Peace Like A Metaphor

Yesterday I was finally able to meet with my pastor after being delayed by that roundhouse car accident four weeks ago. On the morning of January 27th, as I drove, I mentally plotted out a sketch of the many things I couldn’t figure out or understand. But so much can happen in a month. The logistical life changes are in progress, and the spiritual dilemmas (at least a few) have had natural moments to untangle. Yesterday morning, sitting safely in Starbucks with Sam, I kind of stabbed at what hasn’t yet been addressed.

I’m usually pretty good at communicating complicated plots, but here I’m a little stumped, so I’ll head back into a metaphor that occurred to me while talking to a friend on the phone last night.

When I became a Christian in 1994, it was after having grown up in church, rebelled for a few years, and come back out of extreme depression. I put on my theology and beliefs like moving into a fully furnished house because I had nowhere else to go. I embraced all of it completely. There were uncomfortable things- paintings I found disturbing, rugs that I couldn’t pick up to clean under, smells I couldn’t eradicate, but it was home. I also added things to the house, but got rid of nothing, opting instead to leave those hard choices for another time, or maybe never. Because of some things that happened over the last few years, all of this became intolerable. It might have been smart to slowly tackle the issues, but what happened instead was total demolition. I was throwing stuff out the front door and lighting things on fire, smashing through walls and spending more and more time outside…

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The Adventure of Armed Robbery

Letting go of fear can make anything an adventure.

Several years ago I was working at an espresso stand in Western Washington. This is becoming a more popular way to buy coffee beverages throughout the US, but it has been a kind of epidemic in the Pacific Northwest for decades now. I usually worked by myself in this little hut just off of a popular highway. To the East (on the window side), was the highway and to the West (the door side) stood an enormous and visibly abandoned building.

Within the course of several weeks we began to hear reports of other drive-thru espresso stands being robbed in the area.

Setting aside what kind of dope would risk jail time for the pitiful amount of money to be found in an espresso stand, it made all of us worry. I remember coming to work on several afternoons feeling fear that this thief would choose me.

What fear accomplished in me made me worse at my job. Instead of welcoming every customer that came, I felt super cautious and suspicious of certain men and all walk-ups. I smiled less, and engaged in much less conversation…

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Perfecting Weakness

It feels good to be small.

This is my main take-away from six months of sabbatical.

Recently I described the year like being lost in the woods .

It felt like I ceased to be myself for a whole year. I ceased to know the things I thought I knew well and stopped connecting with many things that had previously given me joy and life.

It freaked me out to be unsure of everything I used to know. To add another metaphor to the pile, I was drowning.

And kept drowning… 

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All Manner of Thing

I am mentally or emotionally uncomfortable about 80% of the time. 10% of the time I’m checked out and the remaining 10% I feel good, happy, joyful. Say what you want about the difference between happiness and joy, I’ll take what I can get. (That’s not entirely true. I do recognize the difference between things that are merely soothing me and feeling a real letting-go kind of peaceful joy.)

I took an online test recently (certainly reputable!) that told me that I’m a “Highly Sensitive Person.”

Good one, Captain Obvious.

The most enlightening/depressing thing I read, as I studied up on this before unbeknownst to me legitimate personality profile was that Highly Sensitive People spend much of their time unhappy because they’re always kind of struggling against an overstimulating world and struggling toward an inner sense of quiet. (An impressively long sentence, if I do say so myself.)

Good luck with that inner sense of quiet I’ve been working on so assiduously…

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Once More With Feeling

I used to write poetry and now I write to-do lists. I used to go with the flow and now I keep a calendar.

It’s not that I have lost my soul to the daily grind. Just the opposite, actually. I have discovered a motivation that surpasses my melancholy or my desire to always be comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not so fundamentally different that my desk is now always tidy. I still wrestle with life and try to take time to think about the why’s behind action and existence. I still feel like I’m in a foggy dream for at least an hour after I get out of bed, and I still get ideas stuck in my head that poke at my guts until I give them words. My identity as a daydreamer is intact….

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Heart as a House

Something I discovered last year stays true today; breakdown leads to breakthrough. After the crying moments I experienced last week, there has been so much more peace.

This week God gave me a picture of something really beautiful concerning these dark places in my heart that I had noticed but wasn’t sure what to do with. Bear with me while I give some back story: In 2003 there were several times when my heart was likened to a house. At the time the house was shut up tight. Blinds down, door locked. It was pretty cozy in the living room area with a fire in the fire place, but no one was getting in there with me. Two other pictures of this house that year involved my struggle with depression and that soon I would stand up from a slump I had been experiencing.
Then several years later I was dealing with some issues I had with food and had a mental picture of that same house with a big, hungry monster in the basement. Insatiable, demanding and grown out of a desire to protect myself from pain.

I’ve been walking out some awesome healing this year. I have been finding more and more how God really will satisfy my needs…. and that most of those needs come down to a need for love. This is so good and feels a little bit like learning how to fly….

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Tuesday’s Child

Sometimes posts are more fun with bullet points.

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* Next week we start on the Old Testament! I’m actually excited. I feel a kinship with those ‘children of Israel’… and most of the adults, too.

* I’ve been having stomach problems for a few months, so I decided to try cutting out various things for various times to see how my body reacts. Right now I’m off gluten. That’s on top of not eating sugar or sugar substitutes. Whoa….

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Midwinter Nights Walk

It was probably close to 50F when I left Jessica’s house a few hours ago intending to come home and possibly read or knit. The walk from Jessica’s to the house I’m staying is short enough that I almost do not have to experience the weather before I am back inside. Thankfully a light breeze caressed my cheek just halfway home and I took the gesture as an invitation to take a walk. In addition to the nearly warm night air, my tummy was very full from some delicious, spicy dish I had just eaten at Jessica’s.
Add to that a head full of questions, prayers and thoughts, and you have the perfect ingredients for a very good, long walk….

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A still, small gaze

Last night I sat for a while with an 11 month old baby in my lap. He sat calmly staring into my eyes for a long time- searching my face with his little fingers and then taking hold of my nose as if it were my hand. He seemed to have his own inner stillness while he studied my face and it amazed me. The memory of it even now calms me and simultaneously reminds me of the last living moments I had with my daughter.

What do babies know that we do not? What we know may be summed up in the vast amounts of information and stimulation that they have not yet experienced. Everything is right now. Need, joy, hunger, want, adventure, intimacy, sleep…..

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