Of music and musts and medicine…

The music flowed like medicine,   gently relaxing fingers
where my soul had become a fist closed tight.
Over my senses it came,  like springtime drifting through a window,
this invitation to the whole and small of me.
“Father,  I want you to hold me,”
the slow healing sound offered me words
to wrap around the lonesome inside.
“I want to rest in your arms today,”
sang someone who sounded tired like me.
Tired of hard trying and hiding
and making like I was fine.
Just fine.
There came a hush to my noise as the song ached low
and with it came permission here to be not quite fine at all.

“Hold me,”  I sang to this presence who enfolded me in a way that felt protective.
Here I sensed protection from judgement,  from evaluation,
from every driving, pushing, accusing thing i’d ever run from.
  Here was a love to run to,
and my voice dropped whisper-low as I sang the words,
“I bring all my cares and I lay them at your feet.”

This moved across my tender places so hard that I drew my breath in sharp
and let it go slow,
slow as a lifetime.
Here,  with this benevolent being,  this gently-there presence,
were no musts about another something else to do.
There was nothing here to earn.  No performance allowed.
And I heaved a tearful relief,  exhausted from effort,
from failure,
and from being angry over the notion that I had to try.

And so I began to show up to the music,
to meet with God there,
and so great was the peace of this place that I wondered whether I could ever
be moved to fear again.
Because this Love wasn’t impressed with me.
Nor un-impressed.
This freedom from evaluation felt delicious to me.

“I’m impressed” were words I’d learned to pocket
like tokens of my worth.
This had come with a hefty side of insecurity
because being impressive is such a random spark-of-brilliance kind of thing.
You never know when it will fire
or just leave you standing in the dark.
And I was tired of feeling exposed and having to hustle to cover myself.

Yet here I was,
all splayed out and weepy and unraveled and felt somehow safer still.
This began to heal the all of me
from every little bit of un-love I would ever know.
The relief swelled up inside and ran down my cheeks.
Here was a door only open,
a Love always there.

In those awkward places of pain,
those anxious parts that didn’t seem anywhere to belong,
in every tender, posing,  hard, off-putting,
game-playing,  humiliated place,
God was in the music and rocked me safe
in arms of Love.

“I feel your arms holding me,  I’m not alone.”
– Brian Doerksen

“The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice
that says good things about me,
to gently push aside and silence the many voices that question goodness
and trust that I will hear the voice of blessing.”
– Henry Nouwen

Of sinners, saints and seagulls…..

(Gosh,  I almost put out a cold tray of leftovers for you here again today
because I’m scared silly to wrangle free the words stuck inside.
But here goes.
Because a bad beginning is better than no beginning at all)

My life is a small one,
as lives here are generally measured.
My jobs have been many and unsubstantial and not even the measuring kind.
No fancy credentials.  No letters after my name.
My time here on earth unimpressive,
a barely glance-worthy resume,
if I had a resume.  Which I don’t.
If I were to muster one up,  it would be underwhelming.

And yet mine is hardly a wasted life.
In fact I like my weird little journey,
even when I trip over messages that I’m such an underachiever
that my time here barely registers on the value-meter.
But I’ll wrap back around to that later in this series.
I think I’m stalling:)

What I really want to start tugging my words loose about
is my Christianity.

There.  I said it.
Did your skin crawl just a little?
I understand the shudder.
Because we generally freak people out.
Christians even unhinge each other
unless we’re cut from the exact same strip of cloth
and sewed up tight and exactly like the next.
Which nobody is.
So it can be prickly business,
which is tragic since I think God is the least prickly being ever.

A few months back I brushed my words light across the story of my heart’s dance with God
and it was life to me to pour it onto paper.
Those were the easy pages.  The sweet beginnings and where I’ve landed.
I want to go exploring through the come-to-Jesus years,
the messy in between
because I’ve grown more curious about this thing called “Christian,”
how it’s tossed around and flashed and fought over like scraps flung to seagulls.

“How can you call yourself a Christian and……..”
Many of my people don’t even use the word anymore.
Somehow it’s come to name a hurtful thing.
I want to go exploring.  To tell my truth.  And maybe discover healing along the way.
Because healing is only ever what I’ve always wanted to offer
and I’m one of them,
odd though my flavor may be:)

So come along or wait this one out.
I’ll be back for the next however-many weeks digging up old stories,
looking for buried treasure and sharing it with you here.
With all the love I’ve got.

“As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do,  what we have,
and what other people think about us,
we will remain filled with judgments,  opinions,  evaluations,
and condemnations.
We will remain addicted to putting people and things
in their ‘right’ place.”
– Henry Nouwen

Cry baby cry…..

insta simple

I’ve had my heart broken,
the air knocked out of my voice
so it’s been quiet here for a little while,
giving myself instead to the work of breathing in and back out
and then repeating all over again.
And I’ve given myself over to the tears which
seem to flow unchecked and without warning.

I’m wildly grateful for the sunglasses I get to work behind,
the way my work lets me wander and wobble without fanfare,
and for the spilling-over-healing wonder of the tears themselves,
as if the sea finds me exactly where I am
and strokes my cheek with salty fingers
in the spacious,  windy way that I love.

I’ve given myself permission to let the sad be,
to let the tears rain down comfort,
let the petals be crushed
and the kleenex disappear extravagently.

5 insta

And as I’ve cried it out,  not pulling away from the pain
but letting it say it’s part in this story still unfolding,
I’ve been reminded to stretch wide my other wing,  too,
the one that lets beauty sing her grateful joy
until they’re both unfurled,  these powerful wings,
both joy and pain in harmony,
making music that pulls me deeper into life.

Life.  My God,  how I love it.
Raw and unscripted and teeming with things that scare and scald
and heal and delight and stretch and surprise and shave our rough edges smooth.
Life lived bare with the soundtrack unplugged
and the feeling turned up strong.

Tears unhindered,
smiles unforced,
heart unguarded
and freckles wet and nourished with saltwater peace.
Life not false.

Unblocked.
Unsunk.
But unbroken?
Hardly.

And my hope and I are okay with that:)

insta playful heart


I want to share a tool I’ve been using,
something offered by  Mandy Bird,  the gifted and compassionate grief counselor
I’ve been working with.  You can recieve her wise, intuitive care,
along with her collaborator, Chris Saade,
in their DVD series The Model of Heart-Centered Grief .
It’s a tall glass of hope and help for the hurting.
I so recommend.  Worth every
shiny penny.

“Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering
end up disconnecting our suffering from God’s suffering for us.
The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.” -Henry Nouwen

I’ll be drawing a name from comments to send a care package from my heart to yours. For the love:)