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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

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growth

worth more than glue

When I was sixteen, my father beat with the shoes I took off my feet upon coming home from work after taking my boss’s mother to her house. She did not drive and I was later than normal, home later than expected, but I was honest with my accounts however my honesty did not help. I was still beaten for being late because I supposedly was lying about where I’d been.

I ran out the door that night in my barefoot, in the pouring down rain, desperate. I ran across town to my boyfriend’s house and his family welcomed me and my tears into their home. They called my parents and told them I would be at their house for the night and I knew it would be a very long night for it was the first time I ever told anyone that my father beat me.

The next morning I went home to silence and for weeks that silence continued. I had shared our families secret and heard the message loud and clear.

“You are to be like glue and keep our family together. You do not come undone and share our secrets.”

Fast forward years later and it’s weeks before my wedding day. Same thing: sudden rage and a beating. This time I am standing outside my parents farmhouse holding a laundry basket of clothes my mother had just folded for me, my two-year old daughter nearby.

I go home afterwards and cry for hours nursing a headache that won’t go away.

But I am glue. I keep our family together and I don’t give myself any consideration. My father walks me down the aisle despite my knowing deep within myself I don’t want him to but since appearances are everything, I take his left arm in mine and smile.

I’ve hated myself everyday since and it has nothing to do with abuse and everything to do with a little girl who gave up her voice at the expense of squeezing herself into a mold she was not made for.

Now, many years later, I find myself sitting nauseated in a lawyer’s office. I realize that despite whatever the outcome, being there was one of the bravest things I’ve ever done in my life. In my entire life.

I was standing up for me. AS me.

All my life I have found my worth and value in other people and in things, in doings and the like and when those things are good and pretty, when all is going well, I am enough.

And when things aren’t…well. You can imagine.

I have tethered myself to the whipping pole because it’s what I’ve deserved. Surely it must be what I’ve deserved becuase I’ve done wrong and I’ve done right and the results are forever the same: I am not valuable.

Because who beats their grown daughter in front of her own?

I’ve felt like a dog.

Oh to go back to that day and say, “Enough.”

But I can’t go back. All I can do is make peace with my enemy and forgive myself for doing the best that I can, even if the best that I can was not right for me.

“You are the glue that holds are family together.” My husband said these words to me a couple of months ago and I bore the weight. I felt the heaviness of “Suck it up and carry on.” I should want to be glue. Glue sounds capable and strong, almost noble. Like something I could robe myself in as a woman, especially as a mother. But I don’t want to be glue. I don’t want to keep on keeping on, my right arm interlocked in the cusp of everyone else’s for the sake of what?

For the sake of WHO? Jesus?

Is that what it means in real-time with my every-day-life to take up my cross and follow Him? Is that what “laying down my life for my friends” looks like?

Please someone tell me because all I know is that I have this voice inside of me telling me to listen. That it is o.k. to listen. To listen to what I’ve always known deep within myself but been too afraid to stand in.

Because it’s easier to tie myself back to the whipping pole than it is to stand firm in my own truths, which at the end of the day are rooted in His.

I am worth more than glue.

HE says so.

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fester 

I can feel it flowing through my veins. Toxins are trying to poison my soul. There are things that have not been talked about recently and I take the lack of initiation on any part, other than mine, poorly. 

The long and the short is this: I want to stop reaching becuase I want to be reached INTO and my “ I wont if you wont” attitude is seemingly costing me a great deal. Anger is festering. Communication has been waining and open to interpretation, which becomes a free-for-all for assumptions, which I know better than to make. 

I appears we are not on the same page and that feeling adds extra weight to my gut. I don’t know how we’ll ever move forward because at the end of the day, weeks later, here we are. Same ole. Same ole. Time and space have crept in and the hot water has slowly turned to not so hot at all. Nothing has really changed. Nothing has really been talked about and as much as I sit, telling myself, “Just focus on yourself. YOU keep moving forward,” there is this undeniable reality that I’m not the only one here.

We both are. 

So I go back to “Who am I?” 

I AM a communicator.

“If that is WHO you are, march yourself downstairs and communicate.”

Sometimes I really loathe the voice of reason and wisdom within myself.

And I do. I bound down the steps and plop myself in my chair and as much as I don’t think it is my turn or duty (which often feels like an obligatory noose) to continue to reach forward, I do. I initiate. I communicate.

“I think we need to talk.”

And there is agreement from both sides in this statement.

Not much is solved but we both walk away and doors are left opened.

I have a picture in my head of taking the doors of my heart off its hinges. I see myself throwing them into the flames along with our very dead Christmas tree that lays on the ground outside our house…watching it disintegrate into nothingness.

I don’t think my heart was created to find refuge in doors.

 

 

 

Plant the Seed

In 1995 I graduated college and within months, I rented my first house. Now in my good opinion, you can’t have a house without flowers so off to the store I went. My eyes drifted to all sorts of beautifully potted plants, so colorful and bright. There were so many to choose from but my eyes drifted further down the aisle to a row of seeds, tiny and small.

And expensive.

Now this is over 20 years ago and for a college graduate with a baby in tow on her hip, seeds packets seemed like a risk. “Just buy the potted plants that are already in bloom and be done with it,” said the woman behind the counter when I questioned the in’s and out’s of seeds. I obviously looked a little unknowledgeable and she obviously looked a little annoyed and we both needed more joy in our lives so I bought the seed packets and called it a day.

And to home I went.

I remember holding those tiny seeds in my hands and debated where to plant and when. Which side of the house? Is now the time? BECAUSE I SPENT MONEY ON FRIVOLOUS SEEDS…

I don’t remember much else but I do know that some came up and some didn’t. I dropped them all in the dirt the same and covered them with darkness and the ones that struggled to find the light found it, big and bright and became these big and beautiful blooms on teeny tiny stems of plants I chose to grow rather than buy.

John 12:24-25 says “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

It is easy to stand with tiny, precious seeds in your hands…contemplating decisions of what is best, how to and why. This world can leave you puzzled, confused and torn with fear. “Dear God, what if I let this seed go, whatever shall become of it? It it is dear to me. It cost me…”

And just the same, it is easy to feel covered by darkness, chilled to the core by damp days. Should you fight your way out of the pit or just wait to be rescued? Surely if you were loved, you would be plucked up and out, right? Should you wriggle in faith and trust that the light above is out there somewhere waiting, even if you don’t see it, even if you don’t feel it? Should you believe that it’s cheering you on to do the hard work so you can bust out of the shell that longer serves a purpose so you can grow, grow, grow?

Here’s the thing about light…it believes  that life can happen underneath what is seen, in the cold and the dark and the damp. It does not compromise itself. It doesn’t give up nor go away. It doesn’t turn itself on or off based on the seeds response. It stays true and steady regardless wether the little seed underneath the earth wakes up and decides the fight is a good one. The light is indeed reckless in its love, for the light is ALL in. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t abandon. It is relentlessly FOR. It wakes up, it shows up…

We are continually in the position of choosing, which is one of the greatest of all gifts. Free will. We either choose to hold tight or we choose to let go. We either choose to take risk or we choose play it safe. We either choose to stay dormant and small or we choose to fight hard and grow. Father God in His infinite goodness is surrounding us, within us…steady and sure. He is there when we wonder and when we doubt and our heart aches in uncertainty and our hands our heavy and tired from holding on. He is there when we feel alone and forgotten and scared, when our will fades and we think giving in to the darkness would relinquish our struggle.

He is reckless in His love for us. He was willing to give all. Jesus lost His life so we could have it.

Looking back, it may seem like a small and pointless memory but I am glad I planted those seeds all those years ago. Who knew that 22 years later the thought of them would pop back into my conscious heart as I sat on my couch on a early morning contemplating the struggle and the fight. Is it worth it?

Can I be reckless in my love for Him?

Yes.

Even in the dirt and the darkness, we can choose to emerge anew and full of life.

If you are pushing you way through the darkness, keep growing. 

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