I've been somewhat quiet for awhile now. Here and in life.
I had mentioned at some point on Facebook awhile back that I was on a "mini-sabbatical". I didn't have an explanation for it, all I knew was that it was necessary and needed to be immediate. I still go on social media every now and then, but only when I want to and mostly only for a few minutes, at most. I've missed most of what's on the feed and I'm less wanting to be in the know about all things.
Some friends have wondered if I even care about them anymore. Their questioning of my heart has wounded me and worried me. I do care quite deeply about them all, yet my heart has undergone some serious repair that has adjusted how much of it I parcel off. I need to honor this and take the time my body needs to not just recover (because I hope I never recover from a change like this), but to recalibrate my very life. I need to let God do what He wants to do in their life, too, and loose even them. God weaved us together and I need to trust that nothing is lost with Him, not even friendships.
After being so lookatmeish and longing for attention for so long, what I seek now is the quieter moments where there's more space for living. Some people call this the margin and some call it whitespace. Name aside, it's the wide open sky of life where there isn't anything clouding my personal view.
I've been waiting around for so much, so many unrealized dreams, and I realized that I could miss the importance of these days -- these glory-filled days.
. . . these days when my quirkiness reminds me that I am creative
. . . when my dreaming reminds me of uncertainties
. . . when hardly anything I do or say is right, reminding me that all is redeemed
. . . these days when my waiting actively perfects my patience.
God is so personal in how He loves us, speaking our language and communicating to us in ways He knows we'll best understand.
I've lived with a personal conviction to pursue excellence in all things. The thing with passions is that they can become tangled up in all we do, like a vine that chokes and strangles life itself when it's meant to support growing beauty. My passion to excel led to a tightly gripped life. For so long my muscles flexed to the point that they didn't know how to un-flex. I became stiff and rigid like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. More to the point, I became dry and brittle.
Relaxing was something I simply couldn't give myself permission to do and furthermore, is something I didn't know how to do.
And so began the year of doing nothing aside from living moment-by-moment. It was the year of not going to church. The year of sitting on my couch weekend after weekend when we weren't in the ice rink or on the road to the ice rink. It was the year of bi-weekly housecleaning. Of multiple days off from working out. It was the year of no baking and hardly any dinner guests. Of avoiding invitations from friends. Of saying no to just about everything.
Last year was about learning to stay put and simply be. It prepared me for this year, to accept what is and embrace who I am -- to learn to live.
Along the way I have faced a few things that needed my attention, like confession and repentance, surrender and patience, fear and joy. All throughout my journey I felt the invitation to "Come . . . Rest . . . Be." You'd think it'd be easy. And for some, perhaps it is. But God's shown me that we all have something. For those folks there's probably something that they struggle with that I don't, and so I can rest from comparing or shoulding myself to be better or different in any particular way.
There is a manuscript that I began and dragged my feet over finishing, stalling until I finally surrendered to the sheer pain of trying to resist it. At that point I so much wanted it to be done that I nearly bludgeoned myself to death with a self-imposed deadline that was more fear based than faith. I miraculously met my specific goal, only to find out that "it isn't done". Though I did all I could do, there's still time to be lived and a process to go through until all the words can find a rhythm to them that makes the message ever clearer. I have to wait on this part. I have to live. I have to breathe. I have to rest.
And so, when all around me I see people announcing book deals and launching their first, second, and even third or fourth book, I take a deep breath. I pray for them to fall deeply into rest, even as life whirls and twirls all tornado-like in front of them. I lift up their fears and anxiousness, and I intercede on their behalf to sip and savor the sweet moments of life, resting as they live.
As it turned out, writing the 68,800, or so words I puzzle-pieced together was the easy part. I actually siphoned off bunches and bunches of words and filed them away for other potential projects. What took the most out of me was the obedience part. The doing. The disciplined doing. The doing even though I feared. The doing even though I ached just to have it over. At the end, I'd had enough of it and sensed that I needed it out of my hands and so I shipped it to a few friends. My heart knew it was, again, all about obedience. Yet, my head wanted affirmation that what I did wasn't a waste.
Crickets. Just crickets.
Silence from my friends was a clear gift of grace, actually. Through my wondering if all my effort was junk or if I actually made sense, I discovered a whole new element to my senses that I hadn't ever experienced. At first I thought maybe I was all mixed up, but God taught me that sight isn't just reserved for the eyes, and hearing isn't just reserved for the ears. The same with tasting and touching, they aren't just reserved for the tongue and the nerves. We teach our children that there are restrictions and rules to the senses, defining them so matter of factly. Yet, imagination and creativity were a part of God's design. He gave us a heart and a soul that defines in ways Webster and others couldn't ever. I'm learning this.
And so, these are the days when I'm breathing differently, sleeping differently, and overall positioning my life differently. These are the days I'm learning to experience and not exploit or explicate. Our family calendar is practically blank, though it doesn't mean that we aren't dreaming and discussing ideas and options. We're careful in our considering, letting time settle our thoughts and sifting them together at an unrushed and less frantic pace. I'm really not nearly as busy as people think I am, and for now I'd like to just keep it that way . . . they with their preconceived notions about me, and me with my little secret.
Sifting always gives way to hidden things. We're finding glitter in our togetherness of sifting. We've not been panhandling for gold, it's more that we've been panhandling for grace, my groom and me.
I'm craving community, though honestly I'm not ready for it yet. And so, we sift and stir and sip and savor these moments, these things of which glory is made of . . .
. . . the all day long smiles and belly-busting laughter
. . . the reach-up-my-skirt-while-I-cut-the-peppers-and-make-me-giggle moments
I'm forgetting to bathe the dog and instead learning more about how to throw the lacrosse stick . . . I'm folding laundry and reading novels instead of pounding out miles upon miles in a run . . . I'm listening to The Boy-Man read his own work-in-progress book and pondering all we've gained from our choice to keep him home with us all during his fourth grade year . . . I'm preparing for community in our son's return to playing for our hometown youth ice hockey club and all the politics and personas and particulars that will come of that . . .
These are the days of saying no, thank you to potential job opportunities and moves. The days of learning to stay and be still and let things just settle -- for the wind to die down and the clouds to part and the storm of life to streak beauty across our horizon. The days of hearing a song on the radio and knowing so fully just how much I am loved, of finally getting it and falling in love all over again.
These are the days of tasting again all that delights me and realizing I honor Him when I choose the things He gave me pleasure for and not restrict myself from joy. Of waking up later. Of whispering and saying less because my mouth would rather rest and my eyes would rather feel.
When I say these are glory days, I don't mean to imply these are grit-free days, because they aren't.
It's painful to learn to rest. My legs literally ached for two weeks straight as they developed the muscle-memory to trust more and try less. It hurt my body to simply be. The process has taken time and I still haven't arrived. I'm still quiet and less about making plans.
I still fear people will think I don't care about them and it pains me to even consider their potential thought, yet I know that my honor belongs to One . . . and by learning to rest and not be all things to others, maybe my void will give Him room to move in their life, too.
And so, I'm living these days without a plan or even an inkling of what's next. All I know is that these days I'm living . . . in joy.