Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Eyes of Jesus.

I felt blessed today, talking to five different women in my church. We are all such cute little things. Our smiles, our sweetness, our bright eyes, despite the unexpected life has rolled our way.
Behind those eyes are commitments to marriages and children, education  and work, friendships and even strangers. Behind those eyes are hearts searching for their Creator, hearts who want to love like He loves, serve like He serves.
It's a blessing to be surrounded by such women, to know I am in such amazing company. I love how open I can be with every one of them, how accepting they are of me.
I found grace this morning, sufficient for the hour, in the eyes of five different women at church. It was as if Jesus was looking right back at me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Present.

 We took both the boys to swim lessons this morning.  Trying to keep Noah occupied for forty five minutes after his lesson so Ethan could have his was not one of my finer moments as a parent. He simply makes me mad. He's stubborn and loud and unsafe. I find myself just wishing the time away until he's five and can handle himself a little better.
I came home and opened a new book by Kathleen Norris. She is a life saver for me, amongst other honest and funny writers who look at life square in the face and find beauty in the middle of it's ordinariness. Or anger-ness. Or depression-ess. Or whatever it is that fills it, they find beauty there. They remind me to believe, to look for the grace that is available to me at any given place and time, including  a loud swimming pool with an ornery two year old on Saturday morning.
My heart wasn't in a state to find it this morning at the pool, although I'm sure it was there...a prayer away. Where I did find it was out on our patio, four hours later, the fall sun hot on my cheeks despite the light chill in the air. Noah was still down for his nap and Joey and Ethan were in the front. I listened to Ethan's voice, riding his bike, effortlessly happy in the present moment, drifting back to me over the house.
Just minutes before I had forced myself to get out of bed, even though I didn't want to. I wanted to sleep, but even when I tried I couldn't sleep soundly. My heart lately has felt like fingers are squeezing it, making my chest hurt.
I'm not sure what was luring me to stay in that bed, although the one word that came to mind was fear. I am afraid. Afraid to get up and feel the same monotony, the same blahness in every act I do. The children make it worse because not only do I feel nothing when I think I should be enjoying them, guilt follows suit, adding to the onslaught. It's much easier to stay in bed.
Maybe pride, ("I'm not going to be that woman!"), maybe grace; whatever it was something got me to swing my legs out of bed, grab my journal, a pen and Norris' book, and head outside.
Norris writes largely about monastic life and for whatever reason it has always grabbed me, pulled me in. I've never had quite the direct and explainable connection to it like she has, but as I get older I am beginning to see more how the monastic life is so similar to my own. Maybe that's what drew me in even when I couldn't begin to explain it.
Norris writes about the similarities of a monastic vow and a marriage vow, and I am beginning to see how the parallels jump over to parenting as well.
For a large part parenting is repetition, doing the same thing, over and over. Bedtime routines. Morning routines. Reminding them over and over and over again to pick this up or don't spill that or stop saying that! Now! Damn it!
It easily becomes so boring and tedious you just want to jump out the window. This is how I feel most days. And then I read this afternoon, "A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men...unduly divorced from the slow processes of nature, in whom every vital impulse withers..." Noah is definitely a "slow process of nature" and I was convicted at how easily "divorced" I become to my children, with their constant demands. My eyes glaze over and my heart feels like a piece of dry wood but I get them dinner! and clean their messes! and sing them songs before kissing them goodnite, almost running out of the room to peace and quiet, only to be left alone with my dry heart.
 It's the dryness, my heart's true state, that's enough to keep me under the covers, wanting to sleep it away on a beautiful three day weekend when Joey is home and we are all in excellent health.
After reading and writing a bit, looking at the sky, really seeing it, for the first time in a while, I could joke with Joey. Laughing almost hurt, but it happened and then I was able to grab my stuff and head inside to my two and five year old, my life, and the present moment in all it's messiness and pain and see the edge of God's arms, open and waiting for me to jump in.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Writing, I've Missed You.

I don't have time to write anymore. But I think about it quite often, and I still get out my personal journal whenever I can.
So today, the lazy Sunday afternoon that it is, I had prepared to take a nap, to try and catch up on the sleep I feel so deprived of during the week. I took my contacts out, took my jewelry off, my boots, and climbed into bed with Joey who is napping before he goes into work all night. But lying there all I could think about was if sleeping was really what I wanted to do with this time, this precious, rare time, when the house is quiet--mostly; both the boys are talking to themselves in their beds, supposed to be napping. (Does any mother not feel like their chest is going to explode from the anxiety of their children not sleeping when they are supposed to? I've learned this is not going away; I just recognize it now as something I cannot control, like, um, everything really, and then I pray for some grace in the moment to stop from morphing into complete lunatic and breath things out instead.)
Anyway, there I was lying in my bed, thinking about my poor, neglected blog, dreaming about writing in a quiet house with a cup of hot chai on a crisp, fall day...and I just had to throw the covers back and get out here to write. And it really is wonderful, transferring these thoughts onto the screen...if only Noah would shut up and my chest would release that feeling of wanting to explode.
I've often (OK, not often. Like one or two times) been asked if I have ever thought of writing a book, and the answer is yes, but then not long after is followed by why?
I've got my blog! And it's so easy to "publish" whenever I damn well please! And there is no accountability per say, nobody telling me it sucks and they won't publish it.
Isn't that the most pitiful thing you've ever heard? But it's true.
Through the blog I get to write, get to quench that need of mine to articulate in words what I see going on around me and inside of me. I think I've said it before and I will say it again: I feel the best when I am writing, and when I am writing well I may as well be flying. Writing well is like putting the perfect outfit together, like the feeling of summer turning to fall with a cup of chai in your hands, like the smell of gingerbread and cinnamon with a Christmas tree twinkling in the background. A good, honest sentence is like the love of your life kissing you outside in the cool night and your whole body being flooded with warmth. It's that good.
And I don't know when but at some point in the last recent years I came to think of myself as a writer, not because I have ever or will ever be published, but because I can't live without doing it. I take that back, I can, but writing helps me live everyday, ordinary life better, richer. When I write about my life, suddenly what is normally black and white turns to vivid colors, reds, oranges, yellows. Writing helps me stop and recognize little tid bits of meaning in all this non stop madness; of all the go go go, tying shoes, wiping bottoms, blow drying hair, applying eyeliner, and washing undies that is my life.
Writing can release the hold of the fingers of whatever is gripping my heart; be it control (like today), or fear of not being good enough (most days), or loneliness (Sundays through Thursdays, when Joey works).
As dumb as it sounds, writing is like a friend. A very close, intimate friend who lets me be as honest as I need to, helps me to sort out the things inside that feel like a tight twisted knot, and who never ever ever judges me.
I didn't necessarily plan on getting up just so I could come out here and write and entire blog on writing. If anything though it's a reminder to me how what precious thing it is to be able to have the time to write about life and how much I enjoy it.