Hear the bones they break…..

It hurts to stay in my skin sometimes as messages blister across airwaves and page.
If I could say one word to we-the-people of this land that I hold dear,
it wouldn’t be “love” but I would mean that so big.
It would be listen.  Please listen.
Because we’re saying love a whole lot but I wonder how it is
we keep arriving at conclusions while sidestepping respectful conversation.
Love is love is love…..it extends to oppressors as well as the oppressed.
There is a distinctly different working out of it for each,
but love gets dragged up under the rails and crushed
when we don’t let it steady our speech.
Words that diminish will never move us into healing change.
They just won’t.
We need to listen and hear.

I’m breaking from making the words so I’ve gathered some quotes that I love
about listening and learning to lay down our arms….. to let love have a go.
Hope you find a nibble that you like:

“You reclaim  your power by loving what you were once taught to hate.”
– Bryant McGill

“Listen with curiosity.
The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand.
We listen to reply.  When we listen with curiosity,  we don’t listen with the intent to reply.
We listen for what’s behind the words.”
– Roy Bennett

“Being heard is so close to being loved
that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”
– David Augsburger

“Instead of seeing how much pain I can dish out towards those I disagree with,
or who I believe have done me wrong,
I seek to use my words and behavior to create more of what the world needs
– love,  compassion,  and connection.”
-Aspen Baker

“Listening is where love begins:  listening to ourselves
and then to our neighbors.”
– Fred Rogers

“Your lips are moving,  I cannot hear.
I’m looking through you,  and you’re nowhere.”
– Paul McCartney

Thanks for dropping by,  dear one.  I so appreciate your presence here.
My mister is having surgery in a few days and I’ll be wearing a few more hats.
He’s not ill;  just in big-time pain and must get a brand new knee.
The timing also feels painful hard as we head into our busy season so I’d appreciate
all the prayer, good juju and encouragement you might feel inclined to send:)

Of loving and leaving to the light…..

Just this.
Because I need a little break this week from working out the words.
I made this for you to sip on,  instead.

Love to you,  exactly where you are,
and to all that you carry inside.

“My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted,
until I discovered that the interruptions
were my work.”
– Henry Nouwen

 

 

 

 

 

Of skinny dipping and scripture…..

At first the words landed sweet,  like the tingle of sour candy I used to scrape across my teeth
during Summer matinees,   so swept up in story that I didn’t notice my tongue start burning raw.
It would later hurt to talk and it took some figuring
to trade in those large pastel candy pucks
for a box of something creamier and chocolate,
which feels a little like the path I’ve taken with scripture
and I’m fumbling,  talking milk duds,  while I stall
to find the words because this is where the wicket gets especially sticky
in my story.

The word of God.
I still have a bit of an allergic reaction to this phrase,
and to many of the clusters of words that make up what my faith calls the Bible,
this volume of letters that I’ve loved and loathed.

“Of all the scriptures I despise,  I hate that one most of all,”
the words scrambled out of my mouth
too hot and fast to wrangle back inside as I watched faces go shocked with nervous laughter.
It was a little gathering of believers that met each week where we
sprawled on couches and floor and worshiped easy and talked real and spoke encouragement
and prayer over each other’s hearts and lives and people in a genuine,  healing way.
It was bliss for me until it took an unexpected turn into bible study and my insides began to squirm.
The offending verse brought back the sharp slap of shame I’d felt in earlier years
as I’d failed to “be healed” or “have no anxiety” and showed up weak or depressed
to you better cowboy the faith up and do better and believe harder
because neediness is sin.
The medicine was to “get more Word in me.”
(I can’t even make this upOh. so. heavy.

I’d eventually run away from this and similar spiritual floggings,  then wrap around and circle back,
this time to safer-seeming places and mostly they were and I loved the love I’d discover
as I unwrapped another slice of freedom from the very same book that pounded me before.
It was like swimming in the sea and being drawn into and dazzled by beauty and light
or suddenly stung and throttled until squeezed empty of breath.
What was the deal?
Like a sandpiper on the beach,  I’d dart away then go back hopeful,
drawn always to the sunsparkles on dancing water.

There are a million places I could settle and even more stories why,
but I want to tell you quick were I’ve landed
because the long version is a love story still unfolding and for another day
The cliff notes for now: I go no more into the water alone
wearing the tight, heavy clothes of assumption.
I invite the author to take me there,  skinny dipping,
like a guide who seems happy to have me along for company
and may be eager to show me a shade or swirl I’ve never noticed
or just bob in the waves until some weight slides off
and I’m floating free where I felt constricted before.

Because the whole thing is a painting,  I think….
Poetry and parables and picture-talk,
spacious fields of buried treasure inviting discovery,  spirit calling spirit,
a long beach for combing slow,  encountering gifts washed up from the deep.
Going there intellectually seems like driving fast down the beach in a truck,
looking for messages written in sand.
Mysteries get missed and even crushed that way,
and so do people.

I came back to life in the rhythm of the waves,
walking bare-heart on the moist of the sand.
I’d looked for God in a still life and found eventually an abstract painting,
an allegory with a generous guide.

Do I even think I understand it all?  Oh Lord no and feel no pressure to try.
And I wouldn’t argue any point at all, except for this one:
if someone looks inside this tapestry and sees a picture
that paints God as harsh or vengeful or petty or moody or narrow or disengaged,
anything other than the good I see loved out loud in the person of Jesus,
I don’t buy it,  thinking this projection of bias,
or even more likely translation of a foreign language based only on our native tongue.

Maybe it was always meant to be a treasure dig like I’ve come to wonder.

I can only say that I’m  finding still fresh fountains buried for me there
and the process seems to grow inside me something that I wouldn’t trade for certainty.
And yes,  if served up in a spirit that my heart no longer welcomes,  my soul will break out in hives
and I’ll run screaming into the woods with no apology.
I have no tolerance for spiritual bullying or the suffocating fear it can cause.
(Really,  people?  From a God who took the pains to write down “fear not”
365 times in a book he was willing to pass off to wobbly beings like us to have published?
Don’t even try to threaten me with fear.)

If I had to say it short,  I’d say that yes,  I believe that scripture is God-breathed,
like trees and sky and sea and flowers and puppies
which we also tend to get our sticky hand prints on and pollute or even abuse.
(i’ll go there later – where i’ve landed on the whole deal of suffering and a loving God)

For now,  may I just bless you wherever you are on whatever your journey
in whatever you choose to believe.
I love this about life – how it’s all one big eclectic explore and we’re all welcome along the way.
And for each time someone has used scripture at you – caused some blunt trauma wound,
can i apologize to that hurting place.  I believe wholehearted that it wasn’t from the heart of God.
Someone just couldn’t see the picture for the paint.
You are loved.
Always.
Loved.

“Will you follow me down that old dirt road and get lost inside those mountains?
Will you rip up that map and dance inside the confetti?
Let’s chase the horizon and find ourselves along the way.
These are wandering feet and they wish for you to join them.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

” Don’t settle for an angry,  narrow-minded,  linear-thinking,
unkind,  punitive God.”
– Robin Macmillan

Thanks for coming along on this series…..I have maybe one more or maybe I’ll find myself done;
it’s been harder to dig up the words than I ever imagined.
I’ll be putting it to voice soon,  like I wrote it to be.
Here’s another little video I made you….hope you enjoy:)

 

 

Swinging doors and celebrate me home…..

So why,  in the wild, wild beauty of this sweet breath of God,
is church even a thing?

I remember the way my soul drew up taller when the couple climbed from their car
to meet us in the field where we used to play like banshees until the organ began to play.
They were our Sunday school teachers,  and had arrived to be here on a Saturday afternoon
for something that I don’t now remember.
It didn’t matter – they had come and we were together,
all the other kids and I,
and when the husband grabbed my hands and swung me playful like a ragdoll,
the music of that smiling gesture landed
firm that I belonged.

Here in this place where the music rolled out rich like Sunday dinner to call us all inside,
I felt more than bone and birthday and bottom lines
to the One who threw open doors that let me tumble giggling on the lawn.
We were -all of us – invited and so the belonging ran deep
like a river running through
and  i ran free for as long as believed it.

To have once belonged like this is a treasure stored and I hold it dear
even as the welcome mat seemed sharp withdrawn from the place where i felt my truest
and I have it always, the option to stay mad and serve up blame and why couldn’t they see
that my bad behavior was a howl of pain
and not a slot marked “damaged” where I felt neatly filed.

But I couldn’t see my own truth so how can I bring the gavel down.
The whole,  “So what if i don’t fit;  I still belong,
would take me decades to learn to hold.
Maybe they never held it for themselves,
and in the end I found the door and safer pasture.

Many doors later,  I find myself drawn still to those dotted,  grazing hillsides
for the very and only reason that I love the whole community thing.
Really,  really love it when it works  – when it’s inclusive
and supportive and accepting and come on in – the stuff of home
and togethering and chairs pulled up close around the table and celebrated joy
and circle the wagons in our grief and,  yes,  dysfunction because it’s family,
but fumble on and forward fall and figure it out because we’re for each other and we’re what we’ve got.
And there’s shared hilarity in even this.

Yeah,  it’s the shared part that I love,  even as my love for independence dances rowdy
on the graves of ways that have died.
To be curious together.  Vulnerable together.  Knitted together strong
and yet each thread celebrated
for it’s own unique flavor and shade.
This is the stuff of riches.

So i haven’t given up on “church” because I love so hard the hope of a local community
that is bigger and more diverse than anything that I could build alone.
The risk it seems I have to take to go there – to move toward connection,
is worth the pounds of fear I have to lose each time
I draw near and get real.

“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”
– Mary Karr

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family.  Or more happy.
Or more exasperated.  Or more…….secure.”
– Jim Butcher

If you follow along and read the words I write down here,   you have my everloving thanks!
I appreciate the time you take and hold that dear.
Thanks for coming along this Summer on this journey of a small-ish series.
I appreciate your company so:)

A little video I made for you…….

 

A trust-fall back into the flow…..

Sometimes,  when I barrel into a block with my writing,  I wriggle free
by doing this something that comforts loose the flow
and I wonder if it’s an odd quirk of mine,  or do you do it too:
list-making.
I love lists.
Sometimes the list becomes the thing.
Like today,  when I’m trying to back into a project I started in the Spring,
because I still can’t seem to find the front door.
These times I often go around back and see if there’s a little service entrance
where I won’t feel so conscious of my muddy-ness
and I can sit on the porch and leave my shoes to dry
while I walk on, barefoot,  inside.

I began a series back in March to explore the stories stirring in my heart
about my messy dance with God on this noisy planet,
rocking always,  this world,  to the strobe lights of scattered messages,
sweet and sullied,  soothing and strangling.
To discover more what really fits for me and who am I anyway
in the wide river of this mystery.
Yeah,  just a little tidbit to chew on.
Then life splintered down pretty hard and I pulled back for awhile.

So I’m offering up my list
as I do a trust-fall back into the flow……

Religion vs. Spirit
(when I speak of “religion” I’m not calling out specifics.  No disrespect.
I mean fundamentalism,  which can disease any set of beliefs or thoughts)

~ Religion dries;  Spirit is fluid.

~ Religion  is push;  Spirit is flow.

~Religion is strain; Spirit is release.

~ Religion is punitive; Spirit is creative.

~Religion is flint sharp and squint to balance scales;
Spirit is lightning strong and redeeming what is.

~Religion is pity,  for it stands above and apart;
Spirit is compassion,  for it identifies with and meets.

~Religion is strive for perfection; Spirit is permission to thrive.

~Religion accuses and shames; Spirit reveals and restores.

~ Religion is performance; Spirit is presence.

~ Religion drives; Spirit woos and calls.

I’ll be back around with my stories and songs as I bob on down this river and see where it takes me.
Thanks for being a place where I can share it safe in the borning.

“Everyday I wonder how many things I am dead wrong about.”
– Jim Harrison

“I’m here to be me,  which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped.”
– Anne Lamott

Sharing below a little video I made for you;

Breath blowing free through the curtains of our being…..

Come ride this wind of my breath tonight,
fill up the hollows until I can sigh
smooth and untangled from the rhythm of the trouble
I seem to be borrowing from all my tomorrows.

Won’t you help me curl my breath around the smoulder
of some thinking overheated
by the worry I’ve been keeping,
secret fears grow unseen in the thick of my gray matter,
shut away from light like the mushrooms
my friend grows in the dark of her garage
and when she showed me how fast they sprung up we smiled proud
of her musty crop of fungus,
but my runaway assumptions are a tiresome sort

and I want to throw open windows to the truth,
to let the light slice through
until my own free breath
is blowing through the curtains
of all my shut down places,
filling up with nakedness and fresh supply and God.

God,  I’ve heard,  is in the breath.

Releasing breath into every place of need,
to you and for all that you love.

“Smile,  breathe,  and go slowly.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

A breather of a video – a short shot of air for your heart
with love from me:)
(another little bite on free-breathing…..because my writing was always cobbled to be heard and not just seen)

 

 

A barefoot mercy…..



I wrote a post and hurled it up “on time” – my self-imposed deadline,
then took it down again for the love of you and I
and the scurry of words which needed a good bit longer to marinate.
Felt like I was forcing them through a sieve instead of letting them be
what they wanted to become.
So I’ve got lots of space here
that I’ll
just
let
breathe.
No fillers.
So interesting to sit with this discomfort.

Mercy – it’s what I tried to wrap words around.
Such an evocative word,
mercy.
Mercy and forgiveness.
Since the words aren’t crisp yet,  I’ll leave you with these brilliant ones:

“…we are always the ones
who need to be absolved,
taken back into our hearts.
I forgave myself for the fisherman’s words and behavior,
for taking on his ugliness and making it something I believed
to be true about myself.
His words had gotten on me and then in me,
and then I had hoarded them,
building evidence that I was right about being fundamentally wrong.”
– Anne Lamott

And I’ll share my first video (happy sigh)
on my fledgling youtube channel.
Come see,  if you like.

 

 

 

 

 

My father and the sea……

I cannot separate my love for my father
from my love for the sea.
They meet and merge like the tides.

Each year,  when we were young,
despite his longing to vacation in new places,
to satisfy his thirst to explore,
he would carve out a week to gather by the sea
with my mother,   my sister and me,
and lean into the rhythm of the wind and the waves
that smoothed back the furrows of his busy forehead
and I’d watch his eyes go soft
to the soothing of surf and sound.

They relaxed,  those deep brown eyes,
because there was room enough,
and space and calm and time enough
to hear the light
and see girls in the sand,
even ones that were hard to see.

That great wide sky
and vast rolling water
un-pinched and turned my father’s face
and sometimes his eyes would find mine
and stay awhile.

I lived for those moments
when the sea and he would look at me.

I wonder at the power of fatherlove
and breathe grateful thanks
for love that looks and sees and smiles
and believe that my father’s love will find me always
as sure
as the shore
meets the sea.

“Fountain of sorrow,  fountain of light,
you’ve known the hollow sound of your own steps in flight,
you’ve had to hide sometimes,  but now you’re alright,
and it’s good to see your smiling face tonight.”
– Jackson Browne

Gifts from a song-bird…..

I want to share some birdsong I’ve been grooving on,
some sweet shots of sanity
that sift  the kool-aid to the top
so truth can skim it off and toss it,
leaving clearer waters inside.

Because, geez, this world gets noisy,
so much hype and clatter
drummed down harsh on living things
and we seem somehow to reserve the cruelest prattle for ourselves.

Into the thick of some sludge and syrup,
God sent me a bird.
Mandy Bird.
I want to share some words from her perch.
Because maybe you need her healing music just now,  too.

“Something very beautiful happens to people
when their world has fallen apart:
a humility,
a nobility,
a higher intelligence
emerges just at the point
when our knees hit the floor.”
– Marianne Williamson

To this rich quote Mandy responds,
“This is the blessing of huge struggle……
don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is bullshit.
Putting on your big girl panties usually means avoiding your grief.
Those statements are designed to shame you for being so beautifully human.
Tell shame to kiss off.

Don’t fall for that numbed out bravado.
Let’s actually learn to be heart-awake and emotionally intelligent.
Be courageous by keeping your heart open.
Now that’s big courage!”
– Mandy Bird

I know,  right?
And this.

“Don’t lessen your intensity to make others feel comfortable.
Don’t pour water on the fire of your heart.
The world needs your fire and passion.
Tell shame to kiss off.
Be you.”
– Mandy Bird

I’m in the thick of writing and writing and more writing
so I wanted to share Mandy with you this week instead.
Because her voice is one of the ways I listen for God above the fray
and I love her humor and heart and way.

You can find her on Instagram @bird_mandy

“The Ocean says ‘quit pretending to be clear.
That pretense keeps you from receiving what I can give you.’ ”
– Rumi

Of curiosity and closets and the clothesline of things…..

I’ve been taking stock,
cleaning out the closets of what I think I am,
reclaiming some treasures and discarding what no longer fits.
It’s been carting off piles of what may have worked in seasons past
and infusing with sunshine fresh from the clothesline the ones I choose still to embrace.
There’s been sadness in the letting go
but this yummy, spacious joy in the after
and I feel so light about these roomy new digs that I want to share
what got refreshed and left behind to grow:

Who am I anyway.  A list:

~ I’m a friend.  A good one.

~  I’m a mother.  Not a great one.  But devoted,  wholehearted,  and I show up always
to the learning curve to discover,  listen and improve.
And I relish the climb.

~ I’m a lover of people.  Oh yes – love deeply and without apology.
I get caught up.  Smitten.
And I’m rarely disappointed.   People are mostly altogether
as beautiful as I first realized them to be.
Relationships may disappoint, yes,  and I’m learning to better navigate those,
but I think humans are almost always lovelier than even they seem.

~ I’m a codependent, recovering.  Always recovering.
But I feel the crazy like an old injury when certain triggers and fatigue wear me down
and I can stumble down those stairs so sudden
that I’m sleepwalking in the thick of habit before I’m fully awake.
I’ve wrecked a relationship or two this way.
Mostly,  though,  I reserve the lion’s share of injury for myself,
still often giving more than I can afford.
But I am in recovery, enthusiastically showing up to the work,
currently working a 12 step (CoDA) and getting some delicious freedom in the new.

~ Because, I’m a student.  Always.
Curious and unwilling to waste my living unexplored.

~ I’m a gardener.
It’s how I see the world.  I love the whole messy, unpredictable process;
– it feeds something deep inside.

~ I’m a seer…..empath…..intuit
– whatever you want to call a super-sensitive soul.
I feel places,  see songs,  hear hearts,
sense energies,  and sometimes touch the mystic.
I accept and often enjoy this,  and it also sometimes unravels me.
Such a paradox,  life.
(And,  yes,  so woo woo)

~ I’m a listener.
I love to know people.  To hear their stories.
And to be heard and known.
Assumption is the ugliest thing I know.

~ I’m a lover of nature,  lover of honesty,  a lover of God,
and a lover of words.
I’m a writer,
and diving deeper into the deep end of things I’ve carried
since I was only a girl full of dreams.

Someone recently handed me a box of darkness,  as Mary Oliver described,
and this indeed has been gift.
I’m getting clear about who I’m not,  that I am,  and what my own heart may be howling
above the music of the waves.

I’ll be back more now that our busy season is done and all the gardens growing happy.
So much that I’m bursting to share!

 “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this,  too,  was a gift.”
– Mary Oliver

“Over and over,  we are broken on the shore of life.
Our stubborn egos are knocked around,  and our frightened hearts are broken open
– not once,  and not in predictable patterns,
but in surprising ways and for as long as we live.”
– Elizabeth Lesser