Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Vintage Highway

It is the beginning of Fall; and like the struggle of Summer giving way to a new season, I find the same tug-of-war in letting go of "motherhood."

Maybe that is what is spurring on this state of melancholy recollections.

I returned to the workforce in April~~It started as a simple box office job in an old renovated theatre...but not just any theatre~~The Franklin Theatre~~an old movie house reclaimed by the local preservation foundation and brought back to, and beyond, its former glory.  It now boasts an $8.1 new wardrobe and hosts concerts, live theatre, comedians, fundraisers, community events, as well as movies. It's pretty obvious, I very much enjoy working here, and my days are filled with much variety and opportunities. Taking the position was a bold move on my part, for many reasons. The one that stands out most is the passing of motherhood as I once knew it and stepping out into the unknown by myself.

One of the privileges of this job is being able to have my "office" in the box office, which looks out over downtown Franklin's Main Street...its quaint ambience gives an air of vintage times; and on warm days like today, the bustling of people takes me on my own memory walk.

It's in those days, that I fall into this state of melancholy recollections.  As I watch people of all ages and stages walk by, it's like watching my life~~past, present, and future~~walk back and forth in front of me.

Today, there was a very pregnant lady strolling, and it took me back to my pregnancies.  Then my thoughts took a path right down my own vintage highway...the realization that I will never be pregnant again, and there's no chance of me becoming pregnant again...that i'll never have a growing child inside of me, reminding me of the life inside of me with its kicks, flutters, and hiccups...that I will never nurse again, never look at my child for the first time and wonder and marvel and the miracle of life that came from me.

There was also the plethora of women with strollers out for morning walks with their friends...Oh my! How my girls loved to be outside and go!  They collected, frogs, worms, shiny name it, and it was a new treasure.  And the many heartfelt conversations with those friends, not only about our daily "momness" but spiritual~~the growth we were experiencing as believers and how God was using our roles as mommies to grow us in His word, His truth, and His life and His relationship with us.  And it dawned on me, I never took note of the very last time I took Hannah and Rebeka strolling, knowing this would be the last time for that daily ritual.

Or how about the many times the young women jet past on their morning run, and there was never the thought in my mind that "this will be the last time I am able to finish this 5 mile trek" before the disease stole away my physical abilities.

Last week, a young couple walked past, then stopped and asked if there were any tickets left for the performance~~and bought them at the last minute!  I remembered a time when Keith and I would spontaneously do things like that.

All these things are remembrances of everyday life that we never stop, while we are in the midst of that moment, to consider that we may never pass this way again.  The strange thing is that I DID indeed cherish those moments with Hannah and Rebeka much more than with Jessica and Melanie, experiencing first-hand how fleeting that time slips through the fingers.  Yet, here I stand with the first job I've had in twenty years, and my cup still overflows!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Grace & Honeycombs

I just read a blog by Karen Ehmann, which was shared by Ann Voskamp...

"I am such a Bible nerd. I love to not only learn the meaning behind the Hebrew or Greek words in Scripture, I also like to study certain English words that pop up at me, pogo-stick style, drilling down deep to understand why perhaps a particular word or phrase is used. And so, I grew curious one day: Why does God use a honeycomb to describe gracious, sweet, and healing speech?...'So,' I questioned my young friend, 'is it safe to say that the sweetness or bitterness of honey is determined by what the bee drinks in and the amount of time it spends in the sun—especially early in the morning?'...But choosing grace will sometimes cost us. Spats and squabbles are oh-so-easy to fall into. We will have to resist the urge to lash out in anger. We might even have to bite down on our tongues. But better a bleeding tongue than a family member’s wounded heart. We might have to choose to let go of the need to prove our point, choosing instead to do the right thing: to impart grace and deal with the other person in love and with utmost patience."

Grace...when we fail...
Ohhh, and how I have failed by the mere existence of my tongue. My tongue has been the weapon that has wounded the heart of every person I love. I have wounded their hearts.  My eyes fill with tears just at the thought that I could even be capable of such evil....and yet.
Through allowing such scriptures as James teach me, i've succeeded somewhat in the taming~~i still have to fight the sin of pride and my need to prove my point and the sin of anger that catapalts me into loud obnoxious vomit that gushes from my tongue~~but i'm still learning. It's the reality of the scars i've left~~on my husband's heart, on each of my children's hearts~~that push me to overcome.  The thought that my words, my anger, have shaped my loved ones lives so negatively.  And forgiveness is undeserved, so I reject its gift of grace over and over again.
Yet, grace, the sweetness of the honeycomb, calls to me over and over again asking only that  I open my hands and receive its healing power...allowing that power to radiate and heal even the most wounded by my sin. I receive it, and my cup fills up and flows over...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nourishment For The Soul

The "prompt" read:  What I love to do that feeds my soul...

There's a list a mile long for that one!  Just as I began reviewing my mental list, it hit me like a ton of bricks...again.

It was during the summer. The group of friends that had quickly become my community were each sharing their answers to this very same prompt. As I listened to the responses, my eyes wandered out the windows that lined the wall toward the horizon filled with hills and trees and sky and all of nature.  Words started coming to me--dancing, writing, nature walks, walks along the beach, indepth studies, photography--but as soon as I processed one word, I realized~~after each one~~I don't do that anymore!  My turn came, and I could barely spill out the words, "I used to dance...but i just realized that i don't anymore..." without choking back the tears. I was surprised at the spark of emotion that filled me from the inside out!  At that moment, I resolved to become more purposeful in nourishing my soul. And that was that.

Now here I am in the midst of winter and there it is again~~What nourishes my soul?  My spirit laughs at God's humor in His ability to capture my attention!  But how do I write about what I love to do that feeds my soul without just making a list...?  So, I went to some of the other bloggers and looked at their writings as if looking for a new answer to an old question. The first post I stumbled upon slapped me square in the face with my answer--but it was an answer to a different question: How can I be purposeful to incorporate those things that feed my soul?

Aimee, on her blog, Becoming Esther, atteded a conference in which part of the message included asking everyone to draw up 3 lists:  what made them feel good, what made them feel great and what made them feel ecstatic. The speaker then challenged them to each day to do one thing that made them feel good; each week to do one thing that made them feel great; and each month to do one thing that made them feel ecstatic.

I felt God's laughter as its truth sunk in...Three categories?  My list just expanded another mile...because there are those simple acts that nourish the soul~~lighting a candle, being still and just knowing, reading the lyrics to a song I just heard or just reading a new book, writing a REAL note and mailing it using a real stamp, exercising, cooking, gardening, singing to the top of my lungs (don't expect it to be on key!), taking a bath, going out for lunch with a friend...The time is ripe in this new season of my life to find nourishment in these old places.

Now, it's in print for the whole world to read and even hold me accountable! 

May my cup overflow with refreshment and nourishment of my soul!

Linking up with Bonnie Gray on Faith Barista!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Word

I realize i've been doing this all wrong...i've given the names of my years at the end...letting life happen to me instead of me happening to life.

Ann Voskamp has dubbed her past years with such terms as koinania, eucharisteo, communion, rest, no fear...and now Bonnie Gray is challenging those of us who long to write~~who long to use the written word to share that which is deep within~~with a prompt: what is our one word for 2015?  Ha!  There's even a book titled "My One Word" by Mike Ashcroft...

Oh the humor! How could I have known when my friend, Terry, sent me a link to Faith Barista's blog about Spiritual White Space that this would be the "thing" to catapult me back into a writing habit...?  But here I am, and I am wondering what ONE word does God choose for me to influence my 2015...

Could it be "Forward"...when the last couple of years have been stuck looking "back"?  Empty nesting can be such an empty place...filled with changes that are so foreign and overwhelming that moving left or right is impossible and moving forward is a black hole of vast nothingness.

But now...words that, in scripture, indicate something new...something is about to change.  And it refers to the NOW, not the past nor the future.  It carries with it the connation of cultivating, encouraging, nourishing...

Out of the blue, "lavish" comes to mind...i actually just spent some time in scripture meditating on Mary and her alabaster bottle of perfume lavished on Jesus.  What would a year of "lavish" look like?  Extravagance, generosity, abundance, elaborate, splendid...

Here I sit contemplating what my Lord might be saying to me, as if I must choose...and I realize He's telling me "but now, it's time to move forward and live lavishly!"

So my word for 2015 will be "lavish!"

We can define our year with a focus that leads us closer to the One who holds us in the palm of His hand...what will you allow Him access to in this new year?  :)

My cup overflows just knowing His plans for me are more than I ever could dream or imagine...!

Linking up with Bonnie Gray and "Faith Barista!"

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