. I was the one taking care of things.

I’m keeping Captain, our caramel-and-white pit bull, this week while Steve drives with Harmony to college at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He’ll return for about a month, and then he moves to Santa Fe, taking the dog with him. I’m a little afraid of how well he’ll take care of both himself and Captain. I’m not at all sure he can do better with one than the other.

In the morning, I walked the dog through the gentle streets. I drank tea and tried to fill my heart with love, so as to leave no room for despair. I asked God to help me with this: He’s good at this sort of thing. I feel refreshed to stop feeling sorry for myself. Really, what has any of this got to do with me? I’m at best fleshy conduit. I report back to her royal highness, the queen of all light. I report on my own little view from this one mind and heart. I do my best to align both with divine flow. I fail.

My ideals meet the moment: Cup of tea, typing fingers, a little bit of a pot belly in my teal workout pullover. Sadness, but also crickets purring and birds chirping: The neighbors’ dogs register their consternation for the new life at my feet, our shared dog, beloved to all. And this is the tough part somehow: To recognize that this imperfection is all that’s holy. The other “perfect” part is both mirage and a distraction. Why, why is it more challenging to love what is? My heart breaks with the effort, with the beauty, of loving my very imperfect self. As I write that, the words glow.

This life that we think is just filler, the in-between junk, God?

I promised my daughter I’d take good care of Captain. So there was the big 40-minute walk through the neighborhoods and then along the path. I picked up his poop. I fed him, made sure he has water. But now, as Captain sniffs around and wonders what comes next—and maybe wonders when he’ll see Hannah again—this matters too. His teeth scrape his favorite spiked ball, also in pink. He looks up at me, and his eyes burn with hope. Will you throw it again? And I do.