Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring means new moving mess...

And a new empty house...

Not to mention,


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mary Poppins

"God is not found in right ideas- but in right relationships." -barbara taylor
Sometimes, when I am feeling especially reborn (usually about halfway through my second cup of morning coffee) I experience this hallowed longing to meet my own children.

I've written to my own son, and squinted the eyes of my heart to get a glimpse of him. I see him with me someday, usually when I get the urge to get myself good and lost in the woods somewhere. He's the shadow of a boy-child in my imagination, which is truly too vivid for my own good and gets me in more trouble than I can say. 

I should have been an actress. 

"I think God weaves." I told my boyfriend.

When I say, "I trust, I wait," I hear Him say...

"I weave."
And it's funny, or absolutely perfect how these three words are like dance steps between He and I. How my relationship with Him is so precious, so undefinable and dramatic and imaginative that I cannot explain it. I can't make anyone understand. If only there were words to describe how He lives in the part of me that no one else could ever understand...the part of me that is my too-vivid imagination, my foolish hope, my child-heart that just believes there is more than my skin and bone and breathing. There's something else I ache to touch.  

This is the greatest frustration of my life on this Earth.
This is why I have to write. 
This is why my boyfriend pulled up to my house yesterday and found me standing in the middle of my front yard with my arms crossed in the rain, glowering at the half moon. We got sandwiches and sat in the car in the parking lot of a gas station and I tried to explain what it was like to just believe there was more. I told him about the moon, about seeing half but knowing that the other side was in a shadow. "I long for the shadow side of life." Of course, he has man logic, and thank God, or else I'd probably be a living vegetable sitting in a tree, floating in my mind somewhere about East Asia. He balances me out with at least a bit of truth. 

He keeps me from morphing into a complete gypsy.

And maybe he is so logical with me because I am so downright imaginative. 
I am Mary Poppins.
I am a writer and a Nanny. 
And a girlfriend in the front yard of a little house absolutely pissed at the dark side of the moon.
I believe that God is weaving all the people and the trials and the moments of my life into something beautiful that I can keep.

I am thankful that when I say to Nathan, "God can fill all of the holes in me," He says, "And by "God" you mean...?" Because he won't let me get away with the sayings of a Christian cliche that sound so right in the moment. Because truth and reality are very important to him. So I think about these words I've always heard and thought and I define them for myself. Nathan's search for truth causes me to write even in conversation.

"Love. His love can fill all the holes in me."

"Okay. And by Love you mean...?"

"Love. Love between people. The connections He brings to reveal His heart. The power of relationships, of compassion and mercy and real understanding: His love on this earth and inside of me."

He smiles as if he knew that this is what I meant all along. He sits back in his seat as if I am his karate kid and he is the wise old teacher. I sort of want to take his sandwich for being so prideful but then he looks right into me, still with a little grin.

 "I love the way you think."


Sunday, February 26, 2012

The World of Leaving.

Rose wore a hat when she stepped out of a car and into the pandemonium of those waiting to board the Titanic. I'll never forget that hat. Tilted over one eye, it hid half of her face, it hid her from the world. With her lipstick, and her bright eyes glazed with pride, she hid the child she really was in that moment: bewildered...filled with dread. But mostly alone.


Yesterday, I bought a hat.

I gird myself up for things. Now as I dwell in my house (I have to use the word dwell for the way I wander around the rooms and take in the things I never thought to consider before) I mentally prepare for leaving.

I fight anger. I fight the urge to question why I ever lived in this house if I was only going to leave it behind. I wander the rooms. I stand with my arms crossed in the basement. I look out the windows in the kitchen. Legs crossed on the couch, I think and I am angry. 

"God, why did I spend a year here if I am only going to leave again. Dear God, after May someone else will live here and I can never be in this time again. Dear God, did I make the most of this time? God, I hate the change that comes, and why did you ever make life in seasons of time that build nothing, but pass away and take pieces of me that I can't ever find again."

There are more fears, and they add up morning by morning. They build the way fears build, into a sob in the chest.

Will all the people I've known in this time, living on this street, pass away just like the walls that have held me for this year? 
To better lives? To Texas? To far away places in canyons and gaps that are too great for me to bridge?
Will the things that I have learned, and the ways that I have grown stay in this house, stay imbedded in these walls forever?

For someone who hates change, moving to Nashville was not a good idea. The past four years have been all about change. Passing months brought nothing but transition, and I was all the while turning inside-out with fear. What was deep within me came to the surface, and so life was painful. What was deep inside had to come up to the light and heal, and change was just the vessel that turned it up and tilled the soil to make it ready for planting. All my life I had longed for a beam in the center of me like the ones my father put against the ceiling in the basement to bear the weight of life against the upper floors of our house. And then. One came. A friend. A strength. The beam. 

For by wise guidance you can fight the battle, and in abundance of counselors there is safety. Prov 24:6

While I was living at 911 Waldkirch Avenue. One stayed. And I was born. On that front porch with the rocking chairs facing the long windows of old houses across the street...I fought.
And now leaving may mean that I must leave behind the ones that God gave me. The ones who, with open hands, held the floors of my house up while the hailstorm of life pounded. And pounded. 

I fear.

There are no easy ways out, or quick fixes and insta-healings. All of the transitions are in the journey the way the seasons plant a tree and build it strong against the storms. Season by season, it does not die. It spreads its arms to the light and matures, for hundreds and miles of seasons and skies. 

Yesterday I bought a hat. 

Yesterday I sat on the floor where the window makes patches of bleeding sunshine on the rug in my room. And I lifted my arms like some kind of tree, and closed my eyes and let myself feel as though I were being built. Stronger. Because the storms will come. Leaving looms like dark clouds on the horizon of the coming months. As much as I pray for God to make my story different than it has ever been and shred my past experiences with Leaving, I am fearful.

The storms will come. 

I bought a floppy hat with a wide brim to cover one eye and prove to myself that somehow, as I step out of my car into the pandemonium of a lonely journey, I have my pride. 

And maybe I will be wrought with understanding for someone else in the world of Leaving. Maybe while my faith breaks for a moment and I am closing my eyes, the Lord will bring me a beam and hold me up. 

The storms will come, and I'll be lifting my shaky hands, being a beam, having a beam. Maybe someone with breaking faith needs to see me with Leaving swirling all around like the wind in a storm... one arm reaching for Jesus, the other one holding on to my hat.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012

We drove out, far from the city to see the moon.
My spirit was broken and there was nothing to say.
He leaned his seat back and I did the same.
There was only the moon and the open field
And nothing to say.
The sky was almost black and reached long
Like my mother's coat a long time ago
I thought about explaining the way her hair 
Was black when I was a child
As black as his
As black as the sky
And it brushed my face when I leaned in
to the curve of her neck
But the words wouldn't come
There are no words for things so beautiful
As the way it felt to be held like that
The way it feels to be in the chasm of in-between
A mother's love and a man's love
And I 
in the curved palm of the open black sky.
When I can't explain
I cry
And his confusion has learned to rest
The way he did that night
Being there, being silent
He and I and the moon
And my mother's love.
I couldn't explain that she was there
In the pieces of me
In what has been lost and what has been found
In the moon of an open field
And her black hair

 When I lean in
To the chasm of in-between 
It brushes my face 
In tears
In words 
Of what can't be explained
In the curved palm of the open black sky
And in nothing to say.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Some things I live are pretty sad. They come in waves that leave irresolution in my soul like soap scum- hard to remove. Today I did several sad things, but found that the line between sad and hysterically funny is rather thin and colorless. Maybe that line is called awkward. Like peeing in a cup twice in one day at TWO different doctor's offices because, "Ma'am your urine just seems off." Well... Thanks. Put it like that and suddenly I feel like I need to apologize. 

So I did. 

One of these times I was told to carry my urine in a plastic bag from the clinic to the public restroom at the other end of the store. The act of carrying my pee in a translucent jar in a public place was so mortifying to me that I contracted a small fever as I half-galloped, half-walked in order to maintain a calm but quick sample. Next thing I knew, my fever and my funny pee had me on the way to urgent care.

Now I know it was urgent, but I visited McDonalds in between doctor's visits so that my stomach didn't make an ugly, hungry, gurgling sound when the doctor pressed on it during examination. Of course I was sure this was going to happen, and though I don't normally like McDonald's I pulled up to the window and ordered the item that was least likely to kill me. When the woman tried to hand it over, I off course was shaking violently from carrying my pee in public and immediately dropped the entire thing on the ground. No exaggeration, it literally exploded on the pavement and I was faced with that awkward moment of trying to shove one leg out of my barely open-able car door as she apologized profusely. "It's me," I finally said, as I was bent over scraping mayonnaise soaked lettuce off the concrete, "I'm sick." After that I just got in, put the car in drive and drove away.

Don't get me wrong, I like doctors, but I'm not crazy about them. Today, after I was questioned by two people about my mysterious illness which included several elderly-like symptoms I won't mention, the doctor moved in. He kept his voice low, as if we were sitting next to each other during communion and I ought to be whispering. Then of all the crazy things to do, he positioned himself six inches from my face and asked me to re-state my symptoms. I'd had it. I'm not 76, there are actually rules about how many times I can talk about pee in one day. And this is not the hallmark channel, I can't do it with a morose face and puppy-dog eyes. Now that we were really getting personal my face was flushing all shades of pink and every single one of my teeth were gleaming in his face, which was by the way, deadpan. Try smiling as big as you can six inches from your computer screen while describing your urine. Yes. It was like that exactly, and just as quiet on the other side. When his long list of possible solutions suddenly included the words "pelvic exam," I got myself right off that crinkle table and put my arms through the sleeves of my coat. "I'll take the pills,"  I told him as I tied the belt around my waste in three tight knots... "I probably just have weird pee."

After that I went to my car and sat there for a long time. My heart was pounding and I felt like I needed to regain some trace of dignity. I tilted the rearview mirror and applied some lipstick. With a red mouth I looked right into my own eyes and said, "You're smart. You have great pee, and you're very, very dignified." That was that. Insta-confidence. Of course as I backed out of the parking lot I saw that the Toyota next to me, packed full of elderly gentleman, had witnessed the entire thing. I should have cried. Instead I turned on rap.

I hope they read my lips.


Lord, Thank you for your gifts today. 

Please curb the loneliness in my heart and fill all of the places that ache for no reason at all.

I pray that you bless my uncertainties and insecurities. See into all of the unknown in me and heal. Help me to be awake and alive to all the ways you touch my heart. To patches of light on the hardwood floor, and to the beauty of a spoken word, the ability to touch and comfort and light up a soul. Bring me back to a place of vivid truth. Help me to see You in the paths I take, and fill me with the fire of a mind enlightened and renewed by your love. I need your love to live. I need your love to be awake and alive.

From a darkened mind I have known death. I have been overshadowed by tired motions...Hope rubbed dry by clouded daytime. Until the gift of light returns and I see the shifting sun of day on the worn threads of an over-trodden area rug. Beautiful broken and useless house that is my heart. Someone whispers, "Come alive. Come alive."

Arms outstretched on either side, I brush a wooden fence with my fingertips, or part the mist that settles through the rushes on the lake, held still in the sudden burst of wind throughout the hills. Looking all around, I welcome the lonely sigh of these vacant woods and hope I never see another traveler until breathless, I turn and make my way down the trail. Goodbye wind. Goodbye silence and still waters. Goodbye rushes and mist and goodbye myself, I leave you here to breathe free and open. To be wild as the day you came.

For now, the wind picks up, and in the unexpected thrill of a thousand roaring leaves I lift my hands and know, there's been an invitation to dance.