A strong and blameless place…..

Hello fresh beginnings.
I so welcome, you.
I’ve been away from my blog and am grateful for a shiny new jumping-back-in place.
I’d felt swept away end-of-year,  caught up in a fast tide rising,
and miffed about the undertow that grabbed me away.
Truth:  it wasn’t the undertow that shut me down
but the fear that I couldn’t create my best stuff to contribute in the soup.
Couldn’t get my words out meaningful enough or make my art artful enough.
Or my camera couldn’t find light enough to see the stories like I wanted to tell them.
I’d be found out if I said the awful stuff rolling around in my head.
and wanted instead some soulful beauty to share.

Wasn’t this this bitter version of myself best quieted away until I could sort my crazy out?
No and yes and all the maybes.

Short and oversimplified:  I was terribly mad.  At my partner.
And scared of the financial chaos I felt trapped in
-it felt like a funhouse with moving floors and smoke and mirrors and scary clowns
I’d fallen down hard too many times and couldn’t find the door.
I just wanted to see clear and feel safe
and didn’t know how to take care of myself and also love the ones I love.
And mad at myself for not being smarter and smoother about it all.

In the rumble of truth-seeking and help-finding I discovered a something
that will ride along shotgun as I travel this year.
I can be a blamer.
A hardcore,  deep in my DNA blamer.
It’s how I learned to protect myself from shame.
I’m a pro at shifting it fast so I can quickly understand and feel some safe ground.
Even when I don’t understand at all.
Just that thin illusion of control.

We all live with our narratives.
Some of my mine were soaked in blame.
And what I’ve learned is that,
when we reach for blame,
confusion and chaos move in and set up camp.
(thank you most excellent marriage counselor)

I want to love more and blame less.
To take responsibility for my own stuff and stand my sacred ground.
To thrive in my marriage and in my relationship with myself.
The little word that grinned back at me this year feels like strength to my heart,
a good walking stick for the climb.

I’ll come back and unpack more later:
just sharing now the word:  blameless

Love to you and your journey this year,
and peace with every step,  even when the way seems blurry.
There is a way.
May your exquisite heart be light.

“When you cease to exist,  then who will you blame?”
– Bob Dylan

“May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.”
– Ranier Maria Rilke

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…….