6/6/19 5:28am EST
I got tired of coming up with original (but not really) titles. Maybe this one will stick and I’ll turn this thing into a real blog. (Visions of Pinocchio dance across my eyes.)
I spent the first part of this week about an hour outside Chicago in a place called Oregon, Illinois. The town was adorable. Quaint shops lined a miniature downtown, maybe 4 blocks in total. Well maintained white-picket fences fanned out from downtown, demarcating neat lawns and attractive cottage homes – most with an American flag proudly displayed. It was a real piece of Americana.
I was there to workshop with a room full of church leaders on missional leadership – leaders who guide their flock out to connect with more people and do good in the world. Leaders who focus on reaching the hearts of people whether they ever sit in their pews or believe what they believe or not.
And this is where my blog inexplicably deleted part of what I wrote…no idea where it went from here…thanks blog.
6/7/19 5:32am EST
Urgh I’m mad about that deletion above! Having trouble even thinking about something else…maybe a great pic from yesterday will help…
With us on summer schedule here, I can get out a bit earlier and enjoy the beginning of the day. And its lovely. I’m going to try and catch the actual sun rise today. The part of each day where the darkness once again gives way and is overcome by the light. That’s why I love it so much. Sunrise is resurrection each day. Sunrise is hope each day.
And it happens at the brink of all this undeveloped ocean. The wild blue sea. Where no person can live. And at the edge of civilization. Houses just behind me, shops near by, hustle and bustle just out of sight. Two words collide and God dramatically exclaims, You get another chance today! So much grace, so much love, so much hope. And it is good.
6/10/19 5:17am EST
I have been in a funk the last several days. It’s gotten a little better, naming it over and over has been helpful. I’m not sure I can really capture it, because mornings are my best time, and I’m hoping the fog has lifted, but for 3 days I’ve been depressed. Not just gloomy, not just blue, but a deep ache in the middle of my being. Crying. Fearful I might die. The world is too effed up to reconcile. Nothing is right in all of it. Kind of depressed. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before, at least not that intensely. I slept a lot, but I got out of bed. (Which just gave me the scary thought that it could be worse.) I was irritable, with a hair trigger to get angry, and a hair trigger to cry. When I tried to pinpoint why, it just seemed like everything – personal losses, failure, the world’s depravity, just a general sense that something is very, very wrong. I even started calling loved ones to make sure they were okay, like it wasn’t some supernatural since that someone was going to die or something.
I have new grace for people struggling with depression. I never knew…
6/11/19 5:32am EST
My routine is slipping! I’m going to need to tighten things up a bit. Either way, I made it to the beach before hubs left town yesterday. It was earlier than normal, and it was magical.
I didn’t get to see the sun actually rise, I got little glimpses of it as I made my way back home. And it just kept getting more magical.
A few weeks back someone asked me, “what do you long for?” The question won’t leave me alone. I think because I don’t have a good answer. Sometimes writing brings me clarity, so I pose it here. What do you long for?
I long to use my voice in meaningful ways. I long to be witness to people’s transformation. I long to be a really good and patient mother raising good and patient children…the most important transformation I can be witness to. I long for approval from the people I love and admire – Dad, hubs, square squad, mom quad – I long to know what that looks like so I can recognize it. I long to use my gifts well and feel fulfilled at a job well done. I long for the job to be over, and feel that. I long to not long, to not strive, to hold a beautiful balance of joy and awakeness. I long for trusted companionship on the journey, and to believe that if I collapse that doesn’t mean everything collapses (hello ego). I long to finish my book and have it matter, have it capture the hopeful and inspiring message I’m after. I long to greet days with expectancy and hopefulness feeling rested and whole.
Is that all? 😉
But even now I feel it creeping in. That knot that’s been right at the center of my torso for about 4 days now. It is both a physical discomfort and seems to emanate feelings. Feelings of sadness and anxiety. A draining of energy. I don’t know what it is or why. I don’t know why its haunted me for this many days. It just feels like “something’s wrong” but I can’t figure out the “something.” What are you telling me dread knot?
6/12/19 5:27am EST
Had to re-read what I long for. I need to keep it front of mind so that I can remember what’s important and take steps toward it. Longings have their place, but I’m not satisfied with them staying longings. Maybe part of what I long for is to be able to say with conviction, I gave it my best…I tried the things I longed for. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say that. Not the tried part, that’s easier, but the conviction I gave my best? I always think I could have done better.
It comes from a place of thinking I could have poured out more of myself. But here’s the thing, I can’t pour out all of me on all of the things I long for. There’s not that much me to go around, and there wouldn’t be any of me left. Like making sure you have enough gas to get to the gas station…you can’t use it all or you won’t make it to your next fill up. And sometimes it makes more sense to fill up when you’re only half empty…maybe that makes the most sense.
My husband would give me a look if he read that. I’m a drive it to the last drop kind of gal. Maybe that’s kind of how I’ve been in life. If there is a drop in the tank, it should be used, its not just there for you to feel full. But maybe it is, in part. Like I exist for the sake of me as well as the sake of others. Not all one or the other. How many ways am I going to learn and relearn that lesson? (at least one more)
5/13/19 5:28am EST
The beach was beautiful yesterday morning (isn’t it always?), and I even got a first look at a turtle nest. Even before turtle patrol got there. This gal must have been there laying her eggs maybe like an hour before I got there. Magical!
I also saw a number of “false crawls.” A false crawl is when the mama turtle makes her way up on to the bank, but doesn’t make her nest, and returns to the ocean. I don’t know why, I’m not sure anyone does. There’re theories about human interference or the moon, but I kinda think a mama just knows if the time and place is right or not. What i don’t know is if she comes back or if her eggs just don’t get laid or what. Any turtle experts reading? No? (*crickets*) 😉
Had a great conversation with my friend Heather yesterday. They always are with her. She is so “plugged in.” Not to the world, though that too, but to the deeper thing. She listens and engages thoughtfully and does it with this air of joy and lightness. She is lovely to be around. And, she posed a helpful idea about the inexplicable sad feeling I’ve been having.
She invited me to personify the feeling. To picture her and talk to her. Or just to picture her and be with her. Like no figuring out, overcoming, looking for the moral of the story or whatever else are my natural instincts. Just see her. I did. It was scary. She’s so sad. I told her I loved her. That its a lot. But am still wrestling with my do-something-goblins. Should I do something? Is this a sign? See a doctor? Maybe there’s something else going on her? Surely I should do something.
Maybe the beach will have answers…
5/14/19 5:25am EST
It’s amazing how sometimes an answer can be right in front of you. Get all anxious. Carry around a knot in your belly for a week, etc, and the answer was there all along. And not even know why you have the knot until the ball drops. And then panic for a while. And then get really listless. And then realize you can turn the whole thing on its head. It’s like turning the rubics cube and totally seeing the answer..that you never would have seen without that tiny shift.
Missing Peace has had a challenging relationship with a committee of presbytery almost since inception. And it seemed as if that was just going to be an anxious, frustrating, challenging necessity. It nearly has made me quit a number of times. They want us to be something we aren’t…and we want that from them too in a way. Mostly like a silent investor who celebrates our wins with us. I didn’t realize it, but that’s really what we, okay I, wanted. But last night, as I was bemoaning all manner of thing to hubs (how lucky is Jeff?!), it became clear (that may be strong). That like in a relationship, neither of us is going to change the other, and both have to be willing to change themselves, and if not then you have to quit banging your head against the wall and find a new solution.
6/17/19 5:22am EST
Brain going in too many directions. Can’t settle into what to write. That what you long for question still haunts me. The fate of Missing Peace could use some processing. My kids just are at their first overnight camp…for a week! Spent some lovely time with my Dad yesterday. Losing my cool a lot lately. A whole big mish mash of things! All the things!
I’m too stuck feeling to write. I’m going to walk instead. Maybe it will become more clear.
6/19/19 5:22am EST
It was an awesome morning yesterday. Wow. The sun, the sea, the sky, everything was just beautiful and awe inspiring.
One of my favorite podcasts, the Robcast, did a two parter on “Sometimes I feel lost.” It resonates with me, but I probably need to go back and listen again. Because lost doesn’t quite feel like the right terminology. I don’t feel like I don’t know where I am…just not sure where to go next. That feel different than lost. Though its very closely related.
Part of what he talks about, is the being okay with the lostness. Even embracing it as part of the journey. Sort of the “ahah” that happens after a time of unknowing. And how the unknowing is a part of it. Ya know? 😉 And I would bet that my blogs and journals would reflect a long series of not knowing what to do nexts, and then somehow next happens. Reviewing them would be helpful. Also why we read the ancient stories of peoples lostness and foundness. Because that’s just part of it. That’s how the pilgrimage goes. Orientation, disorientation, reorientation. Life, death, rebirth/new life. Order, disorder, reorder. This is the formula for transformation. And parts of it suck. And I don’t ever seem to feel like I reach that reorientation part. Maybe I need to do better celebrating the wins. Holy crap. That’s true! ugh.
6/26/19 5:32am EST
This is proving to be a challenging practice to maintain during the wilds of summer. I feel like I’m coming up from being under water too long – like a huffing, sputtering, coughing, grateful wheezy kind of reentry. And perhaps, just to dive back down and continue searching the depths. But for what?
I just stepped in poop in my kitchen floor. Don’t have a pet. No stray critters wandering through. Just some human poop…like ya do. That’s one way to start the day.
Been home with sick kids for a few days. Really need to get everyone back on their normal schedule…preferably before I lose my ever-lovin mind.
Well. This has been fruitful. I’m going to the beach.
6/27/19 5:11am EST
Summer is such a strange time. The schedules and routines are all off. Every week is a little different. It’s refreshing after the monotonous schedule of the school year, and its also a bit derailing. When so many surface level tings are shifting, it can be hard to go deeper…but that’s probably exactly what needs doing. I also feel like I just waste a lot more time. Like so many little busy things – What camp are the kids in this week? What do they need for those camps? Who’s driving? When can I set meetings? What’s for dinner? – I’m worn out for much of the rest.
Did I mention I’m also on a plant-based diet aka vegan. We’ll see if it lasts, but I saw a compelling documentary about the food industry and figured I’d give it a shot. (What the Health is the name of the doc.)
This strange summer also holds some listlessness for me. Not really sad. Definitely not happy and energized. (Is there a happy and tired?) Just sort of blah. And for me, maybe that is a bit sad. Or maybe its just transformation. Ya know? Like when you’re pregnant for the first time and you think the baby is coming, but its like “not yet.” But you don’t know, because you’ve never had a baby before. And there’s not much you can do to make it happen, it just has to be the right time. Something is building, quietly, under the surface and almost unnoticed, and it won’t be ready til its ready. But it feels like you’ve been pregnant forever.
6/28/19 5:19am EST
The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, the story goes. Them complained, they doubted, they built idols, they received law, they discovered their identity. Their wandering wasn’t aimless, though it also wasn’t efficient. It wasn’t without value or purpose, but they couldn’t see that in the midst of it. Many died and others were born, some knew no other way than this wandering life. And it wasn’t how any of them thought it would be.
Maybe sometimes wandering is just how its supposed to be. And then we learn all these things along the way. Things about who we are, who we want to be, how we want to live. But the wandering itself, can feel like such a waste of time. Ugh. It’s not pretty or efficient. It doesn’t have SMART goals that are accomplished and then checked off the list. It’s not a road trip with all the perfect stops and pictures and adventures planned.
I do not like wandering. I want a neat and orderly trip. I want goals and check boxes and organization. I want to have my list of to dones and show how much I’ve accomplished. At least I think I do…and then I have to ask why I do. Does that make me right? Does that make me valuable? Productive? Loveable? Ugh. Man, this lesson is so hard. I don’t know how to let go of measuring myself this way without feeling like I’m making no progress or growth. Ah, but progress and growth are different. You don’t have to move to grow.
God…when I don’t know how to go, show me how to grow.
7/20/19 5:41am EST
Wow. Nearly a month since I wrote last. I’ve been writing other things for sure, and the craziness of summer has set in fully, but I truly wasn’t sure if or when I’d write in my little unoriginal blog here.
We went to Le Puy recently, see the whole story in Reflections on Lyon, and my big take away is releasing the anxiety about the waiting and looking and enjoy the adventure. This is so very, very hard for me. I have a deep desire to take swift and confident action. To feel, or at a minimum look as if, confident and productive and clear. When I don’t, it feels like I’m out of touch with God. Perhaps I expect God to be more of a tour guide, pointing out the things to do and see with a nearly consistent droning. But its not like that. And yet. I know I’m not alone. I still hear God’s voice…and it says “write.” And so I will. And in my experience, both at Le Puy and really through most of life, keep going on what you know you’re supposed to be doing. Even when you since the next thing coming. Soon enough, there will be a clear sign. There is no such thing as missed opportunities. There is only what is yours to do and what is not.
“There is no such thing as missed opportunities.” Where did that come from? (I think I know) What if that were true? I have countless memories of times when “I should have…” indicating a missed opportunity. Often an opportunity for efficiency (I knew I should have turned at that light back there. I should have left earlier. I should have stopped by the store). Sometimes an opportunity to look good (I should have done my hair that way. I should have said “x.”). Sometimes an opportunity to hold on to the past (I should have taken a picture. I should have saved “x.”). Sometimes an opportunity to control time (I should have paid more attention. I should have been more present.).
That’s a lot of should to be stepping in. A woman could get should all over her living that way. But what if there were no missed opportunities. No wrong turns, not really. What if we are just taking the next step with joy and awe and keeping our eyes open for the big signs. I don’t think God plays coy…wants us pining over and torn apart at wondering what God wants for us or wants us to do.
For me, for now, I think that is meeting with the passionate people of Missing Peace. Using my breath, my gift, to blow on the ember of their calling and passion. Calling the spark God has planted into further life, into roaring fire! This is my calling. (I didn’t know until I wrote that). And to write. Write sermons, write blogs, write books, write facebook posts. Write and write and write. This is what I am to do, and even when it doesn’t feel productive or efficient or whatever other should I smear on it, I will do it until I see a big sign on the side of the road that tells me where the rest of the journey lies.
And please God, let me leave all that should as best I can. Let me leave all the worry of “am I doing it right” behind. Let me enjoy this adventure and love people well. Let me notice and breathe deep and live from great gratitude.