fort wayne

I’ve never forgotten the beauty of this place.  I was content as a bug in a rug in St. Louis, when we lived on campus and could walk through “the woods”, but when I’d remember the seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when that time full with child we were there for a wedding, I’d think to myself, in a blink, on a whim

“Boy, it sure was beautiful there.”

It still is.  I was there for a conference and to visit a friend.  It’s been almost three years ago now when she moved, and we’ve seen each other a handful of times since then.  When she sent me the link to the large home small group retreat on “Mother Culture”, she thought this was just another one of our dreams, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. So we planned a weekend and to Fort Wayne I went.

Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful time.

I just feel thankful and still and filled up.

And there go the jealous skies again.

who’d have thought

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I’m exhausted right now, and truly, once the kids are through with their movie, I’m going to bed.  We keep the television out of sight in our house.  I like not having it in the middle of the living room.  We don’t have TV, cable, Netflix or any of that.  We mainly use the television for movies.  It means though, that when they’re watching a movie, they’re in my room.  Most of the time I don’t mind.  There was though, that one time, when I was gone and two of the former summer staff came over for a few hours.  When I heard that they had watched a movie in my bedroom with the kids I felt that weird feeling of violation, like maybe someone had gotten too close that wasn’t meant to be that close.

But I had to shrug and let it go.  It was one of those uncomfortable moments of “being humbled” so to speak.  That’s pretty much what happens when you live in close proximity to other people.  You also get used to them seeing your messes.  I can tell who the people are that I’m not completely used to when I feel that self-consciousness about them seeing the messes, or whatever imperfections I’m aware of in their presence.

I’ve been seeing a counselor the past several months.  I feel like every time I come away from our meetings I’ve found a new direction.  Rather, I feel a little further along on the path we’re all on, like something has healed that needed healing, or courage was found where fear was reigning, or assurance was given where confidence was lacking.

I had actually changed my clothes to go see him.  I’d gotten dressed that morning, with one of my two pairs of patterned leggings, paired with my black “free spirit” tank top underneath a grey shirt.  The leggings were all different colors, and I feel bright and happy and comfortable when I wear them.  Approaching the appointment I thought, “Maybe I should change.  These probably aren’t the most appropriate clothes for this.”

So I changed and put on jeans.  Ever since my last pregnancy over five years ago now, when I discovered the wonderful gift of leggings, my encounters with jeans have been fewer and farther between.  For one it takes time to find ones that fit.  And second, they’re nowhere near as comfortable as leggings.  Leggings are fun, flexible, and soft.

I looked put together, but I didn’t feel like me.  I felt like I looked too good, like I had tried too hard to be acceptable in public.  I walked around and got the kids lunch and looked around for my phone and my keys and thought, “You know, this isn’t me.  This isn’t who I am when we’re together.  I am free to just be who I am with this man.”

A few interactions with men the past several months have caused me pause.  Maybe I’m overthinking it, but in these days of many scandals, I’m pretty sure I scared them off. I was too friendly, too flirty, TOO MUCH of myself.  This counselor–a grandpa-aged, several inches shorter than me, walks with a limp, has a colostomy bag after surviving colon cancer three different times–tells me it seems I’m in the habit of finding something wrong with myself.  Isn’t this what I’m supposed to be doing?  Aren’t we as supposed to examine ourselves and be open to finding fault within?

“You’re really not that bad”, he says.

I laugh out loud, partly from nerves, partly out of sheer elation, and partly like this counselor guy is talking craziness.  He’s a Lutheran!  I told him, “Well, I mean, every week in church we confess how poor and miserable we are, don’t we?”  I find this bringing such relief, a refreshing way to see the world, for this is how I see the world.  But what about sin?  What about Romans 7?  What about being a poor, miserable sinner?  Aren’t you just feeding me a bunch of theologically unsound psycho-mumbo-jumbo?  Is this guy for real?  Could it really be that I’m not that bad?

I would’ve never even thought I had this problem til right now, but as I write, as I think and it occurs to me, I think this man might be freeing me from something.

I think this man is freeing me from shame.

 

 

you tell me

Many years have passed
since those summer days
among the fields of barley
See the children run
as the sun goes down
among the fields of gold
~Sting~

The house is now quiet,
and I’m wide awake.

The music plays on,
trying deeply to free
to release the frozen words.

Maybe there’s nothing to say on this night?

The music plays on
and the tea cools beside me

I wait. And wait. I listen and stare.

I refuse to leave without an answer.

If I could find Sting
in the barley fields of gold
how much you wanna bet

I’d say, “Sting,
I don’t believe you”

It’s a beautiful line
an incredible line–
yet maybe I missed it

What in all the earth
does the jealous sky
have to be jealous about?

the listening ear

About a year and half ago, there was a fallout between me and a good group of friends.  It was the group I have written about several times on my blogs.  I didn’t mention it here, because honestly, there was no way to talk about it in a way that seemed fair.

All anybody hears here is my side.

As I’ve thought about it more, as I sit down even to mention it now, it has helped me to realize what it is about writing that is so therapeutic.

The page listens.

Long story short, I have loosely held the hope, that somehow, in time, all of this could be mended.  Last night we had our friends over for supper.  Our kids ran around outside in the dark, pushing my nerves to the absolute limit.  There are certain things that set me off, that stress me out, and this is one of them.  My brain is unable to effectively decipher the differences in sound between loud harmless play and a medical emergency.

We talked about us, as women, owning who we are.  I am me–take me or leave me.  I, personally, believe in growth, in sanctification, and in maturing over time.  I believe in listening to others, hearing of where it was you think I was wrong, in having the heart to take a brutally honest look at myself.  I believe that I can change, and will change, and do change, but I am not going to change who I am to be somebody else that I am not.

I have struggled in life with being assertive.  As Jordan Peterson has taught me, I am high in Agreeableness, and pretty low in Conscientiousness.  Other people get frustrated with me when I seem unaware.  I get frustrated with people when I feel like I give and I accommodate, I commit and consider, and after seven years of bending, when I finally feel the urgency to communicate a need, no one seems to do the same things for me.

“Nobody knows what to do with your intensity”.

Honestly, I don’t know what to do with it either.  So I run into oceans with all of my clothes on.  I go on nature walks and play outside in the sun. I homeschool my kids for the pure joy and thrill of it.  I cry when I’m hurting or overwhelmed with life.

I pity the stray who so wants to come in.

She laughs with me still at all the cats we have now.

She listens.

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People have loved me in the ways THEY show love.

It won’t always look like the ways I show love.

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We grow and we stretch

we learn and we heal

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It isn’t the same.

Time changes, life changes,

all this changing, changes us.

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And somehow through it all

my heart can give thanks

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for the goodness of God in this life is still there.

 

 

white space

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It seems writing has taken a backseat these days.  People talk about white space and margins, and by the time I’ve done the things I need to do, combined with some extra things I’d like to do, it hasn’t left me much margin for writing.

I got discouraged a while back, and after that point, I “set the pen down”.  Too many revisions, too many rejections, not enough reward for the hours caused me to take a step back and say, “You know, I think I’m going to be done for a while.”

So I ripped up our living room carpet, in anticipation of getting some dark, wood-looking, laminate floors.  We’d gone to visit my sister-in-law, and while we were there, I became a fan of her Norwex dry-mop.  All I needed was laminate flooring.  For months I’ve been bringing home the samples of flooring from Menards.  Long story short, we decided we didn’t have the money right now, but that was after I’d already thrown out the carpet.

My husband was like, “I don’t know, what if we just leave it like this?”  I looked at the floor and kinda liked the idea.  Even Ma Ingalls never had it this good.  As different as we are on some things, neither one of us were raised as fancy-type people, and I don’t even know what I mean when I say that, except to say that we’re the type of people who would both, for the most part, be fine with just leaving our living room floor as plywood.

The reward is there at least.