It’s a little box at the top of my defunct blog. It says WRITE and there’s a little plus sign beside it. Waiting.
It’s very direct.
You know what I’ve been doing for the last hour? Going through the old drafts that I never published on this blog. The real stuff. The things that were too raw, too high or too low to share. These posts are like the road signs that led to the end of this blog. But bigger than that- so much bigger than just the demise of a silly blog. It was the end of allowing myself to say what was important, what mattered. Each unpublished word was a step closer to a self imposed silence that has just… diminished me.
I’ve been struggling for a while now. I’ve been feeling lost. Like the lines around me are so finely drawn that I couldn’t see myself anymore. What a mess to confess. I need to have everything firmly in place, and to admit that I don’t feels like a poor reflection on everything and everybody that matters. Pride, shame, guilt, SIN – they’ve blurred my edges. Though I’ve had every reason to be happy, to be fulfilled and satisfied, I’ve just been lost.
I think God brought me through this last year to face some hard truths about myself and how I’ve got to stop looking for other people to make me happy, to validate me. All those things are temporary, and they fade away. They are earthly. They fail. I’ve been trying so hard to earn what can’t be bought, or to find it in places it can’t be found.
Why say all this? Because I can’t be the only one. I can’t be the only woman who has been marching through this Parade of Days, burying the struggle beneath the millions of things to do while the sun is shining. As I’ve been trying to find my way through this, I’ve been looking for women on the other side of it. Some sign that it’s passable, that it’s normal, that I’ll be okay. And I just couldn’t find the blog posts, y’all. I couldn’t find her. I don’t think it’s because I invented this particular season of life. I just think we don’t talk about it because we’re so ashamed of it. I know I am.
Anyway, this is for the future woman, this is for my sisters and my friends and my daughter and anybody else that needs to hear it when they get to this part of the road. Yes, it’s hard. You thought the hard parts were all behind you, and this one may have caught you off guard. You may stumble, when you thought you’d fly. You could lose your way, and be scared and lonely and angry. You may not recognize where you are, or WHO you are.
But He won’t leave you there. He’ll come and find you, little lamb. He’ll take you to a place you know, and He’ll show you who you are again. He never fails to find us when we’re lost.
So tonight, I won’t put this in the DRAFT pile. I’ll publish the hard things. For you, and for me. And I’ll come back, and I’ll hit the write button again, and again, and again. Because there are so many things to say, lines to draw around myself again, truths that may be raw but real, and it’s time. It’s time to WRITE.
I stayed behind for a moment, gathering my purse and books from the car. The kids all ran ahead, because we were *almost* late for co-op (again.) I stepped into the lobby of the building, and there you were with a sheepish grin on your face “I can stand to be a little late to my class, but I just can’t stand not saying goodbye to you!!” You gave me a quick, fierce hug, and ran off to your first grade class.
And I was just overcome with the blessing of being your mom.
Things have been tough lately. We have had some setbacks and disappointments that you know nothing about. We’ve been stressed and discouraged, and I’m doing my best to keep y’all from seeing it. I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling a little forgotten by God. Like my prayers are bouncing around the room, not getting enough airspeed to break this atmosphere. And as I trudged into this day, with the weight of these troubles bearing down on me, you reminded me that I hit the MOM JACKPOT.
You just love me. I mean, you LOVE ME. Unconditionally, constantly, visibly, sweetly, genuinely, you love me. And that love swept me higher today, gave me a gust of wind under my wings at a time when gravity had been pulling hard.
God hasn’t forgotten me. Silly me. He gave me YOU, and there’s so much heaven in that gift that you just lift me right up.
Today, you took the hymnal from the pew and looked up the next song, and placed a marker in it so we would be ready when the music started. Then you reached for the hymnal beside your dad, and did the same for him. After replacing the hymnal, you patted his arm lovingly.
And my eyes filled up with tears. Because there’s no way I can remember all these moments. No way to hang on to every kind gesture of your young heart, every funny thing you say, all the times when you are so uniquely you! I can’t memorize the smallness of your hands, (they keep changing) or the silly dance moves, or the zillion hilarious lego creations you share with me.
But don’t you think for one minute that I’m not trying. I’m soaking up these days like rain in the desert. My mind is constantly documenting and cataloging; I’m your “mamarazzi” but subtle and quiet-like. I can never capture the true spirit of the moment in my memory though. And that’s what made me cry today. I’m gonna miss this. I’m gonna miss this so bad.
So if when you do a sweet thing, you notice tears in my eye, that’s why. Because I never want to forget who you are today. Because I’m trying so hard to hold onto the experience, and I know the memory can’t hold a candle to the real thing. Because I’m your mama, and you’re my boy, but one day you’ll be so much more than that. Because your hands won’t stay little and one day, your daddy and I will have to look up our own music.
But I blink back the tears, take another mental picture, and enjoy the real life moment of Now. We sing together, your hand on one side of the book, and mine on the other, and I know every minute is a gift from God.
There are words nearly ripe for the harvest. They are beginning to hang heavy on the tree of my soul, ready to be plucked down and savored. We have labored at life so fully this year, with mostly sunshine and busyness, though there were days of rain and stillness as well. But every kind of moment is necessary to the nourishment of Things to Say, and I cannot begrudge the rainy season it’s moment.
I am eager, eyeing this bounty to come. It’s been a long season of quiet, and it’s nearly to feast.
I mailed this letter to my brother today. I wonder if the mailman will notice the verses. Or the prison official who will read the letter, checking for violations. Or my brother’s cellmates. I hope they all will.
I used colored pens because I don’t know how many vivid colors he gets to see in a day. I wrote in colors because God’s word should be written in a rainbow, because it’s full of promise and hope. I wrote in colors because black ink is too institutional, and he has enough of that for now.
I had hoped, after last time, that the only things I would mail him again would be Christmas cards and birthday packages, but this is where we are. There is a number after his name again. Letters are now the lifeline to the outside world. They replace hugs and Fourth of July picnics, and beach trips. They remind him that we haven’t forgotten him, but they also remind him that life can’t wait for him and it just keeps going. I imagine he reads letters from home with a mixture of dread and longing, with gratitude and resentment, with hope and regret.
Maybe not yet, though. He hasn’t been there long. It can take a while to open your eyes, to heal from these self inflicted wounds, to shake off the haze of disasters you’ve created. To feel things again… that’s a big part of the battle.
But, when that day comes, maybe these bright words of peace and forgiveness will shine. Maybe they’ll get him through the day. Maybe they’ll grow in him and fill up the empty places he’s tried to satisfy with the poor substitutions of this world. Because His Word can do anything. It made stars and heavens and life and time. It parted seas, raised the dead, closed the lion’s jaws. His Word creates all, conquers all, restores all, saves all, sustains all. There’s nothing it can’t do.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and IN HIS WORD I put my hope.
Goodness gracious. Time does get away from me! I’m going to make a grab for it and put it in a neck hold for just a minute so we can catch up. Ready? And GO
Chickens? Good. Finally starting to pick up with egg laying again, after seriously calling it in this winter. Major slackers in the coop. Some of my girls are getting on up in the years, so their production is dropping off. And cold, wet weather with short days do not make a plethora of eggs. However, I do have about 10 or 12 young hens who are not far from joining the rotation. They’re all wild as can be, too, because I haven’t spent much time with them. Like, they have returned to the feral ways of their Jungle Fowl ancestors. It’s tribal in there. CRAY-CRAY. But, as long as they lay, they stay. Actually, that sounds like a motivational sign I need to paint for the coop. You Lay, You Stay. Ha.
After losing my sweet Annabel to a possum (don’t even, I still can’t), we decided to get a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). Actually, he’s half Great Pyrenees, so we got half of an LGD. 🙂 But so far, so good. His name is Pete and he is a giant goofy baby and we love him. I’ll have to put some pictures up. He barks at everything that has ever existed or will exist, so we haven’t seen any possums in months. RIP, Annabel.
King Pen has taken over many of the chicken duties for me like a CHAMP. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in some other projects, which is why you aren’t seeing pictures of chickens flooding your FB and Instagram feeds from me. I’ll be glad when things settle down and I can hang out in the coop more. There’s drama going on that I just KNOW I am missing. And there ain’t no drama like chicken drama, I kid you not.
As for other projects, the kids are involved in a production of Mary Poppins and that means my world is revolving around rehearsals and I CAN’T STOP SINGING SPOONFUL OF SUGAR. For months, guys. And we speak in proper upper class British accents now, all the time, because once ‘you staht, you con’t stop, deah.’ But it’s fun. Kids are working hard and I’m burning up the roads and it’ll all be awesome and fun and wonderful and you just keep saying that over and over and over for three months. Ha.
We’re also doing another, smaller show, and this one I’m actually in. (I know, I’m ridiculous). But it’s singing!! And speaking!! And dancing!! And with my daughter!! So, add another night (or two) of rehearsals to the week.
And now I’m embarrassed, because there’s a teeny tiny bit more that I’m doing. One night a week, I’m taking a beginner’s American sign language class. I’ve been learning on my own for a while, but really needed an instructor and classroom setting. It’s about the coolest thing I’VE EVER DONE. I show up every Tuesday on the front row with my pencil super sharp and my book highlighted and I do a few stretches before class to warm up. (I wish I was kidding. But I’m not. I am that much the nerd.)
So, that’s what’s up with me. My dance ticket is full, full, full, but it’s all good. Sorry I’ve been so absent! I’ll try to sneak away periodically and update my blog, so don’t delete the bookmark just yet. 🙂
Happy Friday, y’all!
Oh no, an hour slipped by me. We inch closer to midnight, and the gears are just beginning to move. I spent too much time in front of the white page, trying to make the cursor stop blinking.
What to write? Oh, write what you know, they say so casually, as if it’s just that simple and obvious. What do I know? How huge is this question? Isn’t that what we are always trying to figure out? What do I know of this life? What have I gained here, what’s the reason for it all? Just write that.
Ha! Write the Great Big Point of Everything. The thing you have learned on this journey of domestic ordinariness that will stop the cursor from it’s winking state of readiness– and GO.
Okay. Maybe they don’t mean, write all you know. Maybe I’ll just write what I know today.
Today, I know that a picture of my brother smiling almost made me cry. If I could make a moment stay by sheer force of will, this one wouldn’t move an inch. How hard we’re holding on, now that we’ve got him.
What else do I know today?
I know that I should wear my hair down more often. I know that my five year old thinks I’m beautiful with my hair down, even if I’m in yoga pants and a boring shirt and don’t have makeup on. I know that the prettiest kind of pretty you can be is when you are doing it for the enjoyment of those who love you. That the prettiest pretty isn’t about being admired or lusted after or meeting the approval of the hungry, insatiable world. Maybe that’s the kind of pretty you don’t begin to understand until there are laugh lines to underscore the word. Until there are gray streaks to catch the light, or fuller curves to hug into. Maybe it’s the only kind of pretty that sticks.
I know that I need to sit and talk more often with a true friend for a few hours in a bookstore, in REAL LIFE. I need to recharge, to be genuine, to laugh and bare something of my soul to another human being. I know this because when I spent my evening doing this very thing with a dear friend, my spirit was buoyant as it hasn’t been in a long time. I’m working so hard on growing friendships in my life, and to be honest, sometimes I’m impatient. I want the doors to be opened already, and the walls to come down. But that takes time. So, to enjoy the company of a seasoned friend– well that is a rest for the weary soul! I will not wait so long again.
I know that I need to turn the radio off more often. I need to stop placing barricades to keep my mind from wandering. Maybe it’s society, the modern world, our growing unease of quiet and stillness. Whatever it is, when I forgot to turn on the radio in the car today, my mind meandered all over the place, suddenly free from mind numbing restraints. Ideas raced about like newborn colts in my head. I thought thoughts, all kinds of ’em. Dusty corners of my brain were shocked into activity. And this truly scared me. Because I didn’t know I’d been downsizing up there. And if I’m doing it, I’m betting you are, too. Life is too loud, and we can’t hear ourselves think anymore. So, that’s a thing I know today. I need to let it be quiet sometimes, so my thoughts have a chance to be heard.
The last thing I know today is that it’s my bedtime. Well past it. And I’ve learned all the things I can fit in for this day. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll know more, and it’ll be worth writing about.