Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thanksgiving

thank You for deep, unsettling conviction.
thank You for thinking me "grown enough" to figure it out for myself.
thank You for waiting patiently while i dilly dally, for reminding me when i procrastinate.
thank You for making things clear to me when i am too stubborn to submit.
thank You for never leaving me where i'm at and for never failing me ...
... no matter how many times i may fail You.
thank You for loving me that much.

and please, God, help me to remember these words when i start another day. help me to remember them an hour from now, moments from now, when the world and my own stubborn self would have me cast my gaze on other things rather than recognize and be grateful for Your endless Presence in and will for my life. amen.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Share Much?

 
Marriage.  That's the subject most sensitive to me and my references to it almost always, always send me into meditation.

Specifically, I mean that every time I share publicly in any way regarding my marriage, my mind wanders off then to think about all the folks who struggle with their own, or whose marriages have ended for one reason or another, or who want to be married but aren't.  The list does go on.

But other lists are developing.  For instance,

  • When I talk about my kids or grand-kids, I wonder if I'm hurting someone who wants them but doesn't or can't have them.
  • When I make references to my work, am I hurting those who can't find work?
  • If I'm friends with this person, am I offending that person?
  • If I'm sharing about my struggles with this or that, I wonder if I'm triggering someone else's struggle.
  • When I share my accomplishments, such as with my recently recovered habit of walking, does it cause someone to be sad because they can't do the same?
  • When I tease about rice krispie treats and cookies, am I causing someone to be distracted?

To be clear, nobody's ever made any such complaints to me.  But I do wonder...

And yet, I keep talking.  As I hoped to imply (at least in some part) in my last post, I do truly, whole-heartedly believe that there is purpose in my sharing.  But am I over-sharing? ...

Tucked away in my secret, "Must Read Later" file, are several recently discovered articles concerning the topic of sharing too much, talking too much, networking too much.  I'm holding off.  I'm concerned that the level of conviction I find there will require me to alter my very comfortable lifestyle and who really wants to do that?  I mean.

One of these mornings, though, and probably by accident - because that's usually the way I do the most beneficial things I do - I'm going to read them.  What will come after, who knows?  Maybe I'll finally make a list, draw up some kind of schedule which only permits me to Facebook once per week or from 7:01-7:18 a.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  Who knows?

But just in case my abundant sharing may be drawing near its conclusion, I want to put out these last few too personal bits of information.

I never, ever, ever, ever want to hurt or harm someone.  I'm drawing up now from the deep deeps:  this has been a looming fear over me for a very long time.  What you see of me, how you know me has been shaped and fashioned around my fear that I may be a source of pain to someone else.

By contrast, however, and causing pain (and genuine confusion) to my own self is the plain fact that I happen to be one of the most selfish, most self-centered people that I know.  Case in point, I often say what it is I want to say regardless of any other lingering thought or conviction I may have.

I am ever hopeful for the resolution to this bit of human-ness.

Maybe that morning will come when I'll shut it all down and have nothing more to say - or I'll have it to say but I'll keep it because I will have learned something new.  Maybe I will have found that subtle nuance between living out loud and living loudly, that perfect spot where I can fling the doors open wide - but without squishing you against the wall in the process. 

Ever hopeful.  Evvvv-er hopeful.


 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You Can't Write If You Can't Relate

I’ve told this one before, but not often. Not with much clarity. As I sit here now, tapping finger to chin, wondering why it’s been archived, I think I deliberately edited it out for the purpose of character development.

If my mom reads this, it might be the first she’s ever heard of it. If so, I’m sorry, Momma. I really hate it when my kids do that to me - tell me years later about the things that could/should have killed them. (Do I really need to know?)

Anyhow,

When I was twelve years old, I became the fourth to join a circle of girls. Good girls. Church-going girls. In fact, it was they who sought me in my "lost-ness" and got me a’goin’ to church. It was in their presence that I met Jesus, that I was baptized. For as much of my life before that time as I can recall, I’d had no place. I fit nowhere. I was like no-one. I was awkward in every respect and could not fake an otherwise or edge my way into any clique perimeter. Till them, that is - the church girls. They accepted me as I was and then guided me toward something better.

For a good long time (for a twelve-year-old), I was on top, having a confidence founded in Jesus and bolstered by three very good girlfriends. And then...

I was thirteen. And I met a boy.

I fought to stay my course and my friends fought alongside me, all of us knowing that I was at a very, Very important crossroads. Right choice: Jesus and blessing. Wrong choice: I was about to find out. I kissed the boy.

The days that followed with my friends grew more and more strained. How much of that was their frustration at my failure to heed their wise counsel and how much of it was their refusal to participate with the person I was becoming, I cannot be sure. But finally the day came when, sitting in our circle on the floor during class to do our group study, they would not speak to me at all. They would not return any words to me.

So I fished around in my book bag and found a bottle of aspirin. I tested my friends then, narrating my "exit from this miserable world," one word, one aspirin at a time, till the bottle was empty.

It’s really weird the things I remember after that. The bell in the hallway after I’d called my dad to pick me up, how my hair seemed to stand up and vibrate with the ringing of it. The way that I stayed focused on the top jamb of my bedroom door more clearly than most any other thing through the remainder of that afternoon. All I could think was that I’d be moving through it as I passed from this life to the next.

Aside from the friends who watched me do it, no-one else knew about the aspirin.

It’s why I can’t take aspirin today...it still makes me sick all over again.

Could the aspirin actually have killed me? I don’t know and won’t look into it because what matters is that, as a naive’, confused, scared thirteen-year-old girl, I thought I was going to die. What’s worse, I’d wanted to. I’d try to implement it.

Can I say that what's even worse is that my friends watched me do it?

Because I should say right here that this is not intended to be a poor reflection on my friends’ characters. They were also thirteen and did their best as well. I know this. I also know that I probably don’t always remember myself entirely and I was entering a season of change. I’m not sure how much patience they’d had to practice with me before that day.

I also know what it’s like to feel responsible when someone commits suicide.

There are (at least) two sides to this and I’ve sat on (at least) two of them. I’ve been the girl miserable, hurting, wishing to exit, finding no-one who seems to care quite enough. I’ve also been the girl watching the train wreck, trying desperately to halt its progress, finding myself inadequate.

I’ve been the outsider, the dark blot. I’ve also been the church girl.

I wouldn’t be here, right now, writing this, if it weren’t for those three girls who saw me where I was, who brought me in, who did their best. That has greater measure to me than their human inadequacy in a terribly difficult time.

It sure does seem as if this should make me a better seer. Too often, though, in my talking and telling, I’m failing to see and hear others in their own terribly difficult times.

To be entirely honest, there are times that I do see, I do hear, and yet fail to know how or am afraid to try to intervene. Sometimes, I am just afraid of the experience. This has been of deep conviction to me these recent days.

As I’ve written this, I’ve counted, cringing, my use of "I, I’ve, I’m, my, and me." I wholly, sincerely believe that relating what I know is (at least a part of) my purpose. I’ve been prompted to write this. I’ve listened and I’ve responded in the way that I’m sure I’ve been called.

And then I tried to make this be about that ~ tried to use this story to resolve my shortcomings ~ tried to somehow explain away my failures by means of my experience. But LISTEN. That is next. That is from here on out. Whatever is my issue, I promise that I’m trying to work it out.


And see what I just did?
I made it about myself again. 
Soy un perdedor, baby. 
But thank God
I'm still trying to work it out.