Just listening

Thank to Stoonn and freedigitalphotos.net for the image

Can we be honest here?

I’m not sure what the hell I’m supposed to be doing.

While I’ve had (what I’ve felt over the course of several years) was a calling from God to write, I’m not so sure anymore. There have been things that have developed (now that I can clearly see with two undistracted eyes) that need some addressing and taking care of, now. More immediate than the lifelong dream of being considered a “writer.”

Nothing bad, no, and thanks for asking.

But I’m seeing things and behaviors in my family unit that I just accepted because well, I was too busy to address, and here’s the frightening thing: even notice.

Too busy to even notice.

From me, the Always Constant Noticer, the One Who Remembers, or so I’ve been called (and have recognized that tendency in myself ), this is terrifying.

Too busy to notice. Which is heartbreaking to me because it begs the question: What else have I missed?

What else has sailed on right past me because I was too busy building my career, focusing on me, wondering, just when in the hell, I could have a writing career of my own?

Please hear me: ambition, work, not bad things in life. Good things, actually.

But when you realize you perhaps, have a problem with ambition, in that it drives you to see only you and how things might work out for you, I think you have a problem. I’m using the word you, of course, meaning me.

What other things will I find under this big heavy rock of selfishness, I wonder lately.

And each time I wonder, more worms. More selfishness. More, sigh, dirt.

My husband reminds me that I’m changing too, a transformation of my own, and to not be so hard on myself.

But still I wonder what more I’ll uncover, hesitant. Though ironically knowing that what I discover about myself (negative or otherwise) is really, truly an opportunity.

An opportunity, yes. Even if it feels a little bit (I won’t lie: a lot) like pain and something I don’t want to have to deal with.

It’s like what they say about sickness and also well, my personal thoughts about clutter/cleaning up: it always gets worse (or seems worse) before it gets better.

So, that’s what I’m reminding myself now. To holding on. To hold on and know deeply that all the things and relationships I had in a certain arrangement in my previous life are transforming, changing, shifting. Just like me.

And through it all, remembering to listen to God. Because if He’s changing me, the dreams I’ve held for several years may also need a bit dusting off too.

All I can do is wait. And listen.








Five Minute Friday – Dive

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again.  Same old song and dance.  I used to beat myself up about it, but this is my real life, this is what happens on a Friday night; I post late.  Or in this particular case, I post the Five Minute Friday on Sunday  (yes, Sunday!) night.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

So, moving on-

A reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-


image courtesy of Ian Kahn
image courtesy of Ian Kahn

Dive is aggressive, it’s action, there is no other term for it but going deep.

In the creative world, there’s a term called “deep dive” which is just that-

It’s jumping off the board, taking a big risk, and going ALL IN, whatever the creative challenge may be.

There is no one-foot-only-in-the-water in dive.  There is no “un-diving.”

You’re all in, or you’re not.

This is a great thought for my relationships and my writing.  No more standing  allowed, on the edge only dipping toes in, afraid of community and of failure.

Dive in.  Fail.  Try some things.  Grow.

Diving is the invitation to risk, but really, it’s to grow. Because you can’t learn much from one cold toe in the shallow end.

Root Canal

So yesterday, had some dental work done.  I don’t know about you, but when it comes to all things dentistry, I am a bit jumpy.  Nervy.  Trying to get a cat in a carrier is easier than getting me in a dentist’s office, I think.

Lest you think badly of him, I actually have a wonderful dentist.  So wonderful in fact that he is on the list of one of the better doctors I’ve ever had, and come to think of it, I think it’s because he gets this, my nervy cat reaction around dentistry.

So, yesterday had to have some work done.  Some BIG work, some almost-root-canal work done.  Blech.  So, anyways, I had enough work done (don’t know if I’m comfortable admitting this or not, but here goes) and I am enough uptight in the dentist’s chair that I qualified for the laughing gas.

And I’m not proud, with all the drills they pulled out, I said a non-hesitant yesYES, PLEASE. Side effects? Meh, I’ll worry about that later.

So off we went into the Land of Laughing Gas for the first time, and all I have to say is whoa.  I was all Salvador Dali and melting clocks stretching off mantles, and like “who cares? “ well, actually I was more like “whooooooo carrrreeeeeeeesssssss” if you must know.

In fact, I may or may not have said that to the dentist at some point.

Tingling fingers, tingling toes, my breathing was slow and deep, and they kept moving my chair up and down so much that I felt like I was falling into the center of the earth and it was weird but nice, but I don’t think I had too much gas, why do you ask?

But back to the point, the point was I didn’t care.  And if you know anything about me, I do care.  A lot.  To a fault, almost.  My typical mode of operandi is uptight, major uptightness with a capital U.  And tied in a perfect bow, please.

And not caring, letting go, being this sort of relaxed is not something I am either comfortable with or at ease with.  I, to some degree, have a fear of too much relaxation, mostly because I do enough of it at home.  I mean, if I get any more “relaxed” about my home life, chores might not get done, the laundry will fall behind.  What happens if I relax too much? Do I lose too much productivity?  There is already a shortage of socks in this household, what happens if I don’t do laundry? Nobody wants to see a lawyer sockless, just so you know.

So after yesterday’s experience, I think the answer is yes, I do lose productivity.

And lost productivity is not a bad thing, every now and then.  And after yesterday, I also now think I have a grasp on not caring sometimes. And LaLa land was a wonderful place to visit momentarily; not having a care is a lovely, lovely thing every once in a while.

I usually don’t not have a care in the world, so it was nice for a change.  I was able to not care about the potential need for a root canal, I was able to float on by the thought of drills and noises and all these things, and I turned Mumford and Sons WAY UP LOUD because I was all for tuning things out, and in my opinion, the one thing I am allowed to tune out is dental work.  Love my dentist, yes I do, but don’t like the dental work.  Maybe I should think about that when I’m on eating 20th gummi bear next week.

But tuning out isn’t always an option.  In fact, most times it isn’t an option at all (ever been to a Doctor’s office where you had to turn off your cell phone? Longest wait of your life, FYI.)

But somehow, we think tuning out; zoning out, blasting music up, doing this “x” thing that distracts us is always an option.

Because, most days, that’s how we live our lives: tuned out. Zoned out.  Knocked out on drugs, Facebook, alcohol, people, you name it, we’re addicted to it.

We’re addicted to it, not because we want to be of course, but because the tuning out makes us think we escape the pain.

Why go through and dig up old wounds? Why wonder why people have hurt us or left us, why go through all of that, ever, we wonder while we eat a whole gallon of ice cream without noticing until we’re scrapping the bottom of the carton.

I don’t have any hurts! I am fine! We declare as we make our lives and schedules so busy there is barely time to think beyond planning the next activity.

It’s done, we think, no need to think about it anymore, as we say yes again and again to the drinks with friends without realizing we have been good and drunk for an entire month.

If you get my point, it’s not that any of these things are bad.  A little glass of wine? Not a big deal.  Some ice cream? No one dies from eating ice cream.  Or at least, if they have, I haven’t heard about it.  Activities and plans are generally good, actually.

However, in the bi-polar world we are living in, it’s not all good.  Rare is the person who can do all these things without overindulging in all of it or cutting themselves completely off and away from it.  I can name about 3-5 people who have this whole matronly sounding “moderation” thing under control.  And let’s be honest here: I’m not one of the 3-5 people I can name.

Now, the rest of us that take up the remaining fingers and toes-those of us who eat but who really are hungry for something that’s not food, those of us who drink in order to get drunk, those of us who entertain and over-schedule, well, we’re not doing it really for the sake of our kids as much as it is for the sake of our own avoidance.

We are over-planned, over-busy, over-lazy, over-fed, starving, and yet over-stimulated and under-cared for.  But even through all that, we still have time to think and wonder:

When am I going to be loved?

When am I going to stop hurting?

When am I ever going to be good enough?

When we stop distracting and distancing ourselves from ourselves, then.

When we stop long enough to look around and size up the shabby rafters of our souls, then.

When we stop long enough to feel pain, deep inside where the wounds live, and not be afraid of the rain, then.

When we put trust in Him, and in us, again, then.

And not a moment sooner.

Gung-ho for God

So here’s the thing with God and Jesus and all of it:

You have to be all in.

You have to be all for it, all into it, and you have to be sort of an all-or-nothing on this.

This sounds strange and like something you cannot relate to, I know.  It’s peculiar, like those people on busy, bustling downtown street corners, yelling at you to repent of your sinful, movie-going ways; it sounds like this is a message coming from one of those funky-looking vans, complete with a megaphone attached to the roof, it sounds like I mean hell and fire and brimstone and the second coming.

This isn’t that.

What I’m saying is this-you’ve got to be all gung-ho about this, and lay all those cards on the table, not hold any close to your chest or up your sleeves, no matter how badly you may want to.

I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians 13 lately, and it’s good and it reflects this all-in, lay-your-cards on-the-table thought.  You know these verses, and probably by heart: it’s “those verses” that everyone usually has someone read at their wedding-“Love is patient, love is kind…”.  It’s those verses, the ones we all valiantly aspire to be on our wedding day, those verses we hope to God we all have present in our marriages and in the treatment of our spouses.  It’s those verses, the ones we also think are slightly unrealistic; those verses I personally wonder sometimes if they are even attainable, especially on the days I am mean, grouchy and tired, the days that I am anything but patient, kind and long-suffering.

So, these verses, to sum it up quickly and way too easily: love is key.  And if you have that, you have everything.  And if you don’t, you have nothing.

If you ain’t got love, you’ve got nothing.  Nothing.

You could be the most faithful person ever, the holiest of holies, have all the verses in the Bible memorized and ready to convert anyone at any time.  But if you don’t have love, none of this matters.   Even if your heart is in the right place, that you mean to help someone but don’t have love, are you truly following Christ’s example?  Or are you merely a statistician, trying to meet a quota of making sure people understand God’s love, without actually loving them first?

I would say the latter.  Not of course, because I don’t like you (I like you a lot actually, especially if you are reading and sharing this blog, hint-hint), but if you’re just spewing off things about the Bible, Christianity, how people should be or what they should do, it’s not really about the love-the love of people, the love for people, or the love of God.

I’m not saying you’re not awesome, you are; simply because of the fact that you were made by a Creator that loves you and that alone makes you worthy.

But, if you think that your role as a Christian is just trying to point the people in the right direction without loving them first, you are truly missing the point.

And might I add-you’re also missing out on a vast amount of love, life, laughter, tears and the very fullness, richness and beautifully imperfect experience of life along the way.