May Current. My Tide of Wondering.

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Waiting for a flow waiting for a flow

(Three Days Later)

I wonder sometimes if I will always remember this season of my life. Mugs of coffee, walking Ranger in my North Webster neighborhood where there is both litter and progress on the streets, family and friends nearby.

I wonder if the feeling I have in my heart when I contemplate where I go to church, feel gratitude to who helps and prays for my family and scan my life for new paths I have to help and pray for others will stay or if the feeling (it feels like newness and curiosity mixed with patience and acknowledgement) will evolve into maybe some wise old woman type heart.

You know – like the kind of woman who knows how to cut and trim the herbs just right and what kind of Psalm to sing to her roses to keep them from getting brittle.

Is that a stretch?

I wonder, of all the friends in my active circle, who is the one with the next thing to teach me.

I wonder, of all the people I haven’t met yet but will meet in the future, who will validate the choices I am making now. In my near 37 years, there is always the validating stranger who comes in and says “yeah – that’s great – that’s like what they do in <name region of the world> to <name thing that I was also trying to get to>” and then they usually add something “you should read” or “you might like” or offer a deeper reason for said thing they are validating which helps me understand how a prayer was answered in my decision to do something.

The Pastor at AME Blackwell Church said “Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

“Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

Like the people that will come in and validate, there will be the storms that come in and expose me. My vulnerabilities, what is unhealthy about the things I do. I wonder when that next storm will be. And then I wonder and survey my life and see if there is any obvious place to reinforce, any obvious tool I need, any obvious gaps to close.

I wonder that about my emotional and spiritual life like I do about my house, my land, my motherhood.

I wonder how many times I will be afraid for the lives of my children and pray for a shield over them and how many times I will still – even after experiencing relief from this fear – I will be hit in the head with the practical wisdom of Proverbs and prayers of Psalms to remind me how much more power good has over evil. How my words matter. How my time matters. How the stories I tell my daughters matter. How the food I cook them matters. How the way I filter guilt and shame and speak in clear language matters. How my listening to them matters. How my hugs matter, my patience matters, my certainty and servant heart matter.

I saw the mint expanding today in its golden yellow pot (which I will likely have to move once it gets taller than the roses) and thought “I’m not going to move the pot yet”. This awareness of timing is something that has matured in my heart. The patience. The willingness to see how it goes but the proximity to be the right kind of proactive; there when the next step is ripe.

I offer all of this – a journal of today – in hopes and in prayer that we all recognize the seasons of our life, the way the day feels – and get some power from knowing it is all a part of the process.

XO, Erin

 

Peace in Snakes and Cookies

I once had this image of Jesus praying, knowing he was going to physically hurt and face death.

I imagined him on the cross, knowing that he was going to die and how, based on what we know about Christianity, he must have hung there with conviction that God prevails – life prevails…

…from the darkest days of winter come the lightest days of spring.

Carolyn Myss said in an interview with Oprah that she did not think humans were actually afraid of death, but moreso afraid of how they were going to die.

Jesus knew. It was going to be brutal, but all good in the end.

I used to think this was a generational thing, but the older I get, the more I realize adhering to a “God-given” concept is difficult. You can be a good person without being Christian. (Heck, you can probably even be a better person than some Christians. )

Believing whole-heartedly there is one way is not accommodating to a flexible, alternate world.

And, given the state of media and the flux of information, even feeling settled into one way you find mildly appealing can be a challenge. There is just so much to consider, all the time.

I hear people say, “I am not religious. I am spiritual.” But there is not always conscious alignment between outward living and spiritual self, necessarily.

In some of my experiences with people in either school of thought “you don’t have to believe in God to be a good person” or “I am not religious, I am spiritual”, I see an opportunity for ministry – for community – for service. Something that puts it out there and if the school of thought is really working for you, invite others in, saying, “YOU! Yes! You too could be enjoying this miserable day!”

Sometimes it’s the absence of gratitude I don’t understand, like shouldn’t we all honor that bigger intelligence that makes bees and galaxies?

And, that leads me then to the concept of “hope”.

I have grown to realize that I prefer to use hope as a noun “I have hope” as opposed to a verb.

Don’t “hope so” – have hope that it will be so. It’s supposed to be an anchor, anyway. (Hebrews 6:19)

People hope for new things but then spend time imagining every single possible obstacle or opposite result: “but my family”, “but my children”, “but my life”, “but my job” “but the bills”…

We all do this – we think of all the things that have to change or move for that thing that feels good and right to happen and it makes us sad.

We lose the hope.

HYPOTHETICAL SADNESS CHOKES HOPE.

I remember watching Lucy color on a sheet of graph paper. The page was covered with the exception of two cookies that she drew for me when I came over to sit by her. What I found fascinating was that when she offered to “draw me some cookies”, she drew them directly on top of something else.

Personally, I would have been strongly inclined to use a blank piece of the paper or start a new sheet.

After all, it is a new picture – a new image – a new concept – a new idea…

How could that new idea possibly take shape and be whole on top of another idea?

But… see, that is just it!

Your life is completely layered. Year after year,  you layer: memories, lies, challenges, successes, goals, ideas, relationships lessons, skills, failures, loss.

Watching Lucy color on top of color, cookies on top of snakes, I realized my personal grief, sadness and stress tend to come from wanting fresh starts, clean slates, new beginnings so I can change.

I crave resolutions, birthdays, milestones as times to rebuild and realign my identity to a newly discovered aspect of my purpose or a new habit or practice.

I found peace in all those colors, assimilating them along with the years of my life. All of my experience I wish I could erase because I would do it differently? I know now that within those experiences are my lessons which have led to subsequent successes.

I know that the times my strengths were undervalued or underused propelled me to where I am now: valuing and using my full set of my capabilities as much as humanly possible.

Why do I want to wipe those clean?

Grace is acceptance – acceptance is peace.

This picture to me is grace: draw something new on top of what already exists.

No more guilt-debt, wishful line-erasing, wasteful paper… just keep coloring.

Love the layer and layer the love.

So think about that for a little bit. I’m going to go to sleep.

Grace in Snakes and Cookies