May 26, 2015

Things I Still Believe In

"I don't think I believe in anything anymore," someone told me recently. "Do you?"

"I do believe in some things," I said.

"Like what?"

"I believe in love, in giving of ourselves in ways that make us more, not less.

I believe in Jesus. I believe that he really lived, really died, really came back to life. I believe that changes everything.

I believe that God is everywhere, and God is always acting, and sometimes we get to join in, and contribute to redemption and healing. I believe in old wounds healing over and broken things being made whole.

I believe in relationships, in giving and receiving, in letting people in bit by bit, and discovering that we change each other, that we're not meant to go it alone.

I believe in creating. I believe in contributing honest and hope filled beauty to the world in whichever ways we are gifted. Doing math or science or fixing things or being a parent or painting or simply smiling at the cashier.

I believe in laughter, and laughing till you cry, and crying till you laugh, and feeling the things that you feel and saying "It's not okay," when it isn't, and then saying, "I'm going to be okay," because I am.

I believe in partnership and teamwork and learning to trust other people, and walking together in some sort of pattern that we can't discern yet.

I believe in simplicity and quiet and learning to slow down and breathe, even when we feel it's impossible. Especially then.

I believe in hope, that my future holds good things, and that getting there might not take the path we expect. It might involve going where we don't want to go,* but I believe in learning along the way, and that we'll discover new and bigger things than we ever imagined."

*see my last post!

May 18, 2015

The Waking

Last week, one of my lovely friends sent me an email with a poem (few things make me happier), because she had been "musing about strength and how one can develop and foster her own strength etc," alongside a recent conversation we'd had.*

The poem was perfectly apt, and so we talked a bit about strength, and endurance and how life always has glitches and struggles that we cannot avoid. There is only one way ahead, and we have to go there.

Going where you have to go. Doing the needful, another friend calls it.

But doing it in a certain way. One that expects capacity to increase, I guess, and believes that going where you have to go is ultimately going to be GOOD.

I often think about this when things are overwhelming, or something in me resists what is inevitable, unavoidable, or already chosen: do I believe that the outcome will be good? That it will be worth it? Why or why not? If I do, then how do I help myself press on? If I don't, why do I feel the need to press on? 

Sometimes, I simply forget that the longterm goal, or even the bigger scope of the journey, is well-worth this moment (or week, or month, or year) of difficulty. Sometimes I forget that where I want to go and how I get there will not be exactly the same, and I need to be reminded that part of strength is autonomy, and that everywhere I go, I choose to go. It is pure and simple as that.

I choose where I go. And I own those choices. There is no external force to blame. If a situation is sad, or unpleasant, or requires sacrifice, I am not powerless. And I also need not run. I can walk forward.

I'm with Theodore Roethke:

God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

*My days are full right now. I'm working full-time in an unpaid position, trying to contribute to our new little household, take care of a dog, visit with friends, enjoy these summery evenings, laugh, build an honest marriage, rest, etc etc. The usual things of life. There is no crisis, no tragic situation. Though these thoughts, I believe, would be relevant even then. Perhaps it is in these little things, going where I have to go on a daily basis that will build my capacity to keep going whatever life may through my way. I hope and pray that's true. For a moment, I almost added, "And I hope and pray I don't have to find out for a long long time" - but that seems to me a futile wish. It may or may not. But I have these days, now, and in this moment, I want to love and laugh and learn as I go where I have to go. 

May 9, 2015

Oh Hi, May.

All the things.
I want to write about all the things.

About a book I read last week called The Remains of the Day.

About visiting the west coast and the mountains and some delightful friends.

About the mundane days.

About my summer placement at a hospital and whether I'll become a spiritual care professional.

About the haircut I'm getting today.

About the encouraging words from my profs this semester.

About all the feelings that surprise me and overwhelm me and give me hope.

About our dog named Pig.

About our rooftop terrace and summer patios.

I have one hour before my haircut, and the to-do list is long. Schoolwork, housework, church work, creative work - there are all kinds of things to be done.

But I took the dog for a long walk anyway, down the street and across a bridge, and past a walk-a-thon, and up the hill and over another bridge, and beside the dogpark (not in it, since an incident earlier in the week), and home again. And I breathe more slowly, and my feet are filthy (that's what you get when you wear flip flops in the city) and they're a little bit sore (that's what you get when you steal your husband's too-big shoes), and the rest of me is tired at the end of a long week, but it's the good sort of tired, and it's warm out, and my feet are up now, and I'm going to wear a skirt today, and get my hair did, and then tackle all the things.

And I've got this song in my head.