The wonder, the welcome and the walls…..

It’s the walls I hate the most
as we head deeper into the tangle of briars that is this season
of lines drawn hard and stories and hearts left unpacked in the corners
where we may polarize and hide
because it doesn’t feel safe right now to show our underbellies.
As if we weren’t already lonely enough.

All the sharp biting can make it feel too dangerous to be honest online,
and that fear can spill right across the table in real time where we actually gather.
As if connection may be easily severed.
Un-knowing each other so hard only grows our sense of isolation,
and when you feel unheard,
a deep lonely can set in strong.

I love the way Brene’ Brown describes this experience:

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve called Steve from the road and said,
‘I’ve got the lonely feeling.’  It’s not unusual for Ellen or Charlie to say,
‘I don’t like that restaurant.  It gives me the lonely feeling,’ or ‘Can my friend spend the night here?
Her house gives me the lonely feeling.’
When the four of us tried to drill down on what the lonely feeling meant for our family,
we all agreed that we get the lonely feeling in places
that don’t feel alive with connection.

My daughter used to call it the Sunday night feeling,
and I think as a nation we’re cultivating it like a well-worked orchard.
Miles of barbed wire and disconnect grow the now-thriving acres of lonesome.
How can we be love in all this crazy?
We work and pray for systemic change in the long game, yes,
but we bring healing into the fray every opportunity we get
during those moments when we find ourselves offended.
Right before the fight or flight kicks in,
each time our soul breaks out in hives
and we feel compelled to slam a door….

…in just that hair-trigger jolt,
before up come our defenses,  our posturing,  our pride,
we can (big breath)
go
low
and instead of rising up ready to battle or bolt
we choose to maybe  e-a-s-e  open some space to listen and better know
the human, the heart
and the hope.

We could be addicted to closure,
to feeling clear and correct and certain,
and we humans can make stuff up if necessary – whatever narrative we need to hold –
so that we feel like we’ve got this thing handled
on the moral high ground
and have wrangled into our journey some sense of control
on this huge spinning dizzying ball.

I believe it’s possible to do this season from a more spacious place –
that we can hold our beliefs and opinions  strong and with courage,
examined and curious and unashamed,
and also hold also brave space for connection.
That each time we feel the prickle of offense,
instead of throwing up walls,
we
can
lean
instead
into having an awkward sit in that uncomfortable place
of listen-and-slow-your-breath-down,
holding space for: “I don’t see or  agree,
but will work to understand,  to offer acceptance,
and hold space for where you land.
I won’t judge you,  won’t fear you,
will acknowledge your value and worth.
I honor you as more than your affiliation.
You’re included,  you’re welcome,  you’re heard.

Oh God I want to not give my ego what it’s hungry for,
to un-satisfy it’s demand be large and in charge.
I want to choose an open heart,  an uncertain path,  and a big wide love lit bright.
Still baby-stepping and re-learning and willing to change
through the long of this hard day’s night.

“Cruelty is easy,  cheap and rampant.”
“You cannot shame or belittle people into
changing their behaviors.”
– Brene’ Brown

Pride assumes
Creativity wonders.”
– Stephen Roach

Congrats to Lisa Moreland – your name popped up in the giveaway this post;
I’ll be sending your print along to you – with a whole lot of love.
This week I want to give away a new handmade journal
Leave a comment and you’re in the hat!

And still the moving things….

I’ve been moving through some changes and it’s been a gnarly sort of stretch
but also beautiful and grow-y.
Always the paradox – the God-breath and the grit.
So, still from the soup, I want to share some of the stuff that’s been moving me:

~  all of the extra oxygen in my lungs (!)
I took the shot.  The one I’ve shied away from for several years because too many risks.
But then the risk of un-living my life seemed to loom larger so I dove in
and did the risky deed the doctors recommended
and I can breathe all the way down
to the bottom of my lungs.
This feels crazy big and I’m sometimes giddy with air.

~ the way the early evening quiets the heat
the dusk gentles the sun,
and how the river sings my dry places soft again.

~  the courage that’s somehow finding me to be transparent in shamestorms,
to stand sometimes unmasked until my fear gets tired of fearing
and love gets to find me like that
and heal some of my unloved places.
The whole getting better at not hiding thing.

~ for the fields of yellow where horses graze with the foal
who trots along playful like a dolphin born into a buttercup sea.

~ for the mishmash of music making my summering sing,
including Willy Nelson Sings Gershwin,
and Lauren Daigle’s Look Up Child.

~ for how I’m learning to live in a rest that can weary what wants to drive me,
can just demoralize it because the joy I keep tapping won’t lose it’s fizz.
that I can cry angry,  heart-broken tears and still trust the Love that’s holding me
and plant myself peaceful in this place.
How this is stronger than the certainty I crave.

~ for the high places and skies that ride these ridges
where I can listen to the wind words.

~ the way life is giving me soft moments with my mother
that I didn’t know I needed until I find the girl of me running hard to plant her flowers
and bring her beauty and make her eggs wet and find the words
that have fluttered far from reach before this tender time when we’re both bent low
so that maybe we can see each other’s faces true.

~ the compassion of friends who see my gimpy places and smile the same smiles
that warm me when I’m strong.

~ the first ripe veggies of Summer,  elderberry syrup in my tea,
and all the brave moves that let us be fresh berries splashed with cream
and served up sweet instead of growing mold in the back of the fridge.

“You are not too old,
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out
it’s own secret.”
– Rilke

Thanks for your patience with my heavy Springtime ways.
It’s coming on Summertime and the living is easier
now that the planting is mostly done.

To leave behind a well-worn life…..

I want to live my life – the whole messy thing –
live all the in-betweens and almosts and dark corners.
To live even when I’m spooked and my living starts to freeze up,
when I’d rather go sleepy
or let a blue day swallow me down.

I want to live above the ground for all of my days
until my body is done,
to recognize quick those moments when I opt out,
when busyness makes a racket and I can’t hear the un-lived moments
float silent down like the ash of a cigarette left burning,
the soft stink of something left to die.

I want my life to smell well used and air-dried and open-windowed,
never dank like a room shut up and left
until someone comes back to find it
later.

I want to live all the way alive,
 each morning early when I pull myself from pillow
and live for real the whole of the day until I sleep,
to leave a well-used life still warm and speaking
like a blossom,
like a mountain,
like a shriek.

“A storm was coming but that’s not what she felt.
It was adventure in the wind
and it shivered down her spine.”
– Atticus

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;