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Archive for the ‘God’ Category

A Quiet Little Place

I have always been the sort of girl who has liked her alone time. I could get lost in aloneness like a child can get lost in a large mall in the holiday seasons. Where suddenly minutes and hours are no different because though your mother will be frantic when she finds you, you are not lost, no, you are perfectly cocooned in your quiet thoughts which don’t register the fears of a mother. They just nestle you with familiar characters and the promise of adventure.

And so now, as an adult, I find myself often unlost in quiet place with familiar characters. I become engrossed in my aloneness which is both quiet and doesn’t seem very alone either. But, that quiet, not the incessant ticker of anxieties, paranoias, and insecurities, that brings me comfort these odd days.

And though it’s tempting to get lost in the crowd of thoughts, the characters who are familiar and a little insane, I trust the quiet little place, tucked like a precious child in between grace and faith. And even when I wake up, sweating and terrified of my dark, that is the place I always tucked into again.

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Utterly Human.

For one, I love LOVE Glee. And whenever I start to feel a little down, I pop in the soundtrack, and my day feels turned around for that time. It’s a beautiful thing. And I will always belt out, “Don’t Stop Believin'” “Take a Bow” “Bust Your Windows” and “Golddigger” because you kind of have to. In fact, hold on a second, because “Don’t Stop Believin'” just started.

Well, anyway, I’ve been so whiney lately. I think my most frequently used it expression this week is, “Annoyed.” I just say it, much in the same way Rachel Zoe says, “Unclear,” in all situations where I’m the least bit annoyed. Which, is really rather frequently.

I’m tired of the whole shabang of wait, pray, trust. I don’t think that means much expect that I’m utterly human. I doesn’t mean I won’t keep doing it, it just means, I’ve hit that wall where my very human expectations of God come out and I want to demand action. I want to scream that I’ve had enough of this season. That I’m ready for the next. Now, deep down, I know God is still good and at work. But, sometimes, I feel more annoyed and weary than I do adventurous and…well, faithful.

I don’t know that feeling this way does much except calls me back into commune with God in some strange way. I pray just as much, I just say some different things. I trust but with a little less grace. And I still shrug a lot of days and sigh at the end. I still squeeze my eyes and say, “Really?” It’s just a little different place. It’s just after so many days in the desert, us humans can’t help but say, “Uh, I don’t really get what the point of this was. Were we that bad off back there? At least we knew where we were going?”

And God will always respond with, “Let me fight for you. Just rest. Just trust.”

And I’ll feel a little annoyed, because I knew that. I was just hoping for, “Oh, Whit. How careless of me. Let me attend to all of what you think is most important and relevant.”

Ha. Annoyed.

It’s just a day full of Glee soundtracks for sanity, deep breaths, dancing, and screaming when no one is paying attention.

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Sometimes, as much as I want what I want, when I want it, I’ll get a moment of clarity. It usually happens much after the fact. Like, I’ll look back on a situation and think, “Yes, that was right; I didn’t need that. This was much better after all.” But, very rarely, maybe once or twice, it happens amidst something. Before the clear evidence that something is indeed better really takes root.

But, I’m thankful for those moments, present and retrospective. They’re why when I’m babysitting and I say, “You can’t a bag of marshmellows because it isn’t good for you,” that I smile to myself and think, ah, this is why those gross injustices we feel as a child take place. Because often my parents were acting out of knowledge I didn’t have. And I’m thankful for that.

Reconciliation is the same way, I think. I think it looks like God saying, “Ah, but that isn’t good for you.” Unfortunately, God also gives us the option of saying, “I just am going to take the bag of marshmellows anyway, but thanks for the concern.”

I say that because, marshmellows taste better than vegtables.

If for no other reason that we were told to put them away.

Still, God creates this thing for us, this possibility, and he breathes it everywhere. In trees, in sunsets, in old friends’ smiles. He is constantly urging us, pursuing us with it. “Be reconciled,” I imagine he wispers many nights. “Come back.”

And when we do. When we are. He says, “Now reconcile with each other. With the trees. With the sunsets. And most of all with your old friends.”

Oh, were it so easy.

Because, we don’t always come back. To God. Or to each other.

I am reminded of my friend’s words, that not all things are reconciled on this side of heaven. I ache for that hope tonight. I believe in reconciliation. It gives me hope. I am rooted in it. I work at it. Sometimes, I am foolish, stubborn, prideful, but it is apart of me.

Reconciliation is beautiful when we take apart of it.

And life is just so damn hard without it.

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I remember a few years ago talking to a then new, now old friend. We were talking about our lives and what we wanted to do with them. A conversation filled with purpose, that in the coming year, when the world hit me hard, I would forget in more ways than one. But, as we pulled out of the Wal-Mart parking lot, the conversation was alive.

I told said friend that I didn’t know practically what my future would look like, but I knew one thing it would involve. Reconciliation/redemption. I said, “I know you aren’t supposed to have favorite things about God, but if I were to, that would be it. The fact that God doesn’t just save, but restores, redeems, and reconciles.”

And, years of life have past, but I still feel the same way. Just awed that God would go further than saving us.

Still, when it comes to reconciling with other people, I run into a hiccup. I find myself confused as to act in friendships with grace and love and forgiveness, always hoping for reconciliation when I am being hurt. I have struggled with this through many friendships. Sometimes, the result was sticking it out in a place I shouldn’t have. Sometimes it was cutting and run when I shouldn’t have. But, each time, by the grace of God, I learn a little more. Get a little closer to the promise of reconciliation.

Yet, I stand at these crossroads again. I wish I felt confident and wise in action. But, my stomach feels sour and I’m at a bit of a loss. I groan in prayer. Or sometimes I just take to anger.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you will never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But, this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t scale back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

Somehow, those words of Ms. Lamott, make strong sense to my heart in this time.

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Grace (Eventually)

I love Anne Lamott. I love her because even though sometimes, theologically, I kinda raise my eyebrow, she always, always is honest and true. She struggles and whines and is delightfully human. And she has dreads, so really, how could you not love her?

And in her book Grace Eventually she says some really great and beautiful things. And it makes me remember that things like grace and healing, they’re a part of that slow, hard work of life. The kind that easily gets traded into routine, or cast aside because it’s not as exciting as the life we think we are supposed to be leading.

Truthfully, I’d have to say this is a sin of mine. This fantasizing about my life. Making it more glamorous than it really is. And all the while forgetting who and whose I am.

It’s just, why does no one tell you life isn’t as romantic as it sounds? That there is this whole huge middle part of your life that’s filled with pretty much the same thing everyday. And that doesn’t have to be bad. There’s a lot to be learned from it. Like contentment. Commitment. Faithfulness. But, none of those words drudge up images of Fabio with Kristen Stewart hair, a Rico Swauvey open shirt, kissing your next as your bosom spills out a too small corset.

But, then again, no one writes the sequels to those Fabio stories. Ones that would read like Fabio goes to the doctor and finds out he has crabs. Or Fabio fathers another illegitimate child whom he has no more to do with than a check once a month. Or even, the illustrious, Fabio settles down, gets a job where he wears suits with the buttons, buttoned to the top, and marries the girl he got pregnant.

Now, there is a best seller waiting to happen.

But, those books, those stories, those fantasies, they all bank on magic to change us. And I, for one, watched Cinderella enough times to know that nothing is wrong with me, I am just not accessorizing correctly. Were it as simple as buying glass slippers, I’d be all over that.

Instead, it’s the patience and the screaming and the scooting closer and closer and sometimes drastically in the other direction towards God. It’s shrugging shoulders, raising hands. And when you think about it, it still is magic, but it’s just a little more than the change of shoe. It’s the transformation of heart.

And even though most days, I stomp might feet and want grace now.

I’m learning about the beauty in grace eventually.

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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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