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I’ve been learning to grieve these last couple of months, and it’s been a real challenge. A month or so ago I placed an open call for songs of lament, and my friend Rachael (besties starting in sixth grade) came through with a Beth Hart song called Lifetime. It’s ripping me to shreds right about now, but in a really holy way.

Of course, since I had counseling today, the Not-So-Casual Observer got a head start on the shredding. We’re just starting to delve into the idea of being fathered by the Father, and I squirm and writhe under the fear-slash-hope of this process. I wish I had counseling every week, but I’m grateful that Jesus trusts me enough to do this with an appointment only every other.

There is more to say, more that begs to come out of my fingertips, but my spirit asks me to hide it away for just a while longer. And so I will, as I’m learning to listen to what I didn’t even know I needed. Oh, so much to say. Sigh.

But back to the song. It’s my life, my past. It’s my radio and, “don’t call, the truth ain’t home.” If you need a good cry, this should get you there.

 

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After ten days at Micro Center (and I won’t even go into what a ridiculous drama that was), I’m back online. Woohoo!

There is stuff to report, but it will have to wait; this weekend is the best kind of busy. Art to share, stories to tell, counseling to process, etc etc. Oh, and Fit Motherhood is reappearing next week.

Things are good. I’m learning a lot and feel like I’m growing up right before my own eyes. What an interesting experience my life is right now!

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I’ve written this post three times. The first time it was ready to publish, but my computer decided to turn itself off all willy nilly. The second time I was on the drive up to Ohio and fell asleep and forgot to save. This time, well, here it is.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been invited to hang out with a group of Cara’s friends. Most of them have been friends for at least half of their lives (we all go to the same church), then there’s one “newer” girl, Talia, and me. I’ll make introductions to the cast of characters soon, but we’ve got Teva and Reina in the mix now.

So here’s the thing. I *think* these girls like me. I *feel* like I fit in pretty well with everyone. My raging insecurities won’t allow me to leave it at that, though. I wonder if I talk too much, am too opinionated, am not trying hard enough, am trying too hard, if they talk about me after I’m gone. I keep waiting for the popular vote to say “you’re out.” In fact, I’ve been tempted to just tell Cara, “Hey, if it’s not working, just let me know and I’ll stop coming by.”

The hell of it is that I really DON’T think they talk badly about me behind my back, but these are the things my insecurities whisper, fork-tongued and vile.

And girls, if you’re reading, I’m not looking for you to gush and tell me that I’m seven shades of awesome. I just needed to own where I am, how hard it is to be in relationships and feel afraid but push through. This is the stuff of life, after all. And it’s worth it.

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Something that distinguishes me from other evangelical Christians is that I don’t have drama with the Catholic church.  This is due, in large part, to having a Catholic family (my stepfather and all of my siblings were raised Catholic) and my having gone to Catholic school. Sure, I think the Church’s theology is wrong on a few levels, but in general we can all agree to disagree.

In high school, I “dated” a boy named Jacob for all of about two weeks. He wasn’t allowed to date, and well, really all it was was going to homecoming, but that’s neither here nor there. When Jacob died two years ago, I started reading his sister’s blog. Now, this is a large family. They have eleven children including Jacob, so if you read and are mystified by all the nicknames, that’s probably why.  This week she posted a JP2 quote on her blog that I needed to hear, and so I thought I’d share it with you.

“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” Pope John Paul II

Beautiful, no?


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There are times when feeling everything that’s going on in my life is just too much, times when I need a song to carry me and speak for my heart.  This is one of those times.

But this song makes me want to know what “real” really means. It makes me think of The Velveteen Rabbit, when the skin horse and the rabbit are talking:

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.

Amen. Let it be so.

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Go West, Young Man

I try to be pretty honest about my stuff on this blog. Still, I care about protecting people’s identities, most especially those of my family. I also make an effort not to talk smack about people, no matter how much they’ve hurt me in the past. That said, I need to get something off my chest.

I’ve mentioned that my father has been in contact with me for a little over two months now. He’s finally gotten around to telling me what it is he spent my childhood doing, and I was not impressed. When I was 12, he decided to travel the country.

I didn’t hear from him even once for seven years. After that, I didn’t hear from him for another 12 years. Do the math, that’s 19 of my 31 years. Nice, eh?

Apparently I’m supposed to feel something about this, but I just don’t know how to respond. I can’t get in touch with that girl who needed a father, so I guess those feelings are swirling somewhere in the mucky underworld of denial. Typical. 🙂

But another part of me thinks, “You know, he left me. He left me. Why should I be the one stuck with the emotional trauma?” Maybe I got over the feelings part long ago and just accepted that my father is my father and didn’t care to be there to see his only child grow up.

Maybe I’ll tell him I looked for him. Maybe I’ll say that, after Hurricane Katrina, I scoured the “looking for family” websites, just to see if maybe he needed me. Maybe I’ll tell him that I tried for months, wondering if he was dead or alive.

Then again, maybe I won’t.

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Secular Vs. Sacred

My dear (and wise) friend Karen S. told me a while back that “there’s no line between secular and sacred.” I, because I’m so vastly intelligent (snort) and all-knowing (guffaw) decided that she was wrong. After all, there must be a clear delineation between the things of God and the things of the world.

Just before I became a Christian in 2005, I started listening to Christian music.  The first album I bought was Yolanda Adams’s Believe. That was soon followed by Nichole Nordeman and Casting Crowns, and on and on it goes.

It makes sense, really, when you think about what a huge role music plays in my life. When I want to learn about something on a visceral level, it is to music that I first turn. But at some moment, some nebulous point, my decision to listen only to Christian music turned from honoring God to another religious rule.

I didn’t know how hard it would be to give up Christianity for these three months, but so far it has been good. I’m finding more time to be with Jesus, longing form Him to spend time with me. One of the things I decided to do was listen to some secular music that makes me laugh or cry or feel SOMETHING.

More time with Jesus and more of His presence, it’s worth every difficulty getting there.

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