Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Ugly Duckling of Life

Be gracious unto me, 
O Lord
for I am in distress;
mine eye is wasted from grief; 
my soul and my body also. 
Psalm of David

For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrong doing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?
 Bell Hooks

He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. 
Ecclesiastes 3:11

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. 
Martin Luther King, Jr

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. 
Helen Keller

Healing hands: an image of hands in a non-dangerous position emitting the color patterns I see in my head when I look at someone. Such a pretty picture. I imagine those hands are the hands of God. I fantasize about the moment those Hands touch you: heart, soul and body are healed at once, in an instant. 

These imaginings of mine might bear some truth. Perhaps two thousand years ago when Jesus healed someone, he lightened their hearts and souls as well. It is very possible that some are called to such healing even now. There is little we understand about the mysteries of God. What I know is the healing process that he has me walk is not so simple nor clean nor beautiful. 

My knees have so many scars on them. I have had two knee surgeries, several altercations with bicycles and many instances involving trees, rocks and metal getting my blood on them. (It's a good thing I didn't grow up in a mystical part of the Universe because I probably would have inadvertently ended the existence the human race more than once.) My scars cover bloody, gaping wounds. They do the trick but they aren't beautiful. Parts of my skin are numb. I have to shave my left leg because any hair that grows where the nerve endings were severed causes me no end of discomfort. (I like shaving my legs anyway but it was a good reason to start!) My knees are not the same knees that learned to crawl nor are they the same knees that steadied the feet tottered across the grass in my grandparent's yard 25 years ago. They are changed.

Like my knees, my soul has met with some accidents. There have been scrapes and bruises, big gaping cuts that I had taped over so no one could see and if you look closely, a fairly ragged tear down the middle. Unlike my knees, these cuts haven't scarred over. No matter how much I tried to mind them, clean them and tuck them away so no one could see, they festered and refused to heal. 

It happened faster than I wanted it to. But the moment came. It was right. The bandages were ripped off: my soul exposed. Fresh air met with the weeping wounds. 

Healing has begun and the pain is excruciating. 

I knew it would be. But I didn't. I did not know I would feel the Universe tremble. I had no idea the lost memories would come and keep coming. My heart breaking into pieces several times a day really had not entered the imagination. Agony leaving no room for anyone else yet welcoming the entire world is also really weird. Plus, feeling free at last and fighting the urge to vomit several times a day doesn't do much for one's appetite or personality. The fear and courage combined makes a strange cup to drink. 

Moments beset me in which I do not want to go on but I'm terrified to stop. Whatever is coming around that corner might be worse than all that I have experienced put together. This is where the secret comes in. Once you have tasted Truth, the lies are suddenly not good enough. The walls of the self made prison are torn away and you realize you don't have to go back

It's like tasting Lemon Meringue pie made with freshly squeezed lemons, ladies and gentlemen. You wonder why you ever thought lemon meringue pie made from the box was even edible. (I'm guessing you're probably starting to question my use of winsome analogies. Haha.)

In all seriousness: healing doesn't come of it's own accord. You have to want it. You must have the courage. You will have to endure no answers, feebleness, faith, anger, being lost, without purpose, forgiveness, overflowing heart, truth, lies, love, agony... it all plays a part. It looks like nothing and smells like failure. You could swear that there is no sense here, no purpose. 

This is where I keep grasping at faith. 

Someday, my eyes will see.

There will be a time when my soul will be whole again.

I might not be a swan but I will be Naomi. 


Friday, April 19, 2013

Because Hugging is Important

Three days ago, Jesse was cleaning up at the shop and managed to get a corrosive substance on his face and in one of his eyes. He immediately went to the bathroom and proceeded to wash it off. Amazingly, he didn't even have redness in the white of his eye, let alone any trouble with his vision. We are so thankful. Every time I see him, hug him, kiss him, I think it again. I am grateful that this incident was simply that: an incident.

Hug your people today. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Music is Awesome

Today, one of my students was playing a piece of music. Suddenly, she stopped and exclaimed, "Ohh! This is in thirds!!" 

Sweeter words a music teacher has never heard. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Self-worth & Forgiveness

Someone recently posted an article about relying on others (and our relationships with them) for our happiness and how we view ourselves. There are many manifestations of this; among them:  Inability to establish and maintain friendships; dominate/submission relationship; needing to be loved by another to feel validated and significant; tolerating abuse or mistreatment from people while excusing their behavior (i.e. he was having a bad day); feeling personally responsible for the way others act and feel; etc., etc.

The article can be found here; if you're curious, take a look.

The fact is, I am fighting these tendencies all day long. At one point I could check off every item listed in this article. Jesse has never wanted or encouraged them, in fact, something he often says is, "What do you think?" or "What would you do?" He has struggled to help me on towards a more healthy place, mentally and emotionally.

I know so many people who are not only living in codependent relationships, they believe this is the way to pleasing God. Thus, it defines your existence. From my own experience and closely observing others who embrace these relationships, I can say that this mindset is damaging in so many ways.

But the realization of bondage didn't hit me until I had been freed. I cannot believe how blind I was, or that I couldn't see even the most basic of truths. It isn't that I have life and love figured out but there is more Truth in my existence than ever before. Gone are the holds of my past. When old habits come back for a visit, I'm able to recognize them and shut the door. It feels good.

The other part of this post is about forgiveness. Some interesting situations have beset my sister and I lately and I needed a reminder. So, I searched for quotes on the subject and found some that really caught my attention. I was also remembering acts of Jesus towards those around him, especially those closest to him. Most significant was the washing of his disciples feet. What a beautiful example of acceptance and forgiveness and humility. He accepted his disciples for who they were (unrepentant, arrogant), utterly forgave their faults (though they did not ask for it) as he washed the dirt away. I seek for such a spirit.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. 
-- Lewis B. Smedes

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself, for every man has need to be forgiven. 
-- Thomas Fuller

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it.
 -- Mark Twain

Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness,
 or else forgiving another. 
-- Jean Paul

Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.
 -- Desmond Tutu

No one else can take risks for us, or face our losses on our behalf, or give us self esteem. No one can spare us from life's slings and arrows, and when death comes,
 we meet it alone.
 -- Martha Beck

Courage is grace under pressure. 
-- Ernest Hemingway

Courage is not simply one of the virtues,
 but the form of every virtue at the testing point. 
-- C. S. Lewis

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. 
-- Coco Chanel

Who could refrain who had a heart to love and in that heart courage
 to make that love known. 
-- William Shakespeare

And one just for fun:

I am told that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it. 
-- J.R.R Tolkien