It’s day one of my sabbatical and its currently 6:15am. I woke up, before the alarm mind you, and thought, “I don’t feel any different.” It reminded me of waking up on my birthday and my dad asking, “Do you feel older?” Of course not, I haven’t had any time to settle into this new temporary life of sabbath. Also, I’m super terrible at making the connections and seeing the results/patterns, so…I decided to blog it. Maybe then I’ll be able to see all that is happening, changing, transforming in this special sacred time. Maybe then I can bear witness to my own growth, something that’s always been hard for me. Maybe then I won’t forget the lessons I learn from the gift that is my sabbatical.
My practice for today is to see everything as sacred, everything I do today as meaningful. To look at making my coffee and think of all the growers, harvesters, transporters. To think of being a child and climbing up on my Dad’s lap during his morning coffee. To think of the gift of a warm cup of energizing substance to help me start my day. How could that not be sacred and meaningful?
Okay, so I know I can’t keep up this level of reporting, and I don’t intend to, but I had some thoughts that I couldn’t keep locked up in my brain. After taking the kids to school, I decided to go to the beach to walk and reflect. This time of moving myself physically while reflecting, specifically at the beach where I hear so much from God, is part of my intended sabbatical practice. Either way, it was a bit stormy looking out, and I was contemplating how much the beach/ocean changes with the weather. The colors, the chaos or calm, the wind…and how that’s like life. And then, it began to rain. At the furthest point of my walk, it began to rain. Which meant, I had a long slog back to the parking lot and any shelter at all. But this time, instead of my normal disdain for this kind of circumstance…I felt something else. I felt, joy. I felt gratitude. I felt cleansed by these little droplets of grace falling from the heavens. It was like all of the strain and struggle that came before was being washed away, and what was left was confidence that it was all going to be okay, that this whole thing is in God’s hands, that I am free. Is there any better news than that?
Good morning world! Not nearly the idyllic day today that was yesterday. Didn’t sleep well, woke up late…the truth is I’m dreading a meeting I still have. Hopefully this will be the last work related thing on my sabbatical. Right? Like, that’s the whole idea, and yet…this one last thing I have to do. In my belief that prayers are not bound by time, I ask for yours now. This committee meeting today has to issue an approval for my time away, and approval I didn’t know I needed, and they’re pretty miffed with me that I took so many steps toward this (including starting!) without their approval. Whoops! Here’s hoping it all goes well. “Your will be done.”
Sometimes, there is a way where there seems no way. The meeting happened, and while I had to swallow some pride and share more than I wanted to, everything was approved. There was this feeling going in like the battle stations were armed, but then…no one fired. This is kingdom stuff yall. This is good news! So today, my sabbath officially begins. What an incredible gift. I am entirely grateful for all those who have made it possible, and so looking forward to a new rhythm for a while.
No guilt, no guilt, no guilt. This is my mantra this morning as I face what feels like my first day off in three years. It feels that way, because its the first time I’ve set this thing I’ve built (with lots of help!) down entirely. The first time I’ve fully handed off the reins and trusted other hands to make it happen. And I don’t deserve it. That’s where the guilt comes in. This beautiful gift of time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate is undeserved. That’s what makes it grace. I didn’t earn it. And that’s also what makes the space for guilt and shame. Funny how that works. That the lies we tell our selves seep in because there is just enough truth in them. So you can’t confidently respond, “I do deserve this.” That’s not the right answer. The right answer is something like, “I don’t deserve it, and that makes me all the more grateful for it.” Okay day off. Let’s do this.
Saw a beautiful rainbow on the way to my beach walk. I know its a natural phenomenon, but it also feels like “psssssttt” from God. It reminded me to listen. It reminded me that these beautiful things can happen in the in-between places. Where light meets mist. Where water meets land. These are the places I am again and again called back to. The liminal places, the no-mans-land. They are the most wild and awe inspiring, and sometimes the most lonely and dangerous. And yet…this is undeniably where I belong.
Well, today was a whirlwind day. Didn’t get in my peaceful beach walk, or any of that connective quiet listening time, but it was a delightful day. Jeff took on the kids so that I could go to Epcot Food and Wine Festival with two friends. It was a fun day of being care free, not having to be in charge of anyone, and going with the flow. So while there was no intentional theological basis, it does seem to connect with a lesson the universe is trying to teach me…and maybe Elsa is trying to teach me too…Let it go. I spend a lot of time efforting, and that’s not all bad, but what can be defeating is the expectations that go along with that effort. I’ve got to set some of that stuff down. And today was about being care free…an unusual posture for me. And it was really nice. Have I said how grateful I am?
A brand new day. Who knows what lessons there will be for me? We close on our new home today. It’s a new adventure beginning in a new space. Likewise, I’m at the beginning of this sabbatical adventure. And thanks to this blog effort, I’m beginning to pick up some of the themes that appear to have been divinely planted in this time. I’m still working on it, but there’s something about comparing. My mom used to say, “Compare and despair,” and I’m honoring the truth in that in a new way. I think its behind a lot of my guilt stuff, “I don’t deserve this….look at so-in-so, they work harder or have it harder or need more.” A thought I realize is based off of a meritocracy (autocorrect said meritocrazy…maybe that’s true too) that I profess not to believe in. And the other side of that comparing fuels my unwanted shoulds. He should do that, they should do this…like being armed with all my shoulds somehow protects my identity. Followed not too far behind with the realization that my shoulds for others have no standing at all, because I can’t even get myself inline with all my should…and it just creates more of that guilt or even, my mom’s word, despair. What would it look like to get rid of should all together? Ok….that just all dumped out…perhaps that’s enough to chew on for a bit. #stillgrateful
Not even six AM and I’m up and adam! Not to mention the kids are up too. These wacky kids. We start moving today. Feels like so very much to do, bur I enjoy thinking through the details and getting organized. Guess I’m weird like that. My hope and prayer is to face this day with grace, gentleness, and humility. Hear my prayer O Lord.
So I made the perfect pancakes this morning. Seriously, it was like Martha Stewart up in here. And I didn’t agonize over it, or throw away, or carefully arrange and measure or anything. It just worked out. One of the things I’m learning in this time is that I don’t have to agonize or carry the burden of trying to make things perfect. Sometimes they’ll turn out perfect all on their own. And sometimes, perfect isn’t the best option. Sometimes its the imperfections that have the most power to transform and grow us. I had a friend who said for a thing to be perfect it would have to be dead. Meaning, its no longer becoming better, growing and changing. Who want’s the death that is perfection? I’m trying to convince myself, “not me.” But the pancakes were pretty awesome.
It’s Sunday. My first Sunday of this sabbatical. It’s strange not to be preparing for the Missing Peace gathering, knowing who all is going or interested, putting finishing touches on my message. None of that. Instead, I’m paying bills and setting up services for my move. Perhaps that’s my way of filling the gap so that I still feel busy. Maybe I’ll get better at not filling the space and just allowing some time for sabbath. I continue to struggle with my worth being tied to what I produce…and therefore, if I’m not producing I’m worthless. I know that’s not true…most of the time…but it has a way of worming into my subconscious. I pray that MP goes well, and feel that it will. Jeff and the kids intend to go…without me…weird. All so weird, but oh so grateful in the midst of it.
Trouble sleeping again. So much going on. I think it will be a bit before I can settle into a sabbath rhythm. This move just requires so much. There are projects and cleaning and moving and transferring services and so much. It’s really overwhelming. My heads been killing me to round off that nice little package. But I still have the opportunity to be grateful. Because while its a lot of to dos, we are capable and have help and it will all come together. This time is a busy one, but I can embrace it as a season, not the entirety of my life. (Deep Breath) Just got to keep breathing and take one thing at a time. And what doesn’t get done, that will be okay too…the timeline is only my own.
Holy smokes! I don’t think I sat down all day. I literally didn’t even eat lunch sitting down. This moving business if for the birds! Slowly making progress, and thank God we have plenty of time, but I’m totally worn out. Also, my friend helping me called me bossy. Probably a lesson in there for me. But I think I’m too tired to analyze it at the moment. Phew. Gotta make it at least til the kids bed time…just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep zzzzzzzzzzzz….
Remember how tired I was? Worries I wouldn’t even make it til bedtime? Well, once the opportunity for sleep presents itself, my brain decides to think of every project in the new house and how I want to accomplish it. Oh boy am I tired. And another full day tomorrow. When does this sabbatical start again?
Go, go, go! We really made some progress today, but it was another very full one. I’m looking forward to things slowing down in a couple weeks. Also, heading out of town on Thursday so that will be a change of pace. Today I find myself incredibly grateful for my mother-in-law who did an amazing amount of work today. I find myself grateful for the new home we’ll move into, even with its quirks. It’s a bit like life, right? It’s never totally smooth, not if you take any meaningful risk. And the quirks end up being what makes it interesting, even if its challenging in the mean time. And one more quirky connection…these thoughts make me grateful for my eldest. Who sometimes is my most challenging kid, and my most quirky, but that also makes her so very interesting. Quirky indeed, but more flavorful, colorful, exciting because of it. Help me to remain grateful for our quirky life.
A few moments of quiet before the chaos picks up again. Its a day of more moving, painting, cleaning, organizing, etc etc. Though I do think things are slowing down a bit, and tomorrow I leave, and that will feel quite different! Deep Breath. There is rhythm even in this busy time. There is time to breathe deep and experience gratitude.
Man am I working hard on this house. Phew! I mean morning till night sweating and fixing and painting…its a lot of work, and yet, its really gratifying. A part of me gets why someone would want to do this for a living. There’s some real satisfaction in finishing a project with your own hands, and having it work and be done right. It’s like I’m working muscles I don’t get to work much. And, once again, I’m grateful. Grateful for the chance to do this work. Grateful that I don’t do it all the time. Grateful for the space to breathe and reflect in the midst of it. Something about stepping away from your “normal” gives you a new perspective, it rejuvenates, and you can’t help but feel a deep appreciation for it all.
I actually got up and got fully dressed today…make up and the whole bit. While all the handy work I’ve been up to over the last week has been gratifying in its own way, it feels nice to be clean and put together. I thought I might have forgotten how, but nope. It’s nice to know I can do the sweaty, grimy physically hard work, and still pull myself together to do public speaking and be an expert in my field. Another gratitude for sure.
Well, I thought I got up early enough to both get dressed and have this sacred time to reflect, my two little angels have graced me with an early visit. Time to go into Mom mode. Grace and peace…
My tribe! God does it feel good to be among people who are doing the kind of work I do. People who literally wrote the book on it. So very affirming. It feels like collaboration instead of the incessant feeling of selling or convincing people this work matters. Man that’s nice. I’m already feeling rejuvenated just being in their midst. It’s like returning to base camp after a long stint in the field. Deep Sigh. So grateful.
Super psyched to begin conspiring at this conference. I’ve already met some amazing people, and am sure to meet more. I’m excited to hear their stories and share my own. God is up to something here…I don’t know what, I’m not sure if its a slow burn or an bright ignition, but the force is strong in this place, among these people. I can’t help but feel like I’ve plugged in to something…like an oasis in the desert. But now its time for nourishment and then more engagement. Thankful.
”We see you. You are known here. You belong here. Not because of what you bring or do or offer, but because of who and whose you are.”-Rasheed’s Washington,Conspire Gathering 2018
”Sabbath is an act of protest” -Peter Block quoting Walter Brueggemann, Conspire 2018
I have so very much to unpack from yesterday, but was/am so occupied in being in the midst of it that I don’t have the time just now. And I think that’s okay. But wow…
For now, it is my turn to tell a story today. Its intended to be themed around “activate” and that’s certainly my comfort zone. God, how would you activate your people today?
There once were four women who were put together by a mixture of fate and availability. They had a common desire for friendship and moving their bodies, and began meeting on Tuesday mornings for conversation, connection, and a walk in the neighborhood. Over their time together, the women revealed more and more of their souls to one another. They learned each others fears and each others desires, and they learned about the world they wanted for their children. See all four women are mothers, and in discussing their children they were able to cast a vision, they were able to dream big dreams, that they wouldn’t have felt as important or worthy or possible without the pressing motivation of bringing humans into this world. As if by doing so they became responsible in a new way for what this world is to become.
And so they dreamed of the ways they could help their children become physically healthy with good foods and movement and care. And they dreamed of the ways they could help their children become intellectually healthy wise and thoughtful and empathetic. And they dreamed of a connectedness for their children to the source of all things. And they dreamed of teaching their children to love through serving. And all the while they unknowingly dreamed not just for their children, but for themselves and their friends, and their community.
But their dreams were so powerful, so convicting, and so contagious, that one of the women could no longer allow them to stay in the world of possibles and felt deeply urged to call them into the world of actuals. This was too good, this mattered too much, to leave it as a shell with no breath in it. And so she began to share all these dreams and ideas. She began to hope with an increasingly large group of people. She began to invite people to gather for opportunities to engage themselves physically and think about what that meant to be a human in the image of God, and to think critically and reflect on who that makes you as a child of the divine, and to quiet ourselves and listen for God’s voice, and to become the hands and feet of Christ through serving. And to her surprise, and to the shock of many who thought it impossible, the dreams took on life…the dreams dawned flesh and moved into the neighborhood.
You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t tuned into that loving whisper calling you into the Kingdom. And, because that whisper is made of love, we get a choice. We can leave it a cozy dream we curl up with at night, we can leave it a hope and an idea, we can allow ourselves to hide behind the impossibility of it…or, we can activate.
In the airport. In a sort of stuper after the last couple days. A kind of holy exhaustion I think. And having that moment of “was it real?” and “How do I bring this home?” I’m not sure I get to bring the feeling home, I don’t own it, but I’m better for knowing the feeling exists. I’m better for the friendships I made. I’m better for finding a place, but really its a people, to call home. What an incredible gift and blessing. To really, actually, find an authentic belonging…not just people who love you, but don’t really get you. People who see into you in a different way, people who recognize your divine spark and can name you even when you can’t name yourself. A people who you get to give to and who give to you in this vulnerable equal measure…it feels safe. It feels love.
There are whole groups, large groups, of people all over the country, and I’d venture to guess the world, trying to make it better. And not by their own power, or some contrived plan, but with their divine, authentic essence. Using their unique gifts and honoring others’. And its risky. And its ripe with listening, real listening. And its wrought with lament, but that only makes it stronger. And its active even in and through those things. And its collaborative, co-creating a new reality that will break through this one. And its unexpected and messy and raw, but they, no WE won’t wait to get it all perfect and beautiful. Its happening here and now despite its imperfection. I’ve been welcomed to the Parish Collective, and it feels like home.
I do know how to “bring it home.” My experience at conspire can’t change the world, but it can change me, and if God so chooses, my coconspirators and I can change the world. The world will be different because we are different. It’s impossible for things to stay the same if even one person is changed. So that’s how I’ll bring it home. I’ll change. I’ll be different in light of our time. I’ll bring the sincerity, authenticity and light that is mine to share out into the world. I can’t unsee, I can’t untaste, I can’t unhear this past few days. Help me live it out and share it.
Another hard, long day of moving. I know people say it all the time, but for real…how do we have this much stuff? And I consider myself a pretty good purger of unnecessary items. Alas, there is much to do.
Coming down from the mountain top experience, and its a hard landing into all this manual labor. But perhaps its done with a bit more grace. I’m so grateful for my mother in law who worked her butt off today. And for my new neighbors who hosted all the kiddos (like 8 of em!) for an impromptu water balloon fight and some pleasant conversation. A lot of settling in yet to do, but it was a good day and I believe there are many more to come. But now…rest…
You guessed it, more moving today. Its gratifying to get a lot done, but also exhausting. I did my yoga this morning, but have not been making time for my beach walks. After this week I’ll definitely get back to them…maybe before the end of the week. But life is like that sometimes. There are seasons of busyness and seasons that are less so. The trick I think is to not get so far off course that its difficult to find your way back. You’ve got to keep checking your compass, keep doing the things that align you with your center, your essence, your divine spark. And when time or life or chaos or trauma doesn’t allow for that for a period, get back to it as soon as possible. In fact, those are likely the things that will help you heal.
Right now, I commit to get back to my sabbath practices of beach walking, reading, and yoga by 10/22/18. Let it be. Amen.
These two little angels! They are working together, listening to classical music, and doing their homework with no fuss. Wow. While this moment of heaven is not our everyday, it is absolutely lovely. It allows me to see past all the busyness and right into their sweet little beings. I am totally smitten in this moment. It was a long day (tired of hearing that yet?), there were only about 3 hours of sleep, and I worked like a dog…and none the less, I am totally content. And totally grateful.
Ahhhhh, a good nights rest does wonders! While so much remains to do, I’ll take a different pace today. And it will be okay. I’m learning that my efficient and linear timelines don’t usually leave space for some of the things I hold most important. Like reflection and connection. And the reality is, while it would be nice to get all the things on my list done this week, my list isn’t the most important one. There is a better list in the universe for me, and while it doesn’t involve checking off all my to dos, it does involve a whole lot of meaning and love, grace and compassion. And in that light, its much more clear which “list” I want. So today, we’ll slow down a touch. In fact, if I didn’t get a single moving task done today, it would be okay…but lets not get crazy here. Lol.
I built a closet today. Technically, I built two closets. It was hard and sweaty and frustrating at times, but it feels good to have finally completed the job. Even after the set backs…maybe even because of the set backs.
Afterward, still basking in my accomplishment I was listening to Rob Bell’s Jesus H. Christ series on the Robcast. And he was talking about the difference between efficient, strong, “hammer” power and the Jesus kind of power…the alluring, nourishing, gentle kind. He talked about the metaphors Jesus used for the kingdom and how they were so often these small things that grew or spread over time.
The thing is, I’ve often coveted the apparent success of fast growing, efficient, “hammer” power kind of things. And these experiences, my own sweat and labor coupled with these Jesus reflections, makes me think that might not be what I want at all. Sure, there’s a time and place for the hammer, but that’s the button our culture hits so much more frequently, and my hunch is the other kind is the one I need. Dare I venture that the world needs?
*snap* And just like that I missed a day. Not that its major to miss one day recording my sabbatical adventures, but my intention was to write every day. The days have been so very busy from beginning to end. And so very similar one to the next. But I think the whole world, every day and every one, are my teacher. So what do I have to learn? In missing a day, for me, I think its about grace and imperfection. I’ve been having some realizations about perfection and imperfection. I don’t think anyone wants to be, strives to be, imperfect and yet, that’s where the life is. See perfect things don’t grow and change and learn and transform…that only happens to the imperfect, the unfinished, the still going. So maybe imperfect is the goal, or part of it. And it makes space for grace. The world didn’t fall apart due to my imperfect blogging. Overly dramatic, I know, but nothing happened…except for a new or at least reemphasized lesson for me about not being perfect…and that’s a good thing. Maybe that means I don’t have to carry around the burdensome stress of not getting it all right…firstly, because I can’t, secondly, what’s right anyway, and lastly, because that’s where the life is.
So we survived moving day. Not that we haven’t been moving all along, but yesterday was the big push. We are officially moved in. Slept last night in our new home. As an enneagram 1 (if that means nothing to you, click here. You’re welcome.) , I have a tendency to see what’s wrong with things, situations, people…ugh, right? On the bright side, it makes me a good problem solver, a good decision maker, I see where the need is and I can react quickly. On the other hand, the more obvious hand, it can be a really negative place. I look around this new house, and I struggle to see all we’ve already accomplished…the house is almost fully decorated, it has great space and nice looking kitchen and living spaces. Its really a great house…mostly. What’s far easier for me to see, the more natural and obvious place to go, is to see the little cracks in the facade. The wobbly faucet, the uneven tile square, the rotting garage door, the fans that need moving, the lack of storage…I could make this list go forever. And, the reality is, just because I can see every chink in the armor, doesn’t mean its my job to fix it. Doesn’t even mean it needs fixing. I think this is another of my sabbatical lessons. Not taking on every imperfection…fighting the imperfect is not my calling! And I know this, I just get easily distracted by the little broken places, especially ones I can fix and then feel accomplished. But that’s a dangerous game. You start to think you’re in control of things, and then bearing a burden far to heavy for yourself. Ahah! Matthew 11 has come up a lot for me in the last few days. There’s a part where Jesus talks about his burden being light, and like he’ll trade ya. I’m thinking now, this isn’t necessarily about Jesus taking on your junk…but is his way of saying, you don’t have to carry it friend. Seriously, you’re gaining nothing by worrying about all these little things that need fixing, and further more, its distracting you from your true identity, your true calling, by your divine parent. Woah. Fingers discovered that before my brain. Gotta chew on that a bit.
We just WALKED to the beach. Wow. We live close enough to get their on foot, and it was awesome. This morning feels like fall…I was cold in my tank top…and the waves, and the sun rising, I’m just in awe. I’m refreshed. I’m grateful.
Goodbye Old Friend Hello New Adventure
Well, its done. Fully and completely sold our old house, and completely moved in to our new house. It’s a vat of mixed emotions. I went through the old house this morning thanking each room for what it offered our family, and had a little cry. It’s funny how we can become attached to things. There was just so much love and life and challenges and so much that happened there. It leaves me feeling a little tired. Maybe a lot tired.
Last night we sat around the table in the new place and played cards. We said a prayer for our new home and all our hopes for the life we’ll live here. The kids prayed for laughter and fun, we prayed for the love and adventures we’ll have together. There’s much to do and discover in this new place. And this new season. And this new season of life.
Hasty writing over hasty bites of burrito. A late lunch, and later blog contribution. Am I failing and sabbatical? she wonders. It’s been said (maybe Richard Rohr?) that hurrying is the enemy of the spiritual. Or something like that. Can she be this busy, and be/have/do sabbath? Isn’t this the same thinking that got her in such urgent need of sabbath? Just let me finish this next project, she thinks. But there’s always another project, from here to eternity. You have to slow down. You have to make the space…you have to allow the space….you have to protect the space for the sabbath. Even though its not measured. Even though it feels unproductive (that’s kinda the point). Even if it feels like a waste of time. Do it anyway. Otherwise, you’ll work away this whole sabbatical. Perhaps she is uncomfortable with the stillness. Ahah. That sounds like truth. Slow down. Protect the time. This is the most important thing you can do with your time right now.
These crisp (by Florida standards) Fall mornings are incredible. Walking the kids to the bus stop, then walking along the beach before returning home are an incredible way to start the day. And I’m so very grateful.
The beach this morning was a little stinky and covered in sea weed. The tide was high and there wasn’t much hard sand to walk on. This made my walk shorter, and harder. And sometimes that’s just how it is. Annnnddd, there are lessons even in that. The friendly faces I saw, also slogging through the unideal conditions. The breeze. The sound of the waves. The fresh ocean air. All drawing me back to this special space where worlds meet. The good always outweighs the bad…if you look for it. If you pay attention. Please God don’t let me stop paying attention. Help me slow down and value the “unideal” the “unproductive” as much as its counterpart. Because I wasn’t created just to do, to preform, to produce. That’s not even the most essential part of who I am. Breathe. Slow Down. Imprint some patterns for when the season changes…and for now.
Met with Dr. Baer yesterday. Count this a glowing recommendation for Dr. Baer in particular and psychotherapy in general. Such a very helpful practice. However, I’m reminded of a long circling revelation that I put too much value on what I produce, on my capability and productivity. In our time together, I was able to trace that back to a sense that I never really felt like fit in or was accepted for being me. I had to perform. And that if I wasn’t performing, achieving, producing, then where was my value…cause it was never in being particularly pretty or particularly smart or particularly athletic or whatever categories we assign people into. Because I couldn’t isolate and point out what made me valuable to the world (which clearly my inner child thinks has to do with beauty, smarts, or sports), then I had to compensate with effort. Ugh. These vices of ours. They may make you feel good for a moment, but then you need a bigger dose to feel good again, until you can’t handle it…like a drug. And unfortunately, if your drug is productivity, the outside world infinitely affirms it. Ugh again.
But what the deeper, truer, divine part of me knows, is that none of those things makes any one of us valuable. We are beloved children. We are loved for that reason and that reason alone. Unconditional, divine love. Our value is in our being, not our doing or appearance or abilities. But if I believe that, then its not a thing I can achieve or earn and therefore feel like I control. yea. exactly. And maybe that control, achieve, earn stuff…maybe it isn’t serving me anyway. I’m not saying veer all the way off the charts into permanent nap time, but that’s a lie anyway…that the only choices are over function or under function…and its not a perfect, flawless balance. Who can do that? No, instead its releasing. I think. Its trusting. Perhaps. It’s like Forest Gump, running when you need to run and resting when you need to rest and trusting that that is okay and enough and you are loved no matter.
***update…I haven’t recommitted to my yoga practice, besides my 10 daily sun salutations. maybe next week?***
This may be the very first moment to myself (besides trying to nap off a migraine) in the last three days. And, I had to get up early to get it. But that’s really okay, don’t hear me as complaining…I think I’m more like being defensive that I haven’t written. Either way, we’re at the “happiest place on Earth” with a number of other families, and by and large its a good time.
I’m learning some things about who I want to be in the world. How I’m changing. At the moment I’m not sure I like them all…it feels like growing up. It feels like I sometimes grasp at thing my 20 something self would enjoy and my 30 something self goes, “um, no thanks.” And part of me knows that there is no reason to resist (and its actually impossible anyway), and part of me is trying to cling to old things I labeled as fun instead of embracing new things…or just being a new version of myself in the midst of “old things.” But its confusing…and, I’m being super vague, but largely I’m talking about drinking alcohol. Many of us would not label ourselves as having a “problem” with alcohol. I certainly wouldn’t label myself an alcoholic. But I’m starting to learn, there’s no version of having more than one drink that I feel good about…physically, emotionally, hormonally…any of it. So why have more? No good reason. It in no way helps me become who I want to become.
Well, that went off in a particular direction I wasn’t expecting. We have one more night here at Fort Wilderness cabins (and with a golf cart its really quite fun!), and I’m going to attempt to enjoy it in ways that fill my soul and connects with my family.
Well, it happened again. The sun came up, a new day dawned. And with it, new potential, new possibilities, new everything. I mean, quite literally we are new each day, made up of a new combination of cells that didn’t exist the day before. New opportunities that were totally and utterly impossible before right now. New hope for the world. Hope for compassion and love to take hold and wrench the steering wheel from fear and its disguise named anger. Let it be.
This is my space. The space that feels so much like home, and yet there’s this part of me that says because it is not productive it is not valuable…or because I am not productive I am not valuable. This is a lie. It is completely untrue, and I am learning to live…faltering and in fits and spurts…to live beyond that lie. To know that my worth comes from a totally different place. And that there’s deep truth, like deeper truth than the world will ever tell me, in that.
Breathe. Be still. There is every bit as much value in that as there is in what you effort and produce dear child. You are loved for who and what you are, not what you do.
The best thing I’ve ever done after this…
God I am so grateful to live here. It makes my heart sing, and heal, and hope.
Also, halloween was wonderful. It just needs the yin to that energetic, frenetic yang. And this, for me, was totally it.
I’ve had a couple revelations recently. The first, regarding my call. My calling is to create space. Space to experience the divine and connect in meaningful ways. To create space to where we dig under the surface of who we are and why. Of why we want to be together, and who the divine is and how those are inextricable. The rest of what I do, or that tugs at my vocational skirt, is extra. Not meaningless or useless or unnecessary, but if I’m feeling pulled in too many directions, the one that looks like creating space is first. (Vocationally that is…family and relationship and self health will not be sacrificed for this.)
The second, regarding my home. I was (maybe still am a little) grieving the sell of my old home and the move to this new one. And every little issue we find in the new house adds weight to that in a way, like it confirms a story I’m telling myself. But my revelation is that my old home’s story was about our family finding ourselves and our place. It was about learning how to care for a home and family and looking inward. This new home’s story is more about reaching out and connecting, about hosting and hospitality. Neither is to the exclusion of the other, but it helps me understand this place to have a sense of its story. And its a lovely story indeed…as our first gathering last night was proof of.
There will be many lovely gatherings here. And I (we) will grow in new ways here. It also reminds me to make space to love each other fiercely, to hug and hold and practice gratitude together.
Another revelation. Thank you Great Revealer!
Listening to the Robcast and he was talking about a story from Mark about the Gerasene Demoniac. And the part that struck me (take a chance to listen to it…soooo good), was about naming the thing that is hindering you. Jesus asks this guy that is in so much suffering, the text says possessed, what his name is. And he says “legion” a Roman military term. Possibly exactly what would have been oppressing and enslaving this man and his village. And Jesus sets him free. He was always doing that sort of thing, setting people free from what is enslaving them. Okay, there are like a million layers to this, but that naming thing and how its attached to being made free really stuck to me.
Then, today, a dear friend called. She described a story she had been reading about a woman who was too shy to follow her sense of call in the world. Or so she thought, but when she was able to name the real problem as fear, not shyness, she was set free, and pursued her dream. And my friend, she shared with me her own naming of her real problem…one she’d always characterized as some other hinderance. But by naming, really naming the real issue…well, its still in progress…but my hunch is, the path seems to be, freedom.
So finally, to my own revelation. Ugh, hard to acknowledge. My own thing…my enslaving, burdensome, oppressive narrative I tell myself…that I’m a burden. It invades everything I do. “Are you sure you have time” I always ask people, with the unspoken rest of the sentence being to meet with the burden that is me. I want to say call this a name it, claim it, tame it moment…but its not as tidy and quick as all that. For now, I’ve named it, and I believe that to be the path to freedom from it.
I haven’t felt like I have words. Nothing valuable to share anyway. A bit of a chaotic weekend. A bit of malaise. Still haunted by all that needs doing and remains undone. And that is, in a word, exhausting. How do I pace myself better? I think this is one of the keys to life for me. I’m a sprinter, and need to improve my distance skills. I’m gone 3 weeks this month (well, a chunk of three different weeks anyway). And then, its December. Trying to stay present, but oh so aware of how fast time is going. May this week hold a wonderfully balanced recipe of solitude, learning, rest, friendship, and family. Amen.
So the time changed, but it didn’t occur to me that it would mean missing the sun rise. See I usually walk to the beach after I take the kids to the bus stop, and still make the majority of the sunrise. But with the time change, she’s well into the sky before I arrive. However…its still incredibly beautiful.
So even when its not what you expect. Even when you don’t get the thing you thought you wanted, there is still space for incredibly beauty, wonder and awe. So grateful.
This week, I intend to slow down a bit on all the projects. To focus on more of the being, writing, contemplating, reading kind of time. I enjoy all the doing, but I know that there is great benefit in the other as well. We’ll see if I’m able…with God’s help all things are possible, right?
Well, no sleep last night. I stayed up all night binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. Why? Well, I’m not sure really. I’m still wrestling with how to be still. How to really quiet everything and wait. I’ve underestimated how much busyness and productivity is tied to my identity. So there’s a sense of losing myself as I try to set some of that aside. Not because I think productivity is a bad thing, but if it is tied up with your (my) sense of worth, it becomes an idol. It becomes a drug. And I’m addicted. Coming up in a family that struggled with addiction, I don’t take that lightly. There’s a real danger of allowing it to swallow me up, my productivity addiction. And the thing is, it’s only a small high, followed by a pretty sharp low. Its not sustainable. And, its not God. I can’t worship my productivity or rely on it to make me feel good and valuable and happy. It is not my source or my essence. That is something much more sacred, much more divine. And its always there. It’s not something I can earn or force or effort. It just is.
It strikes me that theres a catch to unconditional love. Ha. How’s that for a statement, its seems like an oxymoron, right? But the catch is, you can’t earn it. You can’t force it. You can’t manipulate it or make it happen or control it or coerce it in any way. You just have to live in knowing it is and be grateful. My dad used to say to me, “There’s nothing you could ever do to make me love you any more or any less.” And part of me things, no matter how good I am you won’t love me more? But that’s the dark side of it for sure. The truth in that is that its all already, irrevocably, undeniably mine. All the love is mine. That’s GOOD news!
So many layers of this in scripture. Mary and Martha encouraging us from the busyness and the affirmation of productivity to the quietness of being. The Prodigal Son reminding us we remain loved no matter what, or for the older brother: its all already yours! The constant call of the gospels back to grace and compassion and love that I’ve always read as a to do, I now realize is for me to hold toward myself too. And I don’t know how…
I’ve been reminded several times lately to be gentle to myself. I keep turning it over in my mind, but I can’t even fathom it. What does that mean? I’m parsing it, but I think I need some more of that quiet stuff to pin it down. I have some mental glimpses…like being gentle with my children. But I don’t know that I’m great at that either. Gentleness…you aren’t done with me.
Yesterday was a disaster turned adventure. In the morning, my eldest comes running into my room crying and reporting a puddle she had slipped in…in the kitchen. What kind of puddle? How big a puddle? How’d it get there? What did you spill? And so, we went to check it out. And yall, it was quite the puddle. Stretched across a roughly 4×4 space between the kitchen and dining room was Florida’s newest lake. What the hell? And the space it was in, where did it come from? I think I stared at if for several minutes just not knowing what to do first. The kids need to get ready for school. Do I call a plumber? What about our home warrant? Do I tell Jeff first? Do I put down towels or leave it for the plumber to see? The kids need to get ready for school!! So we opted for some towels, and the “normal” routine. Sparing you some boring details in between, we are out a dishwasher, and now aware of a pretty slanted floor…hence the water pooling in such a strange space.
I just had to get out of my house. So, I went for a coffee in my favorite spot and brought a book. Lo and behold, two friends show up and we end up having coffee together. And then, we end up at a tattoo parlor! I didn’t get one (yet), but a friend did and it was exciting. I joined another friend to just run some errands, and the day was redeemed!
I guess ya never know how God will turn disasters into adventures. Maybe that’s a good reason not to worry so much about the so called disasters. I certainly spend a fair amount of time fretting or thinking what could be done differently. Like if i can just be perfect enough, then I can avoid any disaster. Nope. That’s not how it works. Plus. I just might miss out on some awesome adventures.
Well, I did a thing. I was super nervous, but once I was there it was so…right. I mumbled my gratitudes for the artist and his gifts. I whispered my hopes of peace and love and goodness into his work. I lifted every ounce of hope I had out of my heart and into this tattoo. May it bring more peace. To me, to anyone who sees it, to my work and calling. May God use it for good I can’t imagine, connection I never guessed, and peace beyond possibility. It was sacred. It was holy. Who knew body art could be all that? I now have a permanent reminder of this sacred time I’ve been gifted. Amen.
A fun and busy long weekend with Veterans Day. Not a lot of quiet time, but now I’m in an airport and on my way to a retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. This will be Sabbath time. No choice in it. It’s a good reset when I find myself hitting the productivity hard. I just hope I can bring some of it home. Not in a capture it in a box kind of way, but an engrain it in me kind of way. Not that I’ll never need a recharge, but may it infuse me with a renewed sense of who I am, and the stillness, the constant at my center.
I’ve realized in reading back through my words in this blog, repeating themes, recurring words around worth, productivity, unconditional love. Show me more God, that I might learn these instead of regurgitating them again and again. Amen.
Off to the next plane! Grace and peace.
This place. Due to some gliches and “adventures” I don’t have time to record the deep breath that is this place…but here’s a snap shot. More to come.
(Side note on my adventure this morning. I went down to the cafeteria this morning to get a cup of coffee and write. I had been told coffee started at 7 and breakfast at 7:30. What a great idea, right?! This Florida girl is not well prepared for this below freezing weather, so I high tailed it down for that coffee and some quiet time to write. Just as I’m becoming convinced that some part of me might actually freeze and fall off, I reach the cafeteria. Juggling my laptop and phone and water cup, I reach for the door…and its locked. No worries, probably just went to the wrong door. I reach for the next door. Locked. I begin to ponder how long it might take for a Floridian to freeze, cause surely its faster for us than for people from colder climates. And then I see it…a cracked ladies room door. I shuffle over quickly and go inside….ahhhh, sweet warmth. But I’m in a bathroom, and my frozen brain has decided I’m not supposed to be there. So, I start tippy toeing around this little bathroom jumping at every noise, afraid that someone is going to hear me and force me to go back to the frozen tundra to die! All of which I now know is ridiculous, but my frozen, coffee-less brain was sure that someone hearing me in that bathroom meant I wasn’t going to get out of this place alive. So when I thought it had been long enough, I creeped back out of the bathroom door, and around to the front doors, which were blessedly unlocked now, and see a handful of people sitting inside drinking coffee like its just a regular day. I think I’m going to start calling these little episodes disastventures.)
The austere beauty of this place. You can’t help but take deep breaths here. (Yes, that’s snow on the ground.)
In our devotional time this morning, we talked about loss. Each of us has faced it and most of us are still in some way. I shared about my grief of moving from one place to the next, but the joy of honoring the past home’s story and embracing this new home’s story. It was an emotional devotional.
Something occurred to me afterward though. What about my grief at the “loss” of Missing Peace. I know its not a permanent loss like the ones we discussed this morning, but I haven’t processed how I feel about it at all. I mostly have ignored it and allowed myself a somewhat blissful numbness. But that’s only a surface layer. There’s things underneath.
How does it feel not to be in charge of Missing Peace, this thing God built through you, this thing you’ve worried about day and night for three years, this thing you’ve fought for over and over, sold the idea again and again, put so much sweat and tears in to…how does it feel not to be the one pulling the levers and hitting the buttons? It feels like space to do other things. It feels like trusting the people that are a part of it. It feels a little judgey sometimes like “that’s not how I’d do it.” It feel surreal, like maybe its all actually on pause or I am or the world is. It feels right, and restful, and safe. It doesn’t feel like a loss…it feels more like putting a sauce on simmer so the flavors get just right, or aging a fine wine so it can ferment and taste just right, it feels like a season, a winter, and it will bloom again. It feels like its all really open as to what happens next. And that’s all I really know to say about it.
I feel like there should be some angsty fearful stuff, some wrestling with it stuff, but I just can’t find it. Maybe as this sabbatical time comes to a close, but for now, it just feels right and safe.
I do want to do a better job of protecting this time…being thoughtful about how I spend it. Like aware. In the Robcast (am I a fan or what) this morning, he was talking with a musical artist about creating songs…or really creating anything. They talked about the effort of creating, the thing itself, and then this other piece, the Spirit of the thing. Like the thing that’s not you and not the recipient, the other. That’s the thing I want to honor, listen for, pay attention to.
On the cast they were talking about if you’re not fully in that creativity zone, like if you’re thinking about how it will be perceived, or what you’ll look like performing it, or how to manipulate it for the result you want, instead of being fully present, that it removes you from the process in a way. That its like you divide yourself into the you that’s creating and another you that’s observing and measuring and judging, and in that way you are bifurcated and not fully present in what you’re nurturing into existence. That rang important, true, real to me.
May I be so deeply present that all the observations and judgements and worries can be released. May I honor the Spirit that breathes life into ideas in a way I never could on my own. May I be open to the transformation happening right now and breathe it deeply in.
Another awesome experience of time spent with like-minded colleagues. What an incredibly gift. I lead our closing devotional today, and invited the group into the story of the last supper. What might Jesus and his friends discussed? I ventured that they might have talked about the best parts of their journey together. And so did we. It was moving that each of us recounted a relational experience, instead of the more tangible ones. No one said the hike to the top of the Mesa or a very neat trip to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Instead it was about moving devotional time, a sense of acceptance, safe space…I wondered with my colleagues if that’s what Jesus and his friends might have said too. And then, we broke bread together, and ate grapes instead of wine (it was breakfast after all), and it was..everything…hard to describe for the magnitude of it…so reaching and so specific…so close and so far…so encompassing and so specific. It was beautiful. I’m so very grateful for these stories that bond us together. Both our own and the thousands years old stories of our radical teacher.
I’m headed home again. Changed, and the same, in ways impossible to describe with words. But my deep hope is that like some magical, yet logical, butterfly effect, there will be lasting ripples of our mystical yet grounded time together. Let it be.
Genuine time off…Happy Thanksgiving. So very much to be grateful for.
I just arrived in Austin, TX to be part of the Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment team. I’m looking forward to the experience. Both the opportunity to encourage missional leaders and as a potent reminder of my own DML in this same place.
I have an overwhelming sense all of this is building to something…but its not clear what…still. But that’s how discernment/calling/God does so often.
On the way here I watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” I couldn’t resist as I’ve been reading Fred Rogers Biography (“The Good Neighbor”). And I heard a message about leaning in. About not trying so hard to straddle all the possibilities, but to lean in to the one that is yours to do. I feel like the next steps for me and for Missing Peace may look dramatically different than the ones leading to now. I don’t say that to in anyway indict the steps taken so far, merely it seems a shift or a turn is coming. I don’t have a lot of clarity about it, but I’m thinking some of it is around frequency of when we meet and trying so hard to make it look like or feel like church-ish. Like trying to justify its existence by making it enough like church to pass Presbytery standards…which, really it hasn’t. It feels like that might have been barking up the wrong tree. Perhaps I’m called to something radically different, even if that means criticism or lack of support or whatever it means…that didn’t deter Fred Rogers…or Jesus for that matter. And I don’t think I’m either one of those fellas, but both of them are pretty good role models.
I’m not sure what all this means yet, but I’d guess in the not too distant future this paragraph feels like foreshadowing. God has a way of doing that. I am, however, feeling confident in my calling to create space. Space that allows for meaning and connection. And that my calling is what I’m to lean in to. I imagine more of that will be illuminated as I get closer to it.
I’m also inspired by Fred Rogers to slow down a bit. To take more time to listen closely to my kids…not just saying the right things, but really listening. And to do a better job of loving people…just the way they are. Man Rev. Rogers was the master of that. I loved this line where Francois Clemmons responds to a song Rogers sings about loving you just the way you are asking, “Were you talking to me?” Rogers says, “I’ve been talking to you for two years, you’ve just finally heard me.” That’s a potent, divine brand of love I want to be part of my story. Much more of my story than how many things I could do or accomplish or produce.
It’s neat to be back here fr the DML. It’s fun to meet the “next class” of church planters. And it’s an interesting position to be on the assessor side. As a Meyers Briggs J, assessing or judging, comes pretty easy to me. But I find when I’m in a position where its expected I’m a little more reluctant. I guess it’s just different, the million little judgement calls we I make each day, quietly, in my own mind, is very different from presenting some kind of idea to others. Then again, that’s not really how the process works. It is more about listening and mirroring, educating folks about what it means and requires to be a church planter, helping guide people toward their calling. And that’s really quite lovely.
This morning I’m responsible for worship and a discussion on Missional Theology versus a theology of mission. Here’s how I’m thinking it will go.
Let’s take a moment to catch our breath. Take a slow deep inhale, and a slow steady exhale. Again. When you take your inhale and fill all the way up, see if you can take just a few more little sips of air, and let it all out. Slow and steady, as deeply as you can.
In most of our lives we take this little shallow sips of air. We hardly think about it at all. And it is enough to get us by. But when we breathe deeply, we expand our capacity, we see that much more is possible and we are refreshed and renewed. In….2…3…out…2…3… The same could be said for our spiritual self. We go through life taking these shallow spiritual sips, a muttered “thank God”, a beautiful sunset, unexpected grace. We smile and move on. And its enough to get us through. But when we gather together to worship, we expand our capacity, we see that much more is possible, and we are refreshed and renewed. In….2….3….out…2…3… We’ll take the next moment in silence, and I encourage you to really try and clear your mind or just repeat a phrase with your breath. Something that will keep you present and listening, but not actively thinking. There is nothing else you need to do in this moment, but be here and present together. In…2…3…out…2…3…
1 minute silence
Ring the bowl. Please offer up a word to add to our prayers as you feel led.
Yesterday we all shared a bit about why we are here. And those were all true and good, but today I a propose that you were sent here. That in response to the gospel we are a sent people. That you have a gift so beautiful that you were unique crafted to share in ways you know and ways you have yet to discover. Listen now for the word of God.
Jonah 1, 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.”
Jeremiah 29, 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare
John 1, 14 The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
Luke 10, 10 After this the Lord appointed seventy[a] others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.
John 14, 11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it.
Mark 16, 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[a] to the whole creation.
We are undeniably a sent people. We are not alone. We are not doing this work of our own will, but of our heavenly fathers.
My my, where does the time go? I mean that though. This sabbatical time has really flown by. And now there are but 20 days left. And the revelations keep coming.
The DML experience was a great one for me. Taking part in helping new leaders discern, revisiting my own discernment, time with people in the movement who “get it.” All really wonderful. When we were examining the Strengths Finder I had a new take. Or maybe deeper more than new. In looking at all these amazing leaders and their varied gifts, it was like looking at the kingdom. Not because they were perfect, but because they all had these unique gifts and strengths and vision and calling. And it was awesome.
I think I’ve been operating out of a place of scarcity, on a few levels. Like meeting all these amazing people and seeing all there amazing gifts reminded me that all that is needed is already there. The gifts, the ideas, the people, its all right there. We each just have to lean into our strengths and learn to see and honor those in others. “Just” may not be appropriate there, cause its a big job and very hard to see beyond your own lens, but what a beautiful vision! And it means no need to beg and plead and run ourselves ragged trying to get the job done. All that is needed is there. Can we hold it loosely enough and lean into the abundance of gifts enough to let it happen?
Same with time. I drive myself pretty nuts trying to be as efficient as possible and meet every timeline. I probably drive others nuts with it too. But it occurs to me that is operating out of a lens of scarcity of time. If I don’t pack every moment, if I don’t do everything as efficiently as possible (and encourage others to do the same), then there might not be enough time! But for what? Time for what? And if I’m packing every minute its like, what are you saving it for? I will probably always be a pretty efficient and time oriented person. But I hope that I can grow into valuing the slow a bit more. Appreciating the now instead of the next. Build in a bit more time so things don’t feel rushed. And…so there’s enough time to breathe, and be grateful for all of the wonderful things that beg my attention.
We get this one, thrilling life. And sometimes that feels like a call to pack as much in as possible. I’ve certainly chosen breadth of depth a good deal of the time. But I wonder, and I think I hope, that its about more than packing it all in. That there are these small, sacred moments all the time if we can just slow down enough to bear witness to them. A love-filled embrace from my daughter. A discovery together. A good meal with friends. Walking alone on the beach. Reading. Writing a letter. All of these little moments make up my life. These are what I want to define it. Not how much I can pack in and rush around.
Let it be.
I can’t get enough of the beach in the morning. I do still miss the actual sun rise, but wow was this beautiful. The sun giving a little peak-a-boo, the reflection of the water, the comfortable solitude. I’m a raging extrovert, but this is a really safe and comforting kind of loneliness out on the sand. Where the land meets the sea…its a holy loneliness.
So its finally happened. The thing my mother warned me about. All those times I said “I’m bored.” And she responded, “One day you’ll wish you were bored.” Up til now, I never had (who would want to be bored?), but its happened at last. A day without a todo list, a day where the projects are done and I have to wonder how I will fill my day. I guess I thought that’s what Sabbatical would be like. Maybe it is for some, but not for this productivity addicted extrovert! So for me, I’ll have to consciously craft that “bored” sabbath space. It is a gift of mine to always be able to intuit or see what needs doing. But even our gifts need to be shut down sometimes.
I attempted to craft some down time yesterday, and just never got to it. So today, I’ll do differently…or not do…or try to not try…I’m no good at this, but grace abounds. And, I’ll make down time first, then there is no possibility of postponing it into oblivion.
“Time to us is sarcasm a slick treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives. Shrinking therefore, from facing time, we escape for the shelter to things of space.” ~Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath
Way to call me out Abe.
“(One) must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of (hu)man.” ~Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath
Abe calls me out again….right out of my already hustly bustly day…that’s supposed to be sabbatical. My mantra today, “there is enough time.” And right now, there is enough time to keep reading…even with my extensive to do list. I am not creating the world, and it will survive without my help.
“The Sabbath is the inspirer, the other days the inspired” ~Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath.
So if I hope to be inspired and nurture my seed of eternity, so that I might be all the kinds of human I want to be (teacher, leader, parent, wife, friend, etc) then I must truly protect that time. I can’t be who I want to be without the space to become her.
I’m a 1 on the Enneagram as well as a J on the Meyers Briggs. This means I can see problems quickly, and make decisions quickly to solve them. It also means, sometimes all I can see are the problems, the things that need fixing, and not the progress made or all that’s right. I have trouble seeing patterns and what events or symptoms lead to what outcomes. Pros and cons…but what I know is, this outlook can be defeating. It drives me, but it also makes me never feel finished or satisfied. But the first step to addressing it is naming it, and knowing that all my perceived to dos are just that, my to dos. They aren’t all necessary right this moment, and getting myself all worked up about them (or getting others worked up about them), is just not helpful.
“Be gentle with yourself” and others too. Deep breath. I’m trying. This is my prayer.
This house is officially warm. There were probably 60 or 70 people who came by yesterday, and they brought with them so much joy and laughter. But also, themselves…the things unsaid behind their eyes, their stress and worry…and it was okay. It was beautiful even. This home was truly built to entertain…no, to welcome and engage. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and the blessing to have this great space and so many great friends and neighbors to share it with.
After three weeks of traveling, and preparing to host so many friends, I’m looking forward to a lot of down time this week. I’m committed to it! There won’t be any construction or repairs. There won’t be any large projects or parties. There won’t be any moving or anything else. Just a normal, quiet week, and the opportunity for reading, reflecting, writing, and connecting with friends.
I have some guilt that more of my time on this sabbatical hasn’t been the “down” time I expected. But it has been different. Looking for the lessons, looking for God, paying attention to growth and transformation in a new way. These are things I can really take back into real life. And maybe Sabblogical becomes a normal thing…an always place to reflect and continue to grow.
There’s a hovering-just-outside-my-peripheral sense that Missing Peace is going to transform next year. That 2019 is the year it blooms into the next version of itself, and that’s really exciting. It’s life and death and winter and spring and resurrection…its all the things and its magical and scary and awesome and so God. What will the universe reveal to us? I can’t wait to find out.
I have been actively avoiding writing. I’ve been listless and unmotivated. Perhaps its related to this sabbatical time coming to and end. It’s gone so quickly. And I have all this guilt that I didn’t do it right, or well enough or something. Ugh…my curse. It always seems like “not enough” because I have internalized a sense of not enough. And because I’m actually following through with not filling all my time with household projects or travel or other commitments, how do I justify myself? Part of me quietly knows that I don’t have to. That like the prodigal son and the lost sheep and the lost coin, I am valued and desired and loved no matter what. Can I live into that without my productivity drug? Well. Let’s see. I may be done blogging this…or maybe at least until my sabbatical is officially over. I’m going to lay low. Be unproductive. Slow down. Maybe not even record my experience…but who knows. Can I see myself as valuable without my to do list? It’s time to find out. Because my value isn’t in my productivity anyway, that’s adiaphora, my value is in who I am and whose I am. Deep breath. Here we go.
Who was I kidding, I can’t quit you. Though it did get dark there for a bit. The struggle with trying to live out your passion, your calling, that one special thing that is uniquely for you and you for it (but no pressure right), and feeling like (regardless of how true or not its the feeling) that it doesn’t matter. That the thing you are pouring so much of yourself into (and the long list of things you are forgoing to do so), and it might not matter at all. Its kind of devastating. I didn’t get all the way to “there is not God” but I got to a place of “there is no soul.” With some perspective, rest, and other good things for my soul, I realize that living out who I am meant to be cannot be a function of who others are. So while my life’s work is based on the nourishment of a spirit/a soul that I recently questioned the existence of, ultimately I have to keep being who I am, answering my calling, regardless of the results for anyone else. It’s back to holding it loosely. But also, super tricky to care deeply and passionately, and hold it loosely enough to not the results dictate who I am. I guess no one really gets to see all the effects of their life’s calling played out. Most of them won’t play out till I’m dead anyway. Huh. Funny how that works.
***Warning. Spoilers ahead.***
I went to church yesterday at Port Orange Presbyterian. Went to Sunday School too as a matter of fact. And I was inspired. Something in me that had been burning kind of low sparked back to life a bit. Something I didn’t necessarily realize was waining. Either way, my creativity was ignited and new ideas are ahead.
I’ve gotten pretty excited about our Christmas Eve at the Brewery. I picked up the costumes for our impromptu reenactment. (Thank you POPC!) And have had this quiet stirring for a while now about new things. About how advent, and the birth of the most famous man in history (among other things of course), is all a reminder that new things can happen. Even in dirty old stables in unlikely towns and to unlikely people. Its this beautiful reminder that even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, that long, cold, uncomfortable journeys can be, maybe inevitably are, the start of something new and big and fresh and can change the world.
John 1:1 talks about “the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Like there was this thought/feeling/idea that was inextricable from God/Source/Ultimate. And I just have to think it was love. Like that deep, true, identity making kind of love. Like that moment when parents decide to have a baby, but before there is any baby, and there’s just an idea and excitement and anticipation and love…so much love.
Then John 1:14 starts to talk about how “the word was made flesh” and some versions say “and moved into the neighborhood.” Like it couldn’t just stay an idea. It needed flesh and bones and heart, and arms to hug with and feet to get dirty and a mouth to give a heartfelt smile, and eyes that could give a knowing look. Like the idea of the baby is great, but then to actually have the baby, to bring new life, to take that leap even though its dangerous. Its the fulfillment of the dream/idea/hope.
Like a candle can be lovely, but its not until you light it that it fulfills its purpose. But there’s more. It can be even more when its joined by other lights. When its reflected by a mirror or a series of mirrors that could create a million points of light from just a few.
This is why we hope. This is why we believe. Not because we are stupid or don’t understand science or don’t see the impossibilities all around it. Not that at all. We know all that too and in some miracle, at our best, we can hold both loosely enough that a story encompassing both arises. That the awe and wonder of the mystical and scientific, the magical and factual, can coexist….both reminding us of all the possibility and impossibility of this life and this world. Both reflecting a million points of light with the mirrors they hold up. Both pointing to the miracle of new life and new beginnings. But perhaps only one calling you to a Brewery on a chilly evening with friends and family to laugh, and hope and dream and feel…so deeply feel…that this life matters. That you are deeply loved. And that new birth and new life and new hope is always possible. Happy Birthday Jesus.
Whoops. Didn’t mean to write a whole sermon there. But there it is. The future holds so much, and the dark places are just that, but the hope is we come through them. Thank God for when it gets dark…even though its painful and scary…boy does it help me see the light.
Only 7 days left of my sabbatical. Should be enough…the whole world was built in that time.