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even as the welcome mat seemed sharp withdrawn from the place where i felt my truest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;

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Badlands and bounty and loving it all……

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I took a week away unplanned because I was spent from tugging some story into words
and then I lost my faithful little sidekick,  Lucy,  and I needed to hold some quiet
around me soft while my heart sat with it all for awhile.
In all of my remembering,  I met again the word that found me at the new year.
I’d danced with several.
The one that wanted to come home with me was so bold and sure of itself
that I could only smile and take it’s hand
and go.

All

And so began a year of leaning in to be brave enough
to learn to live from the all of me.
With all of my heart.
Even when I feel the hiss that I’m too loud,  too expressive,  too ebullient,
too much.
Be the all of me,  anyway.
For all of my life.
Give it my all.

barn beauty

Always.
All day long.
Leave it all on the table.

Lucy lived this little word in a big way
and we loved her for it.
And so I welcome again the gifts in the grieving,
both the side that hurts hard
and the side that celebrates the beauty and wonder
and laughter that she gives us still
where we hold her in our stories.

Life is a bounty
and I want to live it all.

I’ll be back next week with a fresh batch of words
strung together just for you.
Wishing you all the joy your heart can possibly hold,  friend.
And a couple of measures more.
A cup-runneth-over type situation:)

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“Hope knows that pain does not get the last word.”
– I’m not sure who said this
but I like it.  A lot.

I’m giving away a package that I’ve added to my quiet little etsy store
– a soul spa,  of sorts.  It’s given me such joy to make and write and send these out
that i want to offer them up to anyone who wants.
I’m plumping them up and letting them sing a little louder now:)
Leave a comment and I’ll draw a name next weekend.
With much love.

fluttering fingers and moonlight twirls…

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I didn’t mean to see her so big.
Went looking for an address so i could send a letter that was for our eyes only
and, like a dream, I found her instead.
I wanted to make sure she’d heard me….to walk all the way to the edge
and lean over the side to make certain that she’d received my heart unedited.
But there she is and I cannot look away.
It’s like discovering this incredible Christmas present in the closet when I go looking for the lights.
I know it hasn’t been offered yet,  but my eyes can’t keep from dancing:)

I scroll through more images,  like I’m hearing her echo under years of rubble.
and my heart thumps wild hope as I dig.
The rest of the world goes quiet as I unwrap gifts – a local talkshow interview
and then another,  and I’m hearing at last the music of her voice.
The moving water of my children all together laughing is my favorite sound;
now hers is flowing across my ears and I throw back my head and join every glad noise
in the universe, belting out thanks for the wild beauty of this thing.

There is a timbre that siblings share,  like the voice of rippling waters.
The river just got wider and my heart stretches with the sound.

I watch her mannerisms, mesmerized,  matching every nod and tilt and gesture,
all so famliar – I know this rhythm.
I need to grab somebody’s arm and say,  “look!” – to share the wow of this discovery
but my feet are planted where they stand,
wilding over the beauty – her intelligence and humor and heart..
What she’s building in this world is just so cool and I’m grooving to her words,
powerful and clear,  even as she explains,  “I’m adopted,”
and I take in the way a shadow passes over the light in her eyes when she says it,
the way mine do when I’m feeling hard or pain
and my hand floats unthinking to the face on screen.  Am I seeing anger?
Is that grief?  Shame?  Or do I only imagine – just my fear on the screen.
Oh baby girl.
“Please talk to me,” I ache.

053

Facebook.
Do I even dare?
I’m standing in front of her profile picture
and the long road I’ve traveled seems to end right here.
I squeeze my eyes to hush the “don’t you even.”
My fingers flutter above the friend request key.
No.  Stop.  Too much.  Is it?  It’s an invitation,  right?  Or is it barging in.
Will she welcome this discovery or feel it intrusive?
I don’t know.
I don’t know so hard it hurts.

Instead,  I keep my hand over my heart
and let my eyes wander through her posts and pictures and perspectives,
savoring each one as I go,  like picking up feathers and leaves in the park.
I’d choose to hang out with this woman.
Like all of my kids,  this is someone I enjoy.
I can’t dig any deeper and not say something…..it feels stalker-ish.
And disingenuous.  I need to brave up and tell her.

I hit the message box on her profile and the daunting blank canvas pops up on my screen.
What do I even say?   
I want Amanda to know that I found her and I’m here,
– just a few pecks of the keys away – want to connect?
And if she doesn’t want,  or doesn’t want now,  I promise not to push.
If I don’t hear back,  I won’t withdraw my love.  I’m in either way.
I tug the message into words and my finger stalls on “send,”
my heart a jumble of joy and yes and please and oh shit.
I can’t do this.  Yes you can.  Go.  Just go – I mash the button quick to send.

When at last I get around to checking addresses that night,  I’m spent,
so it doesn’t bowl me over right away the several years she spent living in my city,
leaving just before we arrived.
Tomorrow I’ll go see,  I sigh as I finally nod off,  drained by the electricity of the day.
Like a kid after too much Christmas.
A few hours later,  I pop up with a start – Instagram!  I totally forgot to check….
I trot down the hall to my computer and  there she is again -too beautiful for words.
I linger for a while,  so punch drunk in love that I can hardly send my silly self back to bed.

One more quick check – facebook, did she answer back?
Not yet.  Okay.  It’s okay.  She’s on the west coast right now – time difference and all that.
I sit for a minute and hold the sheer awesomeness of even knowing this now,
my soul twirling grateful in the moonlight.
I’m guessing tomorrow,  then.  When she’s had time to digest.
And as sleep sweeps me up at last,   I’m smiling still.

big rock love
“When you get right down to it,  Lily,  that is the only purpose grand enough
for a human life.  Not just to love,  but to persist in love.”
– Sue Monk Kidd
(The Secret Life of Bees)

 I’m seven weeks into this Summer series and I love that you’re here.
Thanks for hearing and holding the pain of my story with such balmy care;
If it doesn’t shine through the ripples yet,  I’ll write it more clear around the bend,
the peace that’s holding me and the squeeze of Love’s hand.