Amongst One Another

I suppose it might be possible.

That there might be some amongst us who don’t know struggle, haven’t had it woven intricately in the layers of their skin, embedded deep deep deep in the pits of their tummies.

I saw someone last night and I remembered how she’d been real with me and I, with her.

How I’d said yes to her unexpected invite for lunch, just wanting us to know one another more.

First of all, how often are we so honest? How rare are women that brave?

She shattered my illusion of her life more sublime than mine. She told me her story.

And, I mine.

I guess over a year or more ago. She listened as I shared the colors of my Bible, my story.

And I saw her and I told her what that meant to me, her opening her heart, her curiosity of mine.

What if we did that more? What if we left each other loved and uplifted, caressed on more than typical passing platitudes?

We’d know more the feeling of being amongst one another. We’d be more generous with our giving of time, less greedy for dominance in conversation.

Another friend made me cry when I held her and let her cry. It was hard.

Then soft.

She said it, what I already knew.

“I think I just saw God.”

I read a beautiful prayer this morning, a prayer by a French Archbishop whose name I can’t pronounce. It was a prayer asking God to find us when we can’t find Him.

Take my heart, for I canst give it and when thou hast it, oh, keep it for Thee and save me in spite of myself. Archbishop F’enelon

Someone mentioned feeling as if in an abyss yesterday and we then talked about the “cliff”.

If you’ve ever been in a deep place feeling like you can’t pull yourself out or if you’ve found yourself on the edge, on the cusp of disastrous choice worn out and miserable over what’s come your way, having to get real quiet or real loud and maybe say God, come near, be my rescue, remind me again.

Save me, yet again.

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

We’re not made to cower.

The “change-up”

Slowly, my perspective is changing.

Consistently, I am enlightened by God.

Finally, I am beginning to create a space for freedom to be true.

I heard a sermon from Lamentations last week, the highlighted passage was on the steadfast quality of God’s love. It’s well known, an affirmative promise.

My mind wandered, I admit.

I have a hard time in a room with noises that distract, so I’ll focus my attention on my little space.

I’ll buffer the outside and go inside, reading ahead, veering a few lines or a chapter away to the other verses, protective of my focus and intentional in my holding close what’s mine, what’s beneficial.

Same way in my daily readings. this morning, only a few words because of time.

Yet, timely, so timely.  Gone, going are the days of holding onto hurt like a treasure, a badge marking honorable mention for making it through.

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I’m adapting.

We talked about my story last week, my friend and I.

Talked about the possibility of a changeup.

“Change-up”, the phrase paints a memory for me and I digress. My son’s reaction when he got that one right, priceless was his joy! The batter befuddled by the sudden change in pattern, tricked by his expectation of the fastball or the curve, he couldn’t adapt.

He couldn’t throw it too often, the batters grew to expect it, prepared and anticipated and they’d connect, triumphant their expression, they adapted, adjusted and met what was thrown a little differently, refusing to be struck out, struck down and defeated.

My story is wrought with trauma and it made…makes me vulnerable, just the thought of its presentation and mostly, its lack of completion.

Beginning even.

But, a changeup is in the works, slowly the perspective is changing and my mind is catching up to the curve.

Not fear, not remorse, not hard heard recollection, rather an authentic expression of gratitude and hope in the midst of every stage.

I’m adapting. I’m hopeful, less hindered by my vulnerability and my striving towards redeeming my wrongs and the wrongs done towards me.

Adapting my story from a fearful perspective to more of a welcome gift of forgiveness to others.

Not about me, my fears or my falters, rather about those steadfast in their hope for me.

My life, an adaptation of God.

“I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’ “You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:55-58‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up with others, writing for 5 minutes, prompted by “adapt”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/05/03/fmf-link-up-adapt/

 

Happy Way of Life #6

Creativity is either bliss or burden.

No one might ever understand, your own little ways,

Only you.

I found old beaten down wood, peeling white chips on muddy tinted grain, a “2 b’ 6” the shop owner said.

I decided it must’ve come from a little place in a house in the country, a kitchen with a window that looked out on wide, wide field the same color, the field, a cushion of green.

I asked my husband to make three of the one and I’d forgotten sort of.

Until home from work today and he’s done, the pieces leaning against the back door for me saying, Here, I did this.

For you.

I’ve added white sheathed gowns to all three, shades of peachy pink on soft tilted faces will come later.

But for now, the green on old wood, the white paint thick and the shape of shoulders, hinting a disposition.

Brings me joy.

We decided today, a friend and I that creativity makes you vulnerable, you try and feel fulfilled or you attempt and over attempt and wonder

oh, my goodness why do I continue?

But, you go back to the place where you tie the apron thick with paint around your waist or you sit and take a deep breath until the authenticity of you comes through in nouns and verbs and considerations.

And you know, you know God made you different, made you to not cower; made you to create.  Me

Made you unafraid,

Of you.

I’ll go back to the old desk covered in splattered thick colors and I’ll return just as soon as I can to the desk neatly sorted, copies of my words on white sheets and I’ll write there.

The desk that looks out on the birds.

I’ll have the courage to become me again, the one who paints angels without faces without caring who wonders why and writes stories about hope lost and found and grace.

my happy way of life

more to follow

Impatient Wonder

Two or three things stuck last week, adding to the mix even more this morning and now, afternoon as well.

The first is the perspective changer that uncertainty is a gift, an absolute gift.

Uncertainty, held by grace.

And wonder.

Last week, I berated myself out loud to another, her commentary brought new perspective, brought me to consider a kind response.

To realize I had not been “resourced” back then to choose alternate responses.

Too much wrong food, buying stuff just because and giving in to a pattern as if there was no other way but back and so scared I might be moving in reverse not forward.

“Coping mechanisms” she called my overindulgence(s).

You’re self-aware, you’ve called yourself out this time, that’s progress.

You’re not stuck.

“Oh.” I remembered later, what a gracious choice. What a gracious idea giving permission to mess up and even more so, a prompting to step surely and rightly again.

I’ve been talking about turning 60 for months now, anxious that I might not do the things I said I was gonna do when I was a year younger than I am now.

I’ve got about 30 months to 60 and I guess about 900 days. I’m no math person, let me use my words.

Words are my thing, not numbers.

Wondering if I will, uncertain if I can.

Impatient to see what I will.

Stuck.

If you’re Southern you might remember a ready reply your mama, your grandma or grandpa would give in reply to whether and when.

Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!

What might happen depending on God being willing and I imagine whoever started this go to reply, the road might have been impassable, their door might have guarded the way out and they may have decided not today, gotta wait for the creek to settle, gotta wait for the water to flow back downstream to the river, to the sea.

Gotta wait for the settling.

Today, I read about the woman in Proverbs again, the passage that tells a son what to look for in a wife. The verses are filled with guidance, the descriptive nature often causes wonder of worth.

Today though, one part stuck.

“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The part about considering, about patient wonder, about tentative even proceeding.

About waiting patiently for an undertaking, taking graceful steps towards uncertain yielding of creative crop.

Giving myself a pass on not perfecting.

I hadn’t cooked for days. My husband was having omelets, pb&j’s and pizza from a box.

I’ve a meal in the oven now, rosemary roasted turkey, potatoes and carrots to be beside asparagus drizzled in butter and warm grain rice.

An assignment for a magazine had me insecure and regretful, due tomorrow, 1000 words for a hundred.

I find a little teacup and steep the bag in steam and down the hall I go and I pray

Father, help me to write the words that someone is needing, that they read my words and begin to be better.

Because of mercy, Amen

Me

I go back for the tea, meet the waiting laptop and the notes scribbled and scattered and I read, I read before I write, the little teeny words on a square on a string I’ll tear off and keep.

And now, the article is done, pool time and blueberry creamy coolness to be followed by dog walking and sky studying.

Sunday, oh, Happy Day you have been!

A Kind of Light

Out in the country, in the little place my daughter and her hubby call home, the sky is big, very big.

I’m always looking to see the light, the play of color, the hue falling on the high grass or the crimson “sour” weed.

I go outside, the rain being done for now and the sun is setting.

The softest light I’ve known. I’m in love with the sky, can’t get enough of the view.

Yesterday morning, I received an apology from someone and I wasn’t quite sure of its need.

There’d been some tension in our exchange, an agitation in his voice, seemed some sort of struggle unrelated to the topic being volleyed across conference room table.

I’d decided early on that my go to all day was gonna be kindness, intentionally to go the way of accepting another without making their manner of speech, attitude or action about harming me, hampering me.

I must’ve carried that resolve into the meeting because when I’d have typically said “not dealing with you” and rejecting another person all together, I sensed something else and I said to self, “Be kind.”

Thought of that quote when I read his apology, not knowing what horrible thing was hidden in his typed asking forgiveness, I thought of “be kind…there’s a hard battle here you don’t know.” Something you can understand.

“He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:8

I blogged my second piece as a contributor at Daughters of The Deep about being light wherever we go.

Light in a dark world that we sometimes get wrong I think, we sometimes feel as Christians we have to burst forth into every room and like a blinding presence that can’t be denied, we can’t and won’t be denied.

That’s not God’s expectation, I don’t believe.

Who ever thought of love or kindness or mercy as a spotlight piercing in and causing us to shield our eyes, our souls?

Moses even had to turn away and it was God who drew near him. Surely, we know our lights are a significantly different version, His Spirit in us, minuscule but, still mighty in its meaning and message.

Love, it’s the much softer light that we should bring, a subtle difference nudging others to know more of why.

Our light, a kinder light.

Mostly, kindness, just choosing kindness.

In this recent post, I wrote about the women who were with Jesus because they’d had their lives changed by His healing. I wrote about their hard sorrows before and their light infused afters.

I wrote of the beauty we see when we choose to see others through eyes changed, through a softer light, a light that doesn’t blind in its sudden sizing up of others.

The Beauty We See

A light that’s warm and welcoming in and in illuminating rightly my impression of others, not begging their notice or impression of me,

a kind of light, kinder.

Happy Way of Life, #5

As if he might know somehow, crazy to think it possible, his knowing.

We pause, we move from pavement to grassy overgrowth bordered by rotting fenceposts and barbed wire, rusty.

We pray the subdivision doesn’t take over.

I promise, there’s no way a Labrador might know.

The way the cousins expected in between pickin’ berries and lookin’ out for snakes and snake holes to jump from red clay rutted dirt road hearing the roundin’ roar of engine.

But, we did when my grandma said so,

We “HIT the ditch!”

And so, when the big brown lab causes the pull of his leash towards shallow grassy valley bordered by fence,

I go.

We go. We linger, unconcerned over passerby’s questioning over a dog and a woman just standing, “sitting”, pausing in the ditch.

This, my friend, my follower, my one curiously intrigued is this Georgia girl living elsewhere’s happy way of life.

We go, we consider it happy, this little bit of remembering, we’re happy in it.

And oh, the joy of the careless acknowledgment of such simplicity and perhaps, simple minded.

Oh, joy!

Words and Pursuit

I love a pretty word, love the way it prompts pursuit.

Draws me to be hopeful it’ll fit just right, my emotion and understanding.

Love the way it awakens me, a word saying “Carry on, continue, you’re not too far gone.”

I found myself drawn to confirm my understanding, the word “ardent”, I felt descriptive of someone committed, zealous, passionate even in their effort to be near, be in relationship with another.

The book I read in the mornings is made of quotes and verses and very often, I must pause to understand the linguistic disconnect.

I’m not sure I’d ever heard it, that God was an ardent pursuer of me, a sort of suitor refusing to accept my rebuff.

Lord knows, back in the day, the nice guys I cast aside, rarely did they continue their pursuit, lost interest, lost cause.

Today, I couldn’t quite believe with my whole heart. I teetered between the why and His will. I wondered if others tired of wanting to understand but, being unable to believe.

Someone stopped by and her whole face was smiling. Another stopped by and she cried, I cried with her.

Another called and I apologized before I ever began, I’m sorry I’m pitiful today. She told me she’d woken the same way.

I sat in my car and she prayed I’d know his nearness, that I’d remember my strength because of a God who pursues and protects me. She prayed there’d be a break in my heavy load and that the big things looming would have His hand on me.

And it wasn’t all of a sudden, like a gathering of hallelujah singers all around, it was a gradual sense of God’s presence.

A calming factor, a sense of hope and an affirmative reminder that I believe.

The to do pad on the fridge, blank until today. Home from long day, I decide on a bike ride. The slight cooling down of evening air on my face, I pedaled strong and determined and never let up, careening around the curve and back through my yard. I hop off my bike and back inside, realize the day is different.

It’s dusk and it’s evening and there’s chili simmering on the stove.

I reach for the fridge and my note to self from early morning.

Believe God.

Now, I know you know I didn’t, haven’t seen God. But, he pursued me today and followed me and happened to have people see me, hear me, listen, smile, cry and pray.

And they were intentional. They were wholehearted and enthusiastic. They were passionate in their pursuit of my heart as I was of theirs and we were mutually ardent in our compassionate responses.

Goodness and mercy found me today. It seems it was not without effort because sometimes I look and don’t find and I grow weary and worn, wilted, drained and deplete.

But, He never lets go His ardent pursuit.

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ardent, a word descriptive of a committed and fervent one. One who never gives up.

A quote from my little morning book from the Rev. John Tauler, born 1290 and deceased in 1361, 71 years of understanding of God’s pursuit:

For God is right diligent to be with us at all seasons, and to teach us, that He may bring us to Himself, when we are like to go astray.

None of us ever desired anything more ardently than God desires to bring men to the knowledge of Himself. J. Tauler

Oh my goodness, knowledge so very close to being too wonderful to know.

To know that I am known by God.

Wonderful to know.