Friday, July 25, 2014

The one where I don't know the end

I haven't been writing here lately. Haven't been writing much of anywhere and usually something is off balance somewhere when that happens so that is a tragic thing. Summer is a time when everything stops a little so that might be my excuse. 

Jon Acuff says we should write fast when we have writer's block because perhaps what you really have is fear. I am not sure if it's fear or not but maybe it is and so of course, fear can't keep up with 100 words a minute and writing for five minutes flat. So here we go:

This week I went back to the elementary school where it all started. Where I learned to take my first steps in North Carolina as a teacher. Not that those baby steps are ones I'm most proud of, but even baby steps that lead you downward have to take you somewhere and eventually that somewhere has to be back up? That's a question mark not a period because I have a lot of questions but I'd prefer to have periods.

I like to know the end of things.

This week my life went full circle when I went back to my old school for a work meeting and it wasn't so bad, seven plus years later after my life has gone a lot of different directions from the year that turned things upside down.

It doesn't sound so bad now that I'm removed from it by lots of time --

and now people only see the smiles and the 'happy' and the health and the things that make them question if there was ever anything else.

It's amazing to see how things change.

But is it time that changes a life? Or is it change that makes it seem like 'time' really did the work? I'm not sure I buy this time business. Things you don't heal from can still be a problem years and years later, I think.

But the good news is God does heal.

It's hard to see the end when you are in the middle. Sometimes you only want to look back because you wonder how you even got there in the first place.

Are you yearning to see the end of a journey but can't imagine it right now? I understand.

Seven years later after I forgot so many things that don't even matter anymore, after God led me out of places I didn't want to return to, I got to return to the beginning to see that in it's most literal sense, it's just a building with walls. 

A building with walls is not scary at all.

I like to understand. I like to know the parts in the story. Especially YOUR story. And MY story. But I think that I hide parts of my story, just little bitty parts, because perhaps...they are scary.

To who?

Not to God.

God knows the ending from the beginning. He already knows the END of my story. And YOURS.

I love that. That small reminder is from the wonderful Constance Rhodes. The fact that we don't have to control and manufacture the plot of our lives because God ALREADY knows --




I am thankful he is the finisher and it's (mostly) okay that I don't know the ending yet.

*linking with lisa-jo for (a little more than) five minutes. horray for writing again!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sweet summer: belated #riskrejection

Not long ago, I went with my neighbor friends to see "The Fault in our Stars." You're going to weep, they said. You're going to cry through the whole thing. Get ready for a self-induced depression. This is the third time I've seen it, one of them said.

Three times? I could barely make it through once. Not that I cried all the way through, though, like they warned me. I did go through more tissues than I typically do at movies, and we all looked pitiful walking out, one by one, Kleenex in hand, any eye makeup long gone and smudged. That must have been entertaining for the workers.

The problem with me and movies is that I am not easily tricked. I know it's not real and most of the time, even if it's really moving, I don't cry. 'Real life' on the other hand, forget it. 

I'm starting to see that these two blend together a little more and I'm not sure there's a firm line in the sand.

I wonder if we cry at movies and books and the like because they are a shadow of our own lives, the things we hide from or what we want to face but can't or what makes us sad. Or maybe they remind us it's alright to feel it sometimes.

In the book, "Bittersweet," one of my most faves, Shauna Niequist, writes that your tears are a sign of health, because it's your body agreeing with and responding to what your soul is feeling.

"Bittersweet is also one of those fascinating books I read again and again because I want to believe in the sweet side to 'bittersweet.'

I lived this way for awhile. The bitter and the sweet. Life broken up between the two.

Sometimes I still do.

When I am going through something, when there is heartbreak or my world feels dark and crumbly, it feels like life will never be sweet again. But that isn't true.

Right now happens to be a 'sweet' time, but I know it will not always be this way. I even know that not long ago at the beginning of the summer, things were especially difficult,  unknown, complicated and painful in various forms.

Still, summer is my reminder that there is sweetness to be found all around. It's my reminder that things have a way of shifting, that our current stance, whether it be one with open hands for whatever this season brings or one of clenched fists, will not hold out forever.

We change just as the seasons change.

God is beginning to show me that I can be okay with where I am now and what this season looks like. That it doesn't have to look like the last one, I don't have to anticipate if it will be the same or better or worse than the next one. 

I am challenged to find that sign of health right here, right now, to let my body agree with my soul and do what July does.

July looks like rest and hot, hot North Carolina days and cookouts. And kickball and pretend fireworks because we drove all over and somehow couldn't find them.

July is freedom and what is also most freeing for me to consider this month is that I don't have to do everything. I don't want to get to the end of the summer and realize it has zipped by me and I haven't stopped to look.

This is hard for me. In seasons of exceptional 'bitter' or 'sweet,' finding the balance can be hard. I always have to search out Selah, but rest, pause, finally comes again.

Currently, life is lovely. Isn't it always? Yes and no, I think. It's also pretty hard.

I'm aware, as Shauna Niequist says, that in time, something will invade this current season of loveliness. It won't be sweet forever.

When life is sweet, I still want to be on the run. I want to soak it up like the sweltering sun and grab ahold of its beauty.

But life isn't only sweet and it's not only bitter. Life is good and we can say that even when life isn't lovely.

I think how grateful I am for the times it is.

I pray for grace and balance and rest, again. And I don't link-up in time for #risk rejection this month, again. But I'm not surprised or disappointed.

*In case you want to be encouraged by a podcast by chris seay on summer selah.

*Instead of #riskrejection linky, check out amy's world blog tour and what we did for IMPACT.

Question for you Friends: Have you seen "The Fault in our Stars?" If so, what did you think? Did you cry, cry, cry?