Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm a writer, which means I am a lover of words. I love the way they look on paper,  a hundred different typesets, the feel of well worn paper, freshly sharpened pencils, the smell of old books, handwriting loops and angles, the cadence of poetry, the sound of well read verse. I love double entendre, knowing the root of a word, and the delicious variety of choices to say exactly what I mean. I love libraries and bookstores and dictionaries and thesauruses. I love words. They mean something. They are something. They have power, and we all know that "with great power comes great responsibility". 

As much as I love words, and writing them, that responsibility looms largely when it comes to blogging. Relatively few people in my life even know I have a blog. Those who do probably don't even remember it is here. I never wanted to be held accountable for writing on a regular basis. And I never wanted to inadvertently say something that could hurt someone. The internet is akin to Conrad's heart of darkness- much less cozy than a familiar composition book, or it's fancier cousin, the journal.

When I really want to pour my heart out and just be ugly, bitter, and mean, those are the thoughts best written by confessional's pen and tossed in repentance's fire-pit, releasing me from their toxicity. The internet does not forgive. What you pour out here, stays here forever. You are not anonymous, even if you don't choose to broadcast your blog on every social media to which you ascribe. Your words can- and will- be found. 

A blog post is not a journal page that can be ripped out, turned into a paper crane, and tossed into the flames with no one the wiser.  Anyone can trip over your words, at any given moment, even long after your heart is spent, and the rage subsided, and all is once again well with your world.  And words mean something. They are something. They have power. Words, once wielded, cannot be sheathed quietly and easily forgotten...

Friday, June 8, 2012

I left my father in a hospital room tonight, not knowing what the next few days will hold. More likely than not, his zeroed white blood count will rally and he will be back to his "new" normal self just in time for his next chemo treatment. More likely than not, now that we know he is susceptible to bottoming out, it won't be so bad next round. And, more likely than not, we will do this dance a few more times. But I am acutely aware that there will come a point in the not so distant future, that I will leave my father in a hospital room for the last time.. I know my father knows this is inevitable. And I know we both acknowledge that only God knows when this eventuality will take place. What my father doesn't know, doesn't realize, cannot even begin to grasp, is that I've been down this road before, not quite so involved, except for my heart, and this second time is tearing me apart.  I was 16 when I walked this road with my mother, when I watched her struggle and fight, and relatively quickly lose her battle with cancer. They were divorced then so he wasn't there, so he doesn't understand, couldn't know, the devastation I face when cancer looms so largely over his life and mine. I put on the face, I take care of business, I sign all the papers, make all the appointments, talk to the doctors...but inside, I'm ripped to shreds and by the grace of God, a good man who holds me fast, a family who hugs me tight, and friends who lift me in prayer, I manage to keep it all together.

I cannot imagine what my father is going through but helplessly, agonizingly, witnessing cancer's sure and steady march against him is excruciating for me. I simply cannot believe I have to go through this again...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

So, I went to church today, but not *my* church, the old church, the one I used to spend more time at than my actual home. Yea. That one. To say I was apprehensive would be a ridiculous understatement. I was literally nauseated, although I have been under the weather all week-end. There was trepidation- and dare I say, fear- even as I made the longest short walk across the parking lot. I felt huge, like a neon sign in Vegas, at the same time, I felt small, insignificantly so.

This is the church that judged and shunned me at the lowest time in my life. I learned the depth of my own naivete, as well as the death thereof, replaced by a hard edge I haven't yet figured out how to smooth. I also learned how desperate I was for Jesus and that He was the only one who could love me through anything and everything.

It's just a church, after all. A monstrosity of a building that was meant to house a community of believers and bring people into the fold. We were known for putting broken people back together and welcoming them with open arms but nobody told me that once you were a member, you couldn't break. I spent almost a dozen years putting on a plastic face as I worshiped, learned, led and served. I couldn't bear to let people see what a shambles my life really was, so I hid that part of me, but loved the best I could with the rest of my heart. I loved deep and I loved wide and I loved long and hard and well while hiding the fact that I was dying inside.

And when my life finally fell apart and I fell to my knees, wretched beyond recognition, but free from the half-life I had survived, and admitted I couldn't do it anymore, their eyes shuttered, their arms crossed and their hearts hardened. So many minds and mouths raced with sordid details they didn't know and didn't bother to verify. And I stood there, begging for grace and mercy and love, while their stones of judgement shattered what was left of my heart. After all, what is truth? People see what they want to see. I just wish they thought more of me to see past appearances.

So, I went there today, and all those awful feelings came rushing back, but just when the oppression threatened to overwhelm me, I found Him. My Jesus was there, in that church, reminding me that it's just a church after all. A monstrosity of a building housing a community of believers who are as human and fallible as I am. The ugly memories were mine alone and where once, I wanted so badly for it to be my home again, I no longer bear that misguided self-flagellation. In more ways than one, I have been set free.

There is much I owe that church, much to be grateful for, and much to hold dear. My dearest, deepest, richest, truest, friendships were born there and I still cherish these today. Leading, singing, playing, teaching, speaking, acting, guiding, discipling, writing, encouraging, befriending- all gifts given freely and received gratefully. Churches full of people may fail people but my Jesus never does. I have learned that I carry Him with me just as I am, broken and beautiful, delightful and desperate, fallible and forgiven. I am His temple, one of His living stones, because greater is the one who is in me, than the one that is in the world. And I wouldn't trade learning that lesson- even the hard way- for anything...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Empty


It's amazing to me that a woman like me could feel so full and so empty at the same time. I am so full of desire but so empty of results. I feel like I'm full of the abstract and surrounded by the echo of what wants to be tangible but isn't. Yet.

I have so many thoughts and dreams, still, at my age. You would think I would be winding down and yet, no, I am still dreaming. I don't know if I'm just a dreamer, someone who spins beautiful webs in the upper corners of my heart but doesn't know how to expose them to the world. I don't want to just dream. I want to do. I want to be. I long to fill my life up and evict the emptiness.

My life is so full. I am so busy. But the busy-ness doesn't equal full-ness. And the emptiness yawns and brings me back in.

I want to be so full of Christ that I can't help, just by my life, but to have Him pour out of me into the world and into everyone I meet, especially those I have such impact on- and those I cherish the most. 

I'm so busy. And so tired. And so full. So why do I sometimes feel so depleted? So utterly spent. Not empty, as without hope, but empty, as a cavern full of possibilities yet unrealized...


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Late Night Thoughts...

Just realizing that it's been a long time since I've come here and wanting to rectify it. It's not that I haven't had enough to say- it's that I've had too much to say, and not enough time, and sometimes, sometimes, not enough freedom... I have to temper my thoughts with discernment. What I put online cannot be taken back and I'm not always dedicated enough to curb my impulsive nature.... I am constantly aware of my need to pray harder and deeper and stronger... And yet, those squirrel thoughts interrupt me with a half-dozen other urgent things I need to do and then I don't blog and sometimes I don't pray and what I really want to do falls even further on the list of things I yearn to cross off my to-do list...

That being said, I'm half-way through my Spring Break in my 2nd semester of going back to school and have only scratched the surface of that list! Sleeping in, I've got down pat :) As much as I love it, and as much as my fingers itch to sign up for at least one class this summer, I'm ready for some downtime. So much has happened in my personal life since I made the decision to finally get my degree- so much I didn't anticipate and so much I can't wrap my head around. Sometimes, having no time to think is a good thing. The fact that I've started crying in the middle of the night- or if I have too much time between classes- is probably an indication that I need more time to process and be...

I am in the midst of the most amazing college adventure. I definitely didn't appreciate all of this the first time around. I think being at the right school has a lot to do with it but it also has to do with everything in the last 20 years of my life that has brought me to this place in time. The more I learn, the more I realize I have so much to learn. The more I figure out, the more I realize I have so much to figure out. The more I decide, the more I realize I need to decide. The more I think, the more I realize I think too much :)

My dad's cancer has spread. What began as a spot on his lungs 8 months ago, turned into a major lung removal surgery, severe memory & confusion issues, a car accident, a move into assisted living, and now part of his hip has been eaten away and we face radiation treatments and an uncertain future. I'm pretty sure I know how I feel about that, but I'm not sure I can articulate it as well as I do with gasping sobs and silly fears and a big, gnawing ache in my stomach that not even the strong arms of my Gary, holding me all night long can make go away completely...

Not to mention that some of the people in my life that I love dearly are not really happy. I'm the sort of person who wants everyone to be happy so when that doesn't happen, I feel like it's my fault and if I can't figure it out and fix it, I'm the failure. I also feel like I'm constantly being judged and that is frustrating and exhausting and saddening to me. Some of my judges are people I love, some are not. Some are people I wish I didn't have to deal with, and some are people I can let go of very easily. Some are people I don't think intend to be hurtful, and some are people I don't think care if they are hurtful. I make excuses for all of them a lot. I don't believe all the excuses I make but it makes me feel better if I believe in basic human kindness. I understand mistakes- Lord knows I've made more than my fair share, some much bigger than others, and I'm so grateful for His forgiveness. What I don't understand is unkindness. It just baffles me to no end. And makes me truly sad.

That isn't to say that I'm perfect. That I'm never unkind. Or that I'm never ugly, selfish, mean and small. But when I realize it, I'm pretty much brought to my knees. I don't like these things in myself any more than I like them in anyone else. Worse, I think, because I know better. And because I know I've disappointed my Jesus, my audience of one, who loves me at my ugliest and smallest and never fails to remind me that I need to give as much mercy as I want to receive. His grace makes me want to reach beyond the hurts- real and imagined- and love the unlovable. But in my human-ness, I can't seem to get there- yet.

So, I sit here, and try to make sense of my life in the middle of the night, when deep sleep eludes and dark thought entertains... This 'making sense' includes enumerating my blessings, which are so great and so dear, and which far outweigh even the heaviest of burdens on my mind. Most of all, I have a Savior, a husband who demonstrates to me Christ's love for His church and incredible children that I am trying so hard to train up an overwhelming love of God and others.  I love deeply and am deeply loved in return.

Whom then- what then- shall I fear?