Scattered Mercy

Oh mercy.  Mercy, mercy, mercy, freaking mercy….I give.  

Tonight has been unpretty.  My beautiful daughter and I had an ugly word explosion in the car and in this moment, we are in our separate rooms working through our own muck.  I hate it.  i hate the separateness from my precious child.  Speaking of ugly word explosions, they have become common between my beloved son and I.  We seem to be constantly jolted by one another, and not in a positive way.  Distance reigns.  I want desperately to regain our closeness.  

I don’t share any of this to “out” my children.  They are teenagers and going through their own stuff.  The abundance of pressures on them from their social networks, hormones, temptations and more are weighty on my 46 year old shoulders.  God bless it….teenagering is just as tough as parenting sometimes. It’s a difficult season for all of us. They have been through alot and truly are amazing young people.  I wonder how often I get caught up in their errors and forget what’s truly important.  Considering the ease I have in getting absorbed in my own guilt, shame and errors…I’m guessing I do it with them all too often.

I get stuck thinking that the kids Dad and I have failed them.  We divorced…not in the plan.  We kinda quit raising them in church…not in the plan.  I struggle financially….not in the plan.  They are faced with all of the things I can’t protect them from….kind of not in the plan and if it was I was going to have prepared them better.  I am sometimes so scattered and that can’t feel super safe to a kiddo who is searching for solidarity….not in the plan.  It’s easy to feel like one big oops.  

Are we suffering?  Not in comparison to many.  Are we operating out of hurt?…too often, yes.

And so it is….here we are with our growing pains.  I heard a sermon in which the preacher spoke about tomatoes and the yummy, delightful, ripe juiciness they provide us after growing all summer on a vine.  His point was that this little tomato made huge progress while it was only a tiny little seed in the dark.  It was in fertile soil and when that tiny little seed had so much pressure from growing it burst…but the bursting led to the root and vine growth and eventually to that delectable tomato.

Right now, I can’t see everything on the outside and the inside feels horribly painful, sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air and say F it all.  But…there is this tiny little part of me that knows better.  Trying to hang on and maintain control, keeping us afloat…I guess that’s a decent option.  Throwing my hands in the air and releasing this gob of goo that I’m holding onto so tightly would be best for us all. 

“Give it to God”, they say.  “Lean into it”, they say.  “You are enough”, they say. 

I’m trying to find my trust, It’s just super hard.  Endless unknowns.  Can I trust the outcome even though I’m walking in the dark?  I pray His mercies are as abundant as my scattered spirit.

My kiddos and I ….just tiny little seeds going through some growing pains.  We are gonna be alright.

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Struggling

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke

Oh geez louise.  If there is a mistake to be made lately, I am making it.  The struggles are real.  I’m trying to comfort myself by reminding myself, ‘this too shall pass’, ‘in everything there is a lesson to be learned’, ‘find the value’ and ‘God’s got me’.  Truthfully…I wonder if these things are true.  What if this is as good as it gets and nothing is going to ‘pass’?  How come I keep getting the same lessons, what am I missing?  Am I figuring out who I have always been or am I living out the years I never got to live out (adolescence)?

I bet parenting me is much like parenting a wild 17 year old who is determined to find her own way without undertaking any advisement.  So be it, I guess.  It’s where I am and I am so entirely sick of fighting with myself that I’m trying to just be.  Be me.  The challenge…I’m not entirely sure who I am.  One day I’m full of maturity, light and goodness…the next day I am determined to be as naughty as can be, wanting nothing or no one to constrain my freedom.  But you see…I’m not even sure what freedom means to me.

Forgive my scatteredness, and be thankful I took time to write in my journal before this post in order to ‘sort’ my everrunning thoughts. 

I spent time with a fabulous new friend last night, who happens among other several things to be an atheist.   I am very much a lover of Jesus and a hater of rules, and I greatly enjoy discussions with those of different belief systems.  As long as we can agree to disagree, I find great value in hearing another’s perspective and in sharing mine.  I am open to both their story and to telling mine.   We are all connected, there is value in each of our stories.  This is why I have difficulty when someone is closed to these interactions.  Like…what’ so scary about hearing another person’s view?   There’s no need to have a change of heart or mind just because there is a different perspective and if a change results…whatever.

I also have a dear, dear friend who happens to be more devoted to his Catholicism than anyone Catholic person I’ve ever known.  We have strikingly different views and we’ve had some terrifically difficult conversations.  That said, I have the utmost respect for his beliefs and I feel valued when I share with him.  I am thankful for that give and take. 

On the same token, another one of my dearest friends is an atheist.  It’s the same kind of give and take in our relationship and we actually learn a lot from our open heartedness toward each other. We ask each other super tough questions and continue to challenge one another to grow through these fittings together of our puzzles.  I guess I can surmise from this that when a person is valued over the need to be right, a very different relationship emerges.

Furthermore, I have many friends who don’t fall into an extreme end of the spectrum but somewhere in the middle.  They might be sure of their faith, they may be doubting and searching or they might just be numb and oblivious.  There isn’t one of them that doesn’t offer value to my life with where they are and I hope I do the same for them.

So…back to last night with my new friend….  I was very curious about their reasons they hold so tight to their beliefs.  They shared  and so much of it made  complete logical sense to me.  During our conversation, I tried to share just the little bit that I could about my faith.  It was hard.  I am deeply searching and trying to understand the foundations of my beliefs.  The faith part is so much easier for me to share.  Just like my own life, I’m so much more assured of how to share my feelings than my thoughts, and as a Christian, my feelings are more cemented and easier to share than my logic.

I explained that it was exceptionally difficult for me to understand how I was alive.  I made it through an open heart surgery at 9 months of age that was supposed to be done in two parts.  As I understand it, they came out in the middle of my first surgery and told my parents that they had to do the rest then or I would ‘be a vegetable’.  My Momma tells me that this was the first time she really knew she had faith because she never doubted that I wouldn’t be just fine. 

To give a little picture of the weight of the circumstances, I was more tubes than baby, and was one of the youngest babies to ever have this complete correction at such a young age.  It was a significant deal.  The doctors told my family it was a 50/50 chance of success but not doing it would mean bad things.  They did it and I’m obviously here to tell about it.  So, why, oh why are there babies with a lesser degree of the same defect that die today still?  Why am I alive?  Why doesn’t everyone get their miracle?

Then…a pretty healthy life.  Fast forward to that big ole stroke when I was 37.  That one that ‘should’ve killed me’ and that one where I had to learn to walk again…like an infant.  Again…why am I here?  So many are not.

So…my new friend asks me what kind of God would let little bitty babies die and me live?  An extremely fair question and one I have often wrestled with.  Tonight, I wrestle extra hard because the best answer I have is that I’m not God and I have to trust that He has a panoramic view and I have a snapshot.  Sometimes I believe this a thousand times over, other times, I doubt everything.  

I sure don’t know why God has me here and I’m really wondering how my life is one he’d be proud of right now.  I mess up.  Alot and quite intentionally.  I can be obstinate and determined to create my own path, hurting others along the way of my learning.  I can be unfocused and lackadaisical.  I am a bundle of pure messiness.  It is what it is. I am so deeply grateful for every moment.

A bit weary and overwhelmed, I am searching too often in others and not often enough in my own heart. It’s all okay. I’ve finally found peace with trusting that God not only accepts my doubts, He welcomes them.  For when I doubt, I am searching for his majesty when I am so small.  I am searching for His peace amidst my chaos.  

I am struggling, 100% with the dawning of these new lights…and that’s perfectly okay.

Random blitherings

This isn’t my normal writing…it’s just my heart poured out along with the ramblings of my mind.  It’s a heavy kind of night…one of those nights that one thing that is bothersome leads to another thing and before long, my insides are all helter skelter willy nilly.

There is an underlying edge of melancholy trying to set in as I attempt to avoid ruminating over ickies.  At times,  I feel sad about the countless changes in my little family and I miss my Daddy so much it hurts.  Christmas and Thanksgiving are looking super different this year and if I’m honest, I’d have to say I’m struggling a bit more than slightly.

As I write tonight, these tears just keep pouring out of me.  I tell myself that it’s okay that things have changed.  It is okay, I know this is true.  It doesn’t change that it hurts.  I think of my dear friends who lost their momma this year.  I think of my sisters who lost their momma a few years ago.  Loss, loss, loss.  Everywhere there is loss.  That is the story my mind is telling me right now.  Ugh.

I hate that I was unable to give my children the traditional family that I longed to give them since before they were ever brought into existence.  I don’t care to share them over the holidays.  I will, because they are deeply loved by both their Father and I and they deserve our genuinely compassionate, loving, tender cooperation.  There are a few moments though, that I am pouting about it all.  There are also moments that I am overcome with gratitude because I know that the divorce set me free from some things I needed to be set free from.  This gratitude for myself is always connected with guilt that my babies didn’t get what I wanted them to have.  I wanted.  I wanted.  Trying to appreciate once more that God has a panoramic view and I only have a snapshot.

As the 9th anniversary of the big ole’ stroke nears, I am reminded of a wee bit of loss and far more of extraordinary gain.  That stroke was the turning point for God and I.  (probably more of my turning point, He was there all along).  This thought reminds me of how thankful I am for the very breath He gives me.  I made a short, silly video recently talking about how very grateful I am for the undeserved miracles I have had in my life.  It is good for my soul to think on those things.  In my changed relationship with God, I realized that I can share anything with God…whether I’m angry, sad, jealous, resentful or joyful, grateful, blessed, kind, etc.  Whatever I am feeling I can tell him.  So tonight, I am thanking Him for life and also telling him that my heart is aching.

I have visited with three dear friends this week….all men who have been considering suicide.  I pray that they know they are loved and cared for.  I pray they choose life because even in the midst of this loss, chaos and pain; life is beautiful and life is worth living well.

In the scheme of it all, we are each so very small.  I adore sunsets, sunrises, and the sky in general.  I could lie for hours and stare at the stars.  It all just reminds me, in a comforting way, we are miracles in the midst of it all.  Life is beautiful.  Isn’t it ironic?  Sometimes the most beauty arises from incredibly significant pain.  No matter what…seek the beauty and live life well.

God Bless and Sweet Dreams.

Midnight Java….the Aftermath

My dear friend Traci let me know this morning that she is not concerned about my becoming an alcoholic.  She is, however, worried about my frequent late night coffee consumption.  I’m wondering if her unease about my exuberant consumption is something I ought to investigate further.

Though I have always found the aroma of a fresh brew intoxicating, I was never a consumer of this ‘nectar of the gods’ until I was a Preschool Director and momma of two babies.  My energy was low and the needs of those I cared for were high.  Simultaneously, they put a Starbuck’s in less than a mile from my home.  I took it as a sign, God was smiling down at me and it was a love at first sip!

Since then, I have kept my intake of this delicious cup of energy minimal to moderate.  One cup on a good day, two cups on a rushed day and 3 -4 cups when I was trying to keep the poo from hitting the fan.  I guess by now the poo has hit the fan and been splattered about, so it only makes sense that I have begun the sweet little ritual of late night coffee drinking.  I do this only occasionally, I can stop anytime I want…really.  I limit myself to this practice when the kids aren’t at home and I’m quite productive (sometimes) when I begin to drink coffee at midnight.

What’s the problem then?  I might be a wee bit sensitive to the caffeine but it’s a nice, harmless little buzz. It helps me stay awake so I can create, clean, or stare of into space contemplating my world.   There is nothing like coffee and candlelight!  Countless benefits, right?

It’s been a rough week in this life.  Last night was a cup at midnight…a cup at 1…and maybe a 1/2 cup at 1:30.  (Sorry Traci, I couldn’t bring myself to tell you the whole truth). I fell into a not quite sound sleep at 3:30’ish and was awake, ordering groceries at 5:30’ish.  I was on my way to work at 8’ish.  I’m feeling the consequences of two hours of sleep in a serious way.   No worries…nothing a little cinnamon dolce latte with extra espresso can’t fix!  It’s a cycle for sure…I just haven’t decided if it’s vicious or victorious!

Last night’s bender wound up in a great phone conversation with a beloved friend, a couple of loads of completed laundry, clean dishes, a bit of reading and A LOT of staring at my candle flicker while I chatted with God and weighed on all that is heavy on my heart.  I felt, and still feel, conflicted and afflicted.  As I mentioned, it’s been a rough week in this life.

I am incredibly proud of my ex husband and I.  We fought the good fight for our relationship and although the outcome wasn’t what either of us had hoped, we are still here.  Now we fight the good fight as parents who love their children dearly.  Still, the divorce is new and I find myself deep in thought as I adjust once again to a new normal.

I found myself in the middle of a devastating situation this week, I am thankful that I was present yet this is a situation that hurts every fiber of my being.  The ex and I have had to walk through some really difficult stuff with our kids this week and who knows if we are doing it right?  I am in a state of mind that leaves me aching to ‘fix’ and nothing is in my power to fix.

I think about the tragedies around us.  In my opinion, teens and social media combined have the ability to create a horrific impact and I am seeing this directly in action.  Our elders and our children are not cared for well in our society.  There are endless gaps in this world and too many people are oblivious to the societal impact until they are personally affected.  How do we radically meet those around us right where they are without pushing our own agenda onto them.  What are the long term repercussions for those who are harmed and for those who cause harm?

These thoughts are the aftermath of my midnight java.  Good thoughts….great thoughts…heavy heart and void of solutions for the most part.  Still, I march forward ready to embrace life as it comes and holding onto a mustard seed of faith that there is hope for my future…for our future as a whole.

Most of us are familiar with the quote,

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

I’m pretty sure the original quote was, “You must be the change you want to see in the world, and it all begins with a late night cup of coffee, a candle, and a little chat with God.”

The aftermath of late night java….it’s a beautiful thing.