Hey baby girl,
Right now I’m sitting on the floor keeping watch while the kids I nanny fall asleep and my heart aches for you. You see my love, they are only a couple of years older than you would be and sometimes it breaks my heart. Tonight, the wind is howling outside the windows and they are scared, and so here I sit in the almost dark, standing guard so they can fall asleep unafraid. And I wonder, would I have done the same for you?
I wonder if your hair would smell of strawberries and if you would tell me secrets in soft whispers as you are falling asleep. I wonder if you would still ask me to crawl into bed with you and hold you right when the monsters in your dreams feel too real. I wonder if we would have face pancakes for breakfast or if you would insist on using glitter on all your school projects.
Baby girl, while I miss you always, the ache of not having you here has hit me hard today. And normally I try to stand in the ache alone, but tonight? Tonight I’m going to so something different. Tonight I will ask some of my friends who know you (and who know my love for you) to stand in the ache with me. And maybe, just maybe, though the ache will still be there, it won’t feel so alone.
I love you forever and always,
It’s dark right now. An all encompassing and suffocating dark. A dark that is filled with silence and fear and in that fear, I have been pushing everyone away. I have been pushing away community. I have been pushing away friends. I have been pushing away writing and reading. But most of all, I have been pushing away love. And to be honest, I don’t know how to stop. I am just starting to see that I am fighting against the good, but when another sleepless night comes along, it feels easier to revert back to my “I’m safer and better off alone” mentality. And the energy and strength it takes to send a text asking for prayers (as my lips have forgotten how to pray anything other than “help”) causes me to need to crawl back into bed and sleep.
Sometimes, words aren’t enough to take away the fear and anxiety and the pain that the start of a new year can bring. And when the word, “naked” chose me for the year, I didn’t expect it to hit so hard. From learning to accept myself to being honest about what is going on in my life (even the messy and broken), naked feels like it is my undoing. But I have to believe that while I feel as if I am falling apart right now, I have to believe that there is hope around the corner. I have to believe that I am not alone in this. I have to believe that words will find me again. I have to believe that I won’t be able to push everyone away; that there will be a few that are willing to sit with me in the dark. Until then, I will sit in the dark and cling to the gift of grace that I found last year as I wait for the light to come back.
Because I need to believe that it will come back.
It’s my fourth year of having a word for the year instead of having a New Years resolution and around November, I was excited for my word to start. You see, I had chosen a word that sounded good- it would be slightly challenging but over all, it wouldn’t be devastatingly hard. I was trying to take the easy way out. But there was more in store for me, when I read a simple word and my heart skipped a beat and my breath caught in my throat. And I knew. This was it. There was no hiding behind prettier or easier words and there was no sugar coating how much I pouted, my word had chosen me.
There are so many layers to being naked, to being bare and honest and vulnerable. To seeing myself for who I really am, unashamed and not hidden. For so long, I have hidden behind things: clothes, books, hair, people, masks. But this year, 2014, is the year for the unveiling. The removal of shame and fear. The removal of all this extra that takes away from who I really am. It’s about the cultivating, the nourishing of friendships who love me because I am me. Unconditional love.
I have several goals in mind for this year, some that will hopefully be shared with others and a few that will stay with me, but all of them will help me bare my naked soul and become free.
So this is the year of nakedness. Of revealing and removing. A year of acceptance and grace.
Sometimes there aren’t enough words in the world to describe how a word has changed you in a year.
Grace has smelled like burnt popcorn and tasted like defeated salty tears as once again, I only had the energy to pop popcorn for dinner only to burn it and fill my apartment with smoke. Grace has smelled like eucalyptus mint and sounded like whispered prayers as I sat in the back of a studio on a yoga mat and cried out grief. Grace has felt like hands teaching me that touch can be safe and hugs can be welcomed.
Grace sounds like a three year old saying, “I love you when you are frustrated, mad, and sad. I just love you,” after raised voices and tears came from both of us. Grace tastes like all-dressed chips mailed with love from Canada. Grace tastes like coffee too. Multiple cups, in fact. Where conversations about the broken and beautiful dance among the laughter and tears.
Grace looks like skype coffee dates with children playing in the background and laundry being folded. Grace sounds like bed time stories read over the phone on nights when the darkness is too deep. Grace feels like thorns piercing your skin when setting roses on his grave for the first time in six years.
Grace looks like hope. Grace feels like healing. It sounds like love being whispered in your ears when the taste of defeat is too strong. Grace has been my healer, my redeemer, my lifeline this year. I know I will still hear it’s voice whispering in my ear in the dark of night when fear takes over.
peace, little one. rest, my heart. you are safe.
This week in our story101 call, we made wisdom cards. We took three sheets of paper and wrote down a question on the back of each. One question to our inner artist, one to our inner monk, and one to both of them. We then turned them question side down, mixed the pages, and started to create. With no agenda in mind (I even forgot what my three questions were), we started to create on top of the pages. After the activity was over we turned over our completed pages to see which questions we had “answered” with our art. Here are mine:
1. What do I do with my writing?
2. What does god look like?
3. Where is my peace?
It seems that I am going to be busy this month. I have signed up for NaNoWriMo which means I have one month to write 50,000 words. I am both excited and terrified.
I also am going to join in the 30 thankful day challenge. Each day, I’ll write down five things I’m thankful for and post them once a week. The selfish part of me is doing this because it will be a great help in keeping this blog going while I try to write my novel and when things get rough, it will be helpful to look at what I’m grateful for. I’ll post once a week with all of my thankfulness.
I’m writing my own bible.
Blank brown pages are slowly turning into colors of hope. Questions are being asked and answers aren’t always given, but I’m leaving room to breathe. Making this bible feels like I’m finally breathing again. And so I spend my nights surrounded by glue and paper, cutting and pasting my heart into a work of faith.
Instead of finding comfort and peace through the words written in the bible, I am finding judgment and anger. And that’s not working for me right now. So I’m walking away. I’m walking away from the hurt and pain and finding a place where I can ask questions. I’m creating a safe place full of words that stir me. I’m allowing god to inspire me and show me her love through different ways. I want to feel as if I am someone god delights in. So I’m letting her shower me with her love, and I’m recording it all down.
I’m walking away from church in the usual sense as well. I don’t want to run from seeking god, but I do want to run from her family. And I believe she understands this. I believe god understands how hard it is for me to stand next to her family and feel like such an outsider. An outsider who longs for god to send me love letters under the door when I’ve locked myself in the bathroom crying tears of frustration. An outsider who longs for god to be big enough to handle the “god-dammits” and “fucks” as I work through my anger.
So I’m finding church in the unexpected. I’m finding church in the flickering flame of candles dancing across the walls. I’m finding church in handwritten letters, sent with love. I’m finding church in baking pumpkin muffins and celebrating birthdays. I’m finding church in the unexpected. And this type of church, this unexpected freedom of worship, is healing the brokenness inside of me. It’s allowing me to ask questions and find freedom.
And so here I go. I’m on a journey. I’m on a journey to find god and fall in love with her all over again. To find out if I believe in god and how I relate to her. It’s a journey to find a god that is bigger than religion. It’s a journey to find joy and acceptance. It’s going to be wild and it’s going to be difficult, but I believe it will be worth it.
I’m writing my own bible. And I believe god is okay with that.