Saturday 5 December 2015

My Life

It's December. Things are busy.
That's to be expected. Shopping, baking, kids' homework and activities. Cooking meals, packing lunches, nurturing friendships and nurturing my own soul.
It all takes time and effort. It keeps life busy.

For so long I viewed this "busy-ness" through a negative lens. The introvert in me wanted to just stay home. The farmer kid in me wanted to believe that free play was the best activity for my kids. The protective mom wanted to shield them from the hustle and the hurry. So when our weeks quickly filled up to the point of having but a single night to stay home, I allowed myself to be overcome with guilt and shame at the life I was allowing my family to live.

At least that was how I looked at it up until a few weeks ago.
 It was a warm November Thursday afternoon and I was reflecting on the responses I had given that morning to the question, "How are you?" My answers all sounded a lot like, "Busy...ya, things are chaotic right now. I'm just glad I made it on time. Score one for me!" Then I wrapped up the conversation with a loud sigh, a roll of my eyes and a quick change of topic before they asked me to elaborate: Choirs twice a week, luge once a week, and piano are year long commitments. Scattered throughout the seasons can also be found orienteering, ski lessons (and just skiing for fun), speed skating (and just skating for fun), and wall climbing.
Laid out like that, I feel like a crazy person! I feel like a mom that's over-scheduling her kids and doing them a huge disservice in this age when they could be riding bikes around the block and playing the with neighbour kids (assuming the neighbour kids were home).

That afternoon as I drove home, I came to the realization that I needed to examine this shame I was hauling around and figure out how I really felt about our schedule. Here's what I concluded:
I love my life!
As crazy and chaotic as it is and as much as most days I feel more like a chauffeur than a parent, I love every second.

It only takes my youngest crawling into the car after orienteering, sweaty and out of breath but beaming from ear to ear and raving about what she did that night - I love it! It only takes hearing my eight year old talk about how incredible it feels to feel the wind in her face as she skates at the oval - I love it! It only takes my eldest declaring that she always feels better, happier, after a sliding session at the track - I love it! I love their excitement over finding a minor scale on the piano, all on their own. I love their excitement when they ride the chairlift for the very first time. I love watching their hands hit the top of the wall and then their level of complete trust as they kick off and allow themselves to be lowered to the ground. I love watching them learn and grow and challenge themselves and succeed in ways no one could have ever expected.
I love it!

Yes, we are a busy family. Yes, we have weeks when we'd like to just let it all go. Yes, there are days when I just want to hide because I'm so tired of not being home.
But then there's all the rest...
Those days I see how I am blessed beyond belief.
Those days I am overwhelmed with gratitude beyond words.
I love my life.

Sunday 12 July 2015

My Brother

I have a brother. 

Thirty-six years ago, those words would have begun processing in my 2yr old brain.
Undoubtably, there would have no comprehension of the impact those words would bring to my life…

The story goes that my first encounter with my little brother was less than a fairy tale beginning to our relationship. Sources claim that I was not impressed with his chubby, crying presence and that I was even less impressed with his intrusion into MY Mommy’s arms. The story goes that Mom’s heart broke a little as I refused to go to her and instead turned to my Grandma’s lap for snuggles. Lots of drama for one little toddler - how could I have known how that little bundle of noise and poop would soon build a permanent home in my life and in my heart?

How could I have known:
This is ok, right?
  • that he would be my first and deepest experience of love extended and the desire to protect someone who could do nothing for me in return?
  • that he would teach me about acceptance and teamwork as we became partners in our adventures around the farm?
  • that, as I peered through fearful eyes and watched him move through the world with such fearless ease, that I would be the one feeling led and taught by him?
  • that he would introduce me to the existence of disagreements and arguments and the feeling of rejection?
  • that he would teach about me empathy and compassion as I witnessed (and all too often inflicted) pain in his life?
  • that he would grow to become the most incredible example of courage and strength I would ever know?
  • that so much of what I now know about myself and about the foundations I rest upon in this world have come by following his example?
  • that the knowledge that he is in the world brings a smile to my face every single day?

I have a brother.
How can you say that and not smile?

Happy birthday :)
Lots of love,
Your sister.

P.S. Mom, it’s ok. I forgave you long ago for bringing the little creature into our perfect lives.
Who knew that that creature would turn out to be the greatest gift?

Thursday 5 February 2015

Open Field

Interesting holiday, this past Christmas.
Most occurred as it always does:
Christmas dinners at the parents' houses.
Time spent with family and friends.
A little skating on the lake.
Quiet nights, oh so thankful for those quiet nights.

And yet something was different.
There was an energy. A vibration. A hum that traveled from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. There were moments I woke up feeling electrified, almost overwhelmed with emotion of all kinds: Expectation...Anxiety... Joy...Elation...Courage...

It's that last one that best describes the rest - I felt courageous and I didn't even know why. I still don't. I only can say that I'm feeling the need to step outside these walls and walk a path that has always seemed too risky. A path with an unknown direction or destination. A path through wilderness and other places never seen by my eyes. A path that, despite all these undefined variables, continues to beckon me. Not cautiously inching forward, but inviting leaps and bounds!

This is not me. Perhaps that's what makes it so exciting.
It reminds me of The Message version of Romans 8:15-16:
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.

Confirms who we really are...
I like that.
Let's do this.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Doors Close (by Julie Lee)

Not slammed in my face
but just calmly and sadly nudged
until the quiet click of the latch signals its stop in the jam.

My hand resting
on the door, pausing
in mourning for what has just been dismissed.

Feeling the strength
the solid piece
that I can't deny is needed for protection

of me.  The deafening stillness
when the storm is shut outside.
Doors close

and I mourn the loss even as I
savour the peace and warmth
allow the comfort to envelope me, my head leans
against the jam.

Not in regret -
it leans as I pray a prayer of release,
a prayer of blessing over that which has been shut out.

Doors close.
I rest.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Spark in the Uninspired

It’s been so long since I’ve sat down to type something out.  So long since I’ve had any interest in putting something together to release into the big digital oblivion.  Even now, as I sip my cold cup of decaf, I can’t say that I’m exactly chomping at the bit, knowing what I want to say.  All I know is that I’m feeling it’s time to open this back up again...

The question rolls around in my mind: where have I been the last 9 months?  I put in my 3 months of work.  I wrapped up the school year for my kids.  I escaped for the summer.  I returned for the school year.  I battled a sense of aimlessness and questioned my purpose.  I rediscovered a sense of ease in my life that was lacking for months.  I am feeling at peace, like I’m coming closer to a home that I’ve never seen but have been journeying toward for a long time.  

Where have I been for the last 9 months?  To be honest, I have been uninspired.   

This word has been floating around in my mind since July.  Uninspired.  All but unwilling to pick up a pen and journal.  Uninterested in picking up a brush to start a new painting.  Uninspired.  
It reminds me of a song I knew when I was growing up:

On the wire, balancing your dreams, hoping ends will meet their means, 
but you feel alone.  
Oh but does it help you to know that I believe in you?

There was something in these words.    

It wasn’t until I had time to be still at the lake that I began to feel life returning to me.  I had to admit that I had been frozen.  Frozen in fear of doing wrong and in unwillingness to make a mistake.  I was frozen by too many options and no one to show me which one to choose. No one to TELL me which way to go.  I didn’t want to be responsible for a wrong move, so I remained frozen in place.  
I felt I was thawing out and it was glorious.
It opened up my summer and made room for joy.  

I’m happy to be home.   

Saturday 18 January 2014

Trading My Chucks...

It almost brings tears to my eyes to even type that.  Indeed, the chucks are being demoted to the back of the closet.  In exchange?  I look at these dastardly beauties that I haven't worn in so terribly long and I wonder what has gotten into me.  
I'm going back to work... I'm going back to work...
I'm going back to work!

I know I shouldn't yell but I just can't seem to hold it in.  I can't say exactly what's at the source of the noise in my heart, only that it bursts out in deafening blasts.  
What I know is there's a lot of fear mingled in there:  
Fear of not being available to my kids all day, every day... 
Fear of not being able to remember how to do a job I haven't done in four years...  
Fear of driving myself to insanity by taking on too much...

So, WHY?! 
Somewhere under all this anxiety there also lies a current of anticipation.  Somehow, without any understanding or clarity, there's a sense of the ground moving beneath my feet...that I'm expectantly stepping out of my comfort zone, away from my safety net, with a big smile on my face and butterflies in my stomach.  The question is, what am I expecting?  
That answer is nothing, and in that void of expectation lies all the joy I've ever known.  
This is not mine to direct or lead or plan.  
This is not mine.
I do have a job, I don't deny that.  I do the work.  I relearn all that I have forgotten (or at least thought I had).  I smile.  I converse.  I commit my attention and my ability to the task in front of me.  
But above all, I confirm that I have to strength to remain "me" outside of the sheltered life I have lived for the past four years.  
It is in that I gratefully find my direction.  

I was not looking for this...
I had all but given up on this part of me and I had thus far been successful in avoiding it.  
Perhaps that's the exact reason it is the path I now walk.  
Here I go...

 "This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children."
Romans 8:15-16 (The Message)

Friday 22 November 2013

Your Will Be Done (I think)

This is an old digital journal entry I came across tonight.  It was something I wrote this past summer while I was unable to connect to the internet.  My goal was to get it posted when I got home.  I forgot.  Normally I would have just let it fall as a missed moment, but tonight I feel pressed to post it anyway. 
Here goes...

Last night, I prayed.  It was a desperate prayer full of wrestling with God.  I was praying for a miracle.  To be specific, a miracle of MY choice.  The wrestling came within myself as my words,  insisting on healing, and the words of Isaiah 55:9 fought to drown each other out.

Father, heal him!  
(As the heavens are high above the earth...)
LORD, you are good and faithful... Heal him!
(so are my ways higher than your ways...)
God Almighty, to you all things are possible!  Nothing is impossible!  Breathe your life into him!  Wrap him with your protection!  Heal him, Father!  Heal him!
(so are my thoughts higher than yours.)

And so it went... Until the question, “Are not my ways better?”  
A more rhetorical question there never has been to my knowledge.  
It exposed the truth behind my quarrelsome stance:

But God, Your will sometimes hurts...

I’ve felt it in the past.  
I prayed “Your will be done,” and my nephew passed away...  
I prayed “Your will be done,” and my husband lost his job...  
I prayed, “Your will be done,” and my friend’s marriage still ended... 
Granted, I have seen the increase in fruit with each of these tragic events but oh, how I hate the valley!  

My prayer turned honest and vulnerable.  I began spilling my fears and anxiety; all that hurt and pain from circumstances past. 
“God, I trust You know better than me.  I trust Your plans are to prosper your children, not harm them.  I believe that You are faithful to carry us through anything and promise great joy on the other side.  I trust Your will for us is perfect...  It’s just LORD, Your will sometimes hurts...”
Jesus simply smiled, held out his hands and said, “Tell me about it.”