Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home is...

I love this song but it makes me cry to varying degrees depending how fragile I'm feeling and for  a few different reasons.  

It was popular when my dad was dying and the verse, Be careful what you wish for, cuz you just might get it all and then some you don't want, took on poignant meaning.  I was dreading going home for the funeral because I knew the family drama would be high and I would be trying to play peacemaker or at least try to pick my way through the battlefield keeping myself and my little family relatively unscathed.  Yeah, wish granted since he died the day *I* was born making it impossible for me to make the 10 hour trek for his funeral.  

As I listened to it on the treadmill yesterday, it brought on tears for a new and different reason.  But if you know me, you know that tears are my release valve so, no big news there.  I was just glad no one was downstairs to witness the huge sobs as I chugged along, no one I had to reassure that mommy was fine, because I wasn't.

I realized the truth in the cliche, "You can never go home again,"  recently.  I also realized that home is not always the geographic place where you grow up, where your childhood home is or even where your biological family is.

The kiddos and I took a road trip back to the place where I grew up, where two of my kids were born.  The mountains were gorgeous, the air was so fresh say we were not welcomed with open arms would be an understatement.  


So after little more than a drive by hello to family because we felt so welcomed and loved (not), I showed the kids where I lived, where I worked, we went to the top of a mountain (the picture at the top of this blog) ate some ice cream and came back...home.  

I left my house in the morning thinking I was going home, and I left the place of my birth heading ... home.  

As we were driving out of town that afternoon, I turned to the 17 yo and said, "It's beautiful here but as much as I love it, I don't think we could live here again."  He finished my thought, "We don't have anyone here anymore."  

I had to keep my eyes on the road and bite my lip (Staring out into the night, trying to hide the pain)  because it hurt me so much to hear him say it.  For me to feel it was one thing, for my kids to feel it was a whole new level of hurt.

No, home wasn't in my rear view mirror.  Home is where we live now; (The place where love and feeling good don't ever cost a thing, and the pain you feel's a different kind of pain.) where we are surrounded by friends, people who love and accept us, who care enough to get messy with us when we need them; family by heart.  Even the 17 yo recognized where our people are.  I think that says something. ;) 

I'm going home, to the place where I belong. Where your love has always been enough for me.  I'm not running from, no I think you got me all wrong.  I don't regret this life I chose for me. But these places and these faces are getting old so I'm going home.  

I am learning (over and over...and over again) that I grow through the hard things; the hurts and challenges and mistakes.  I wish it wasn't like that.  Maybe it's just me and I can't learn without some emotional drama/trauma. The gift is that through it, I gain compassion for others.  My heart is overflowing with compassion. ;)  

I hope that wherever you are, you find the people who love and support you, even when life gets messy.  I hope that you are home.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If the Shoe Doesn't Fit...

This morning I was joking about my list of Cinderella chores, which usually brings to mind the Disney version with singing mice...

But in her book, Ruby Slippers, Jonalyn Grace Fincher describes the Grimm version in which the stepsisters, so desperate to fit into the tiny golden slippers, slice away parts of their feet and hobble bloodied and mutilated to the prince.  (And in case you missed the end of the story, it's all for naught.  Cinderella still gets the guy. ;) )

Fincher states:

Often the roles we play are like pinching shoes.  In order to fit some role, we squeeze ourselves, contort ourselves, even cut off parts of ourselves...It hurts to wear shoes that are not for us.  It hurts to keep shaving off parts of our souls.  Can we just admit it once and for all?  Our feet don't fit Cinderella's slipper...It's embarrassing-- ugly even-- when we see what we've done to ourselves to fit something that doesn't even belong to us, but until we admit it we can't get out of these silly shoes (pp. 19-20).

Now, part of me is all about shoe analogies right now.  The instrument of torture treadmill is taking a toll on my tootsies.  It's not pretty and a pedi is not going to fix it.  A visit to a professional running shoe fitting type person is in order and I think I know someone who can point me in the right direction.

 So my feet, they are a little messed up, but as I've shared, my soul is a little blistered, too.

People learn bits and pieces about me and they think they can label me.  They squeeze me into a shoe that is not a good fit and I try to hobble around in it...or I try to kick it off.  I have 6 kids.  I went to seminary.  I....have done and said and experienced lots of things, and I still do.  I didn't stop learning and living and growing. I still make mistakes, question, evaluate, change my mind, say and do stupid things...because I am human and humans are a big ol' mess. 

As I was contemplating this, I kept thinking of a Meredith Brooks song. I hate the world today, (The Husband will tell you I utter this phrase frequently.) You're so good to me, I know but I can't change.  I tried to tell you but you look at me like maybe I'm an angel underneath, innocent and sweet...I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one...

Sometimes we change our shoes to fit our moods or a season in our life.  I love to wear clogs now.  In college I wore penny loafers (as did most of my sorority sisters. ;) ).  In the winter I love to wear my black leather boots. In the summer, a cute pair of flip flops is the ticket. I'm still searching for a pair of heels I can wear without tottering like I've had a few too many glasses of wine (when I'm perfectly sober).  Just like I change my shoes, I have an evolving and growing sense of self. 

Trying to fit into a role that isn't authentically our like wearing shoes that don't fit.  They pinch and blister and hinder our progress. (Like every pair of heels I've tried on lately.) 

Let's agree to not shave off pieces of our souls to fit another person's expectation of what we should be or do.  Let's just be our best authentic selves, in whatever shoes really fit us...and likewise, not try to shoehorn anyone else into the pair we think they should be wearing based on a snippet of what we think we know about them.   

Now, somebody help me out of these silly shoes. ;)


Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Back.

Seeking.  Looking for the wrong things in the wrong places. 

Do you ever have times like that?  Times where you cannot see the forest for the trees?

I've had a few weeks of that.  That explains why I haven't written.  I've been navel gazing, but not in the right frame of mind.  I'm still hitting the treadmill daily.  I'm still seeking to choose my own destiny and reclaim the awesome I've lost (if I ever had it???). 

The big picture just got a little out of focus for me.

Interestingly, as I was having my own crisis of identity, responsibility, even faith to some degree; the rest of my life was showing the strain from my own cracks.  I was trying to go through the motions and put a smile on my face but my friends (and family) noticed.  I was forgetful, snappish and just not me.  (Well the snappishness might be "me". ;) )

One of my friends said, "You don't have to put a smile on for us, what's going on?"  Another invited me for coffee and then said, "Okay, I'm here, I'm a listening ear.  What's going on?"   I told them I needed to work it out in my own head, because I did.

This week I told a trusted mentor and friend that her comments about the way Satan will find a crack to get a toehold had hit home for me and that I was struggling.  She didn't pry.  She didn't judge.  She prayed and she supported and in telling her I was struggling, I found peace.

I was unable to go to God myself  then because I felt so lost, so separated from Him through my own inner turmoil and while friends reached out to toss me a life preserver of sorts, I was not ready to grab it. 

I share this with you for a few reasons.  1. To share that sometimes even when we're well-intentioned and loving, people may not be ready to receive our help or blessings.  2. To share that even when you feel totally alone and lost, God will bring someone to you, to be His hands and feet and love you when you're feeling unlovable. 3. To share that you can lose your focus and get off track, but through His grace you can find your way back (hopefully none of us get too far off track) .

I recently heard Toby Mac's "Made to Love You" and few verses spoke to my heart: Check my reflection, I ain't feelin' what I see, It's no mystery.  Whatever happened to a passion I could live for?  What became of the flame that made me feel more?  And when did I forget that...I was made to love you?......I feel the haters spittin' vapors on my dreams, but I still believe. 

This and I hear a seminary professor saying, as she so frequently did, "Remember who you are and Whose you are."  Wiser words I may never hear.  Because even as I seek "me", my Creator already knows.  Being authentically and awesomely me is a fulfillment of that creation.

I have said many times this week that I feel abundantly blessed to have amazing friends.  I do.  They bring me peace and joy and love, they pray and laugh and cry with me. 

God knows who I am when I do not.  God leads me where I need to go when I am lost.  God brings me people to show me love when I am feeling most unlovable.  God has blessed me with amazing friends because God knows how much I need them.  My prayer is that I can be that kind of friend to them too.