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Archive for August, 2009

As the weather here in Texas changes from “so hot I contemplate peeling my skin off” to “thank God for AC,” I too change from “if I don’t interact with the world, it can’t possibly keep spinning” to “oh, hello, world, you still there?” And it’s all in good stride because sometimes we all need to shut off the world for a few days (erm, 2 weeks).

But, as I open my eyes and stretch my limbs, I find something unexpected. A cocoon, of sorts, which allows me to keep on growing, processing, but maybe in a better way. Because no matter how good and delicious Burn Notice is, it isn’t really doing anything in the way of this crazy journey I’m on. Except, I do know that a cell phone plugged into a USB outlet on a computer makes for a perfect bug.

And so here I am. In the one city I had so vehemently sworn off with a new humility that God is indeed the point, not my affinity for a city (among other things I’d like to think are more important). And this place I am in feels nearly indescrible to everyone else, except for these few who just know without me saying. And who somehow hear, “I just got to process all this fear and heal and rest a little, so I can do that thing I need to do,” when I say, “Oh, you know. I’ll get to save money. Spend time with my family. Figure out what to do.”

And the thing that woke me up today, that made me literally stop dead in my tracks, take a deep breath, and look a little crazy by speaking out loud to seemingly nothing was God. I just stopped and said, “Ok, let’s have this conversation, I’ve been putting off.” And so we did, and I cried a little, but it was a good cry that you have with God and when it’s over you take a deep breath and think, “So this is it. This is what has to happen.” And then you just trust with your whole being and when you can’t trust anymore, you trust that God will fill in the rest.

So, that being said, I’m back. But, I’m dancing a little slower, listening a little harder, and trying to write a lot more.

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Texas.

Things I am learning from this crazy move.

1. Wallowing isn’t even fun after about 12 hours. Probably sooner, really.
2. God is still sojourning with me through all this. He is going out before me. And anywhere He is, there is light. So, I just have to keep my eyes open, and I’m in light.
3. Every place has treasures. Some places just also have concrete mountains instead of real ones.
4. Isolation does not become me.
5. Rest is hard.
6. I am whiney and self-involved. Much more than I thought.
7. We’re all trying to figure the same things out.

I wish I had more to write, but honestly, I’m trying to just listen right now. I’m not doing very well at it at all. But, I’m trying.

What more can you do?

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A long goodbye.

I feel the sort of slow heavy from not getting enough sleep for 10 consecutive days. Where you start to get weepy and are liable to cry over anything really, and even though you reassure yourself that you are simply dead exhausted, nothing really changes the fact that you’re now crying just so you can squeeze your eyes shut.

And I don’t mean that in any sort of dramatic way. I have a flair for the dramatic, I am well aware, but I mean it in a simple way. In the way that your skin begans to crack in the winter because it’s dry and in the way your heart does the same after wear and tear. I am just full and empty.

I have found myself amidst an unexpected journey. I suddenly find myself desiring to find, once again, the tenderness that has been heaped on with pain and bitterness. I did not realize it would be so hard to unearth. I did not realize it would actually happen either. It’s funny, isn’t it, this life?

But, in other news and on other arenas, I am moving tomorrow. This week has been one long hello and goodbye as friends come back to the city I am leaving. I trust, even though I don’t always trust well, that this will indeed be good.

Farewell, sweet city. So long, dear friends.

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I had a conversation with a friend last night which summed up some thoughts I’d been having on the subject. The good, hard work of life. The work of taking this theology and these ideas of who God is and bringing it down to everyday life. This is hard. But, truly, this is important.

I think of this on days when I feel so tired and I don’t want to drag myself out of bed and I don’t want to be sweet and generous. On days when isolation and self-indulgence seem much, much easier. And, admitedly, some days I think of this and isolate and self-indulge anyway. I crawl into bed and watch the Office and don’t answer my phone when people who love me fiercely call to see how I am. This wallowing can’t do any good for too long. It’s just a broken disguise for life giving rest.

The good, hard work reminds me on these days that I am doing something, that this being alive thing maybe the simple truth of it all. That sometimes it is good and enough if the greatest thing I do all day is to love one person (even myself) a little bit better, then that’s revolutionary. The good, hard work reminds me that this life, the light should truly shine in all corners of my ragged self. And that those places where I’d rather wallow in darkness are simply lies. And there is an everyday work to shining light places of yourself into dark places of yourself. We want these grand footings, these sure places, these places where we can then control, navigate, and, “No thanks God, I’m doing just fine.” And all the while God is right there sojourning on with us. Crying and weeping and sometimes screaming, although, I’m sure with much more grace and love than I do it with. But, if nothing else it makes the hard, good, everyday work of it possible. Because God is an everyday sort of person, and though it’s hard to see, it’s the work of redemption. Slow. Hard. Sometimes a little painful even.

And this sort of hard work, it takes courage. It’s in the folds of the dailiness. It’s in the mundane moments. Today, for me, this courage was simply waking up. It was knowing my car currently wasn’t starting and that I had stayed up too late. It was desparately wanting to fake illness and stay home all day long, curled up in said bed watching said Office episodes. I didn’t want to ask for help with my car. I didn’t want to go nanny boys are are rascally and often rude, but still sometimes cute. Last night, that hard, courageous work looked like admitting fault to a friend. Writing a facebook message to someone I didn’t much know. But, in these small ways, in these daily ways, through this hard, good work, we’re courageously creating pieces of light, here and there, we’re building communities, and sometimes we’re just planting trees for the next person to sit under. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.

But, in the end I love it. I love it because it is always good because God is always good. Even when it hurts like hell and I can’t remember that God is good, God is still good. And that’s the sort of thing I can hold onto.

And when I can’t hold onto it, that’s the sort of thing that holds onto me.

www.incourage.me

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Some days it just feels the same, no matter what gets thrown at you.

I need a red bird or two.

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I can’t help but to feel a familiar pull on my heart on nights like these. Where the moon is full and high and smiling, the air is crisp and alive, and I fall in and out of love with every breath. I guess all of this hasn’t hit me, this leaving, this growing up, these changes. Instead, they come as taps on my shoulder at unexpected times. Tonight, I was tapped. Tonight, the night which begged me to come lie down with it for a while, got up abruptly. Tonight, I cried.

It feels damn near impossible sometimes, this being alive thing. I don’t mean it in any hard way, I just mean that the every day hard work of it feels like so much sometimes that it seems almost an odd relief to get caught up in the ordinary things. The showers, the work, the tv, the driving, the errands, the dailiness. But, lately, the dailiness holds no secret sanctity for me. I find myself struck with long buried questions during the most ordinary times. While driving to work, while in the shower, while standing in line at Target. Some little darkness knocks and I feel a little unprepared to embrace it and invite it in for dinner. To shine the light parts of me onto the dark parts of me. And so instead I nod to acknowledge its presence. I let the question come full into my conscious, but that’s all. I don’t try to answer it. And when tears tempt my eyes, I stay steadfast to all four parts of me that are false stoicism. I try to believe I am hard and strong.

But, it’s all for naught, because I know I’m not hard and strong. In fact, all the while these deep and fearful questions have been striking me, I find myself meeting the tender parts of me. I find myself often moved deeply and tearfully at the pain in the world. At the suffering. Even when the suffering is my own. I sit quiet and on my own exploring the abandoned roads and veins which bring me to different, old, same, new parts of my heart. I find myself slowly sinking into the truth of my tenderness, vulnerability, fragility, and not finding it a weak fault. But, all that has left me also feeling unprotected when it comes to those questions which are best faced by false stoicism or lest crying for days.

And, deep down I know. My heart is full, but there is an empty ache that all this tenderness is pointing me too. An ache past my heart where I daily find new wounds from the wars I wage and are waged around me everyday. Sometimes they’re solider wounds, and sometimes they’re just wounds of a person at the wrong place at the wrong time. Scrapes, bumps, bruises, brokenness. All these beckon, beg, for healing. And I find myself strangely silenced. Strangely stoic and impersonal, objective even. Or perhaps just passive. Everything is pointing me to the same place. All the questions have the same answer, my whole life is a magnet back to my Abba, but I find myself trying to hold myself together, when it’s so obvious the whole point is to fall apart.

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