trying to work through this whole "life" thing... it's not as easy as it looks..
sometimes I don’t have the words..
Psalms 61 says: From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, For you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
This week, I’ve been super overwhelmed. It’s been a constant battle for me not to quit things: my family, my job, my community group. Each of those things have components that I’m stressed about, some more than others. I just can’t… even… get out the words when I’m praying. Essentially, I’ve just been crying lately instead of praying—because I feel so overwhelmed. I wish I could find one but there’s no formula for how to not be overwhelmed. Believe me, I would’ve found it by now. There is a gentle promise though: enter into His rest. I was reading in Hebrews today (4, to be exact) about the fact that only we who believe can enter into His rest. I forget to rest a lot, and then I wonder why I get so exhausted. I forget why my temper is shorter when I haven’t been able to sleep fully in a long time, or even how I interact more harshly with folks when I haven’t been able to unplug in a while. It’s kind’ve crazy, this need that God built in us for rest—-which he offers us on a regular basis..
I get it. Life is busy. Super busy. How are we supposed to make ourselves take a sabbath when we have allllllll this stuff we have to complete/finish/be responsible for? I’m reminded of something taught by much wiser folks than me earlier this year, as I write: Who is God in our lives? What is he doing? Who are we? What are we doing? I struggle with the order of those questions. I struggle with the placement of God in my life. I struggle with control. If I change the order in which I place those sentences, I’m essentially placing myself in the priority list above God in my life. “I can’t take a sabbath, because I have too much work to do. If I don’t get X, Y, and Z completed, the world is gonna fall apart. Okay, maybe not the entire world—but mine for sure.” I’m bearing the weight of responsibility when I don’t have to. Do you see? I could ask for help—whether in my family, or at work, or even in our community group. Personally, I’m afraid of asking for help. That’s my own psychosis. Thankfully, God’s been surrounding me with people who don’t ask anymore but instead start pulling responsibilities from my clenched hands. I fight, and sometimes bite at them, but after I let go—I realize: “Oh! They were trying to help… And now I have a moment for rest. REAL rest.”
God’s created that rock of safety for us—we just have to see it/ask for it. Sometimes I don’t have the words though to even ask. So I ask my friends to ask (and I think that’s okay—maybe my theology’s off on that one, I don’t know). My friends ask for rest FOR me, but they also remind me of the words that have seemed to have fallen out of my head.
"Come to me, ALL who are weary…"
"YOU are the light of the world…"
"Grace has been given to EACH one of us…"
Words of truth are needed—even when we can’t seem to think of them, or make time to read them. I’m really bad at going first to the Word for guidance. In fact, I’d probably say it’s my biggest struggle these days… But I’m thankful that God has placed people in my life, who love me and go to battle for me. They pray for me and have the words when I just can’t seem to form the thoughts.
I’m thankful for my friends.. even if I don’t have the words to say that too..
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
Chest pains and headaches
Usually at this point of the year, I’m really excited for October. On the first, I plan out the following month filled with fun times and birthday shenanigans. This year, I find myself curled up with chest pains and wishing away my birthday. I don’t have time for it. There’s so much I should have accomplished by now. I don’t think I can slow down to celebrate another year surviving ridiculous antics and near misses. Not this year. There’s too much to get done.
What am I spending my time on? Why am I fretting, worrying away my day? Where is the joie de vivre? Oh goodness. Bring me back to the days of my youth. Well, some of the days. I’ll pass on those awkward high school days where I was judgmental and self-conscious all at once.
Nope, I need whimsy. Colorful balloons, bouncy red balls, clown noses. Who can be stressed when they are wearing a clown nose? Well, I sure can—however, I don’t need to be. I’m forgetting that I’m not the one in control. That’s hard—realizing that fact. I’ve been working with deadlines and scheduling for the last few days, having been called out publicly over the fact that I’ve scheduled myself at the workplace for 49.5 hours this week alone. This isn’t taking into account the two hours overtime I’ve been staying past my scheduled times off on average. All because I’m forgetting whimsy in my life.
I wonder what it looks like. I wonder how I wait for it. I wonder if I’ll get it back.
Today my friend pulled me from work to take a break. We walked quickly into Sephora to visit her perfume. She’s been visiting it everyday for the past week, still deciding whether to buy it. While she was visiting, I strolled toward the back shelves—to the men’s fragrances. A familiar square bottle with a chrome cap greeted me, and for nostalgia’s sake I took a whiff. My friend came to check on me, and there I was wrapped up in old memories with faraway eyes. I debated and then handed her the bottle, taking a second to introduce her to my brother, by way of his favorite cologne. He would’ve been 40 on Friday. That realization rocked me.
Jeff enjoyed whimsy. He enjoyed driving fast cars, jumping off of crazy cliffs, skiing barefoot on the water, and having fun. He would laugh at the crab on Little Mermaid, and would sing terrible karaoke just to make his girlfriend smile.
Once again, my big brother teaches me a lesson. This is a big beautiful life, that I only have one of. Schedules and debriefings will come and go and keep coming and going. I can’t control any of that. My hands aren’t big enough, my shoulders aren’t strong enough. I’m not God—as much as I fight for that title in my life. I’ve been gifted with this life, and if I don’t slow down—it’ll pass me by.
Thanks Jeff, for the reminder. Bring on October. Bring on the whimsy.
emotionally absent: my days as a robot
I’ve been gone from this—the world of social network wording. The world has kept going, the seasons have changed. The year has passed and I have remained. What a year… Oh, what a year.
Somewhere in the last year, I realized that the years have passed and I am surviving. I may not be thriving all the time, but I have a community growing around me, reinforcing my weak spots and protecting my vulnerabilities. For so very long, I thought I needed to have my shit together, to earn salvation and to save those whom I loved. I had to be the strong one for my folks, I thought. My brother’s death and my sister’s diagnosis with MS meant that it fell to me to take care of my folks when the time came. My anxiety was rooted in that, which is probably why I have essentially crumbled and broken, because I couldn’t save myself—let alone my family. My folks deserved at least one normal kid, considering everything they’ve dealt with. Instead, they have me—who overworks, over stresses, overthinks, over freaks.
I’ve been distancing myself from them again, pushing those who love me further and further away. If I can just hold up the facade that I’m normal enough to fool them, maybe it’ll begin to fill myself as well?
I began to see things in cold metallic colors after a while. I held my family at a distance, I pushed my friends outside my barriers. I said goodbye to people who meant a lot to me, and I listened closely for identity from people who didn’t mean a thing to me. I came close to self destructing again. So close.
Have you ever found yourself awake right before dawn? Bundled up in a blanket, perching in a chair, listening to the birds begin to wake up in the distance. The sky, which has been so dark for so long—with rich rolling hues of night and emptiness, begins to gradually lighten. Somewhere amidst the early tweeting and song, the sky has turned to a muted dark, gradually lighting and at times still lessened from being too bright or great. For the last year, my life wasn’t that deep rolling dark anymore. The darkest has passed for me, but I’ve been in this greyed out, muted period before the dawn. The sky is becoming brighter and brighter, and I know that at any time, I’ll be in the full light of day & soon the morning sun will break. The vibrancy of the colors will streak the sky, and once again, I’ll be in the light. My life isn’t meant to be viewed in cold, metallic colors but in vibrant, rich hues.
Fifteen years ago this week, I sat on a hill, watching a sun rise. I saw Orion peek his head along the horizon in a hemisphere he shouldn’t have been. I heard a voice that I needed to hear, and received grace that I still have no way of deserving.
The colors of my sky are brightening, with the vigorous shades of the community around me coming alive. I need this community, I’ve discovered over the last year. I’m not a robot, meant to pass through life without feeling. Being real, being vulnerable, being genuine—the colors of my sky are gaining life… and to think, all of this was reintroduced because of grace.
So I’m back to this social media world for a while again. Real life beckons, but if someone else can gain perspective that life is more than just a gray scale—I’ll keep posting.
"There have been times when I think that we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else. " CS Lewis
Eddie Vedder’s singing to me on the radio, sun’s shining on my toes, beer’s dripping on the patio table beside me, and a slight breeze barely reminds me that it’s the end of July.This time of year typically has me withdrawn & quiet, refusing to leave a dark house, and muddling through the same old show at work. It comes and goes, sure as the sun—with me struggling to return to the person that I am the rest of the year. It’s slow, but I get there again. This year, I found myself at work on SDOTY (abnormal because I’ve found it easier to not be around people on that day). I suppose that my customer service skills weren’t the most prime, and my poor coworkers tolerated my sharper-than-usual-replies. The day came and went, with me trapped half in the present and half in the past. It’s always harder though when the weather reminds you of the past as well. Mom pointed out that the flashbacks aren’t so bad when you don’t open the front door to walk out into an oven that steals your breath.Every year around this time, I wonder why it hurts so bad and why I can’t seem to let go. My counselor (yes, I’ve begun to see one.. I decided it was time. Whatev.) recommended a theory: the reason that we grieve so hard is that we loved so hard. I suppose that fits. I mean, Jeff was my hero & a constant in my life. He helped shape my sense of humor and my intelligence. We spent 16 years together, influencing each other’s thoughts and character. I loved so hard… so I grieve so hard. I suppose that I always may.So I’m back on the path towards accepting the beauty in life again. This week has been dark, but I’ll get back up there again. It’s a struggle though, not to withdraw completely. Of all the movies that I’ve watched, the one that is both a trigger and a reassurance (STAY) gives me this quote to hold on to as I trudge back from the dark: “…there’s too much beauty to quit. there’s too much goddamn beauty.”Jeff would also be a little pissed at me too, I feel, if I were to give up. “Don’t be a pussy.” He would tell me… ever so eloquent. I love my brother.
I decided a few weeks ago that I’m going to come back to this tumblr thing. I’ve been electronically quiet for a while, but I’ll ease back in. Therapy = writing.