Live Color Fully

today i am excited about everything.

Thoughts On a (Few) Snow Day(s)

When was it, exactly, that life stopped any measure of transition?

Is it something that adulthood holds? Something that must be accepted along with taxes and cleaning and being in charge of Making All The Things Happen?

One week ago today I boarded a plane that swept me away from a hospital room that became my home, away from family and the sun, and back into a job and a snowstorm and Real Life.

There is no space between these things. No beat of being. They are shoved up right next to each other, overlapping, my heart squished somewhere in-between.

It’s unsettling, to say the least, to move from the methodical unrelenting beep of the heart monitor and into a job and then into the many, many conversations of a family full of girls.

I go, too fast now, because I can’t stop. Won’t stop. Must. Not. Stop. As long as I go, and go, and go some more, I can justmaybe make it.

I cry out, and the heavens weep with me, sending down snow and ice (which is beautiful, but does very little to soothe my wounded heart).

Or does it? The snow piles outside, and inside, my heart (oh so slowly) begins to thaw.

And there I am, buried somewhere underneath (I think). (I hope).

I breathe. I sink deep into the kindness of strangers. I sink deeper into the comfort of my Creator. I breathe again.

Adult life may not allow for transitions, but I remember again that I am (and always will be) merely a child wearing grown up clothes. 

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Goodbye: Guatemala Edition

Before you read any further, let me tell you this: I’m not quitting my job and moving away. When I sat to write this, I could practically feel my Mom tensing up as her eyes passed across the title. Don’t worry, Mom! I’m staying here forever! Exclamation point! More exclamation points!!! No Goodbyes taking place here (for now).

The nature of my life so far, though, tells a different story. Goodbyes are frequent, and constant. Every run towards a new adventure has meant leaving pieces of me behind, irreversibly tied tight to the hearts of people I love.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Several months ago, I stood in a small church yard in Santa Lucia, Guatemala, surround by darkness above and dirt below, and said it again. Over and over (and over again), to souls that were at once familiar, like family.

And then we sat on a damp, warm bus, losing tears and parts of the heart, and I remembered:

We weren’t made for this.

When we were built, when we were first imagined and shaped into being, our Creator fashioned deep into us a need for relationships. And friends, how lovely that would have been, to spend days and nights in a garden, living in the fullness of together. Together, all of us.

Never once saying goodbye.

But instead, we live here. In a place that mirrors a reflection of brokenness and hurt. A place where we meet and love, and then separate.

And honestly, most days it’s really okay. We have iPhones and Facebook and that whole internet thing really working in our favor these days.

But today I feel the sorrow run deep into my blood, and weight of what could have been crashing against what is.

Someday, my friends. Someday: restored.

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A Little Madness

Almost two years ago, during what I hope someday I’ll be able to call “the only bleak year in my life,” I kissed a stranger in the airport.

While the airport is always a dramatically romantic location in films, let’s be honest: in real life, the airport is gross. There’s very little of people diving across misplaced ropes to finally, finally say Those Three Words. Or people longingly pressing their faces against a full length window, sunshine streaming in, looking with a sense of unrequited love towards the plane that’s taking with it a handsome wo/man, and their heart.

On this side of reality, people are stale & rotting from traveling across the sky in an oppressive metal box, and there is a vague sheen of germs on every surface. If you press your face to the window, you should assume that from that point forward in the timeline of your life, you have typhoid fever. It’s dark, weirdly damp, and dirty.

And it was there, amidst the chaos of after-holiday travel, that I had a complete breakdown.

It was the travel day that will forever live in infamy as “The Day I Took A Drug Test In The Airport”. After I had been cleared (whew!), I found my seat on the plane next to a man I can only remember as “Ranger”. As we traveled above the clouds, we chatted about his life- in training to be an Army Ranger (hence the clever name), and mine- trapped in a job that broke some unidentifiable part of me.

And, of course, the things we had in common: Moms that were teachers, awesome Sisters, a love of music, faith in our Creator, and the importance of people. By the time we landed, we were Facebook friends.

We smiled and said goodbye, and I headed towards my connecting flight, the one that would (with my strained permission) sweep me away from almost everyone I loved in the world and back to my difficult life.

So.

So, I scuffled toward C12, completely shutting down my brain and forcing the muscles in my legs to step, step, step.

As I rounded the corner, I froze.

In this modest pocket of the airport, there were 4 gates: one to my beautiful hometown (Wichita), one to the place I became a grown up (Louisville), one to the place my college friends have settled (Indianapolis), and one to Little Rock.

My brain went into overdrive. “LITTLE ROCK”, it screamed, hurting my head and every part of my being. “GET ON THE PLAAAAANE”.

My heart whispered back, low and gentle, the ever-formidable opponent: “no”.

I sat down.

In the middle of the terminal, holding an oversized bag and my sunglasses, with chaos all around me, I broke.

Both people and time moved nearby, but in the air I was breathing, everything stood still.

And I melted.

For what felt like 2 minutes (or maybe 2,000), I sat cross-legged on the grimy tiled floor, silent tears running down my face.

Then, two hands on my shoulders, lifting me up. I looked into Ranger’s face, his eyes searching mine.

“Uh, WHAT are you doing? Are you okay? You should probably not be sitting on the floor. There’s seriously a chair like, 10 feet from you right now.”

Laughter bubbled out of me, the moment took hold of my heart, and I placed my hands on either side of his face and kissed him, right on the mouth.

It was, by far, one of the most absurd things I’ve ever done. Ever. And that includes the time I went to Naked Ballet in college with my then-boss, the Ed Head for the I-O.

And then the moment ended; we both laughed. And somehow, through the haze of my crazy, I knew I was going to be okay.

 

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free. Nikos Kazantzakis. 

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Every Hour

At night, now, I follow a routine.

I mean, sort of. Routines are definitely not my strong suit, as I basically feel more alive in change and new then I ever will in the familiar.

But- there is a sense now, at 29, of a routine. Things out of order, maybe, or in different combinations as I multi-multi-multi task, but the same things: brushing the teeth, flossing (especially now with the recent claims that it adds 4-6 years to your life-eek!), running my fingers through my hair to check for any unwanted visitors (ie stickers, leaves, small children), round cotton balls that carry with them to the trash the day’s (many) coats of mascara, warm socks over abnormally small feet, and lotion over shoulders, elbows, hands and an increasingly wrinkled forehead.

The wrinkled forehead I love- years of laughter and raised eyebrows while fiercely listening to children reflected in deep crevasses stretched from temple to temple. Deep, to hold deep, full love.

But the arms, people.

As I smooth white over my arms each evening, I feel my limitations. I feel how thin skin is stretched tightly over a mess of muscles and blood and a pile of bones, somehow holding in breath, and deeper still, a free spirit. I feel-

I feel-

I feel the fragility of life.

I want to escape, in these moments, to find someone else’s story to cling to. To turn on the TV, or music, or reach for a favorite book, to drown out these moments with something loud, something different, something noise.

But I trust in my Creator, something I’m still learning to do at 29, and I lean in. I remember that fragile is not the same as hopeless. I feel the darkness, the stillness of the moment and I don’t scream into it with light.

I am quiet.

And tomorrow, with the (always faithful) rising rays of the sun, I will carry with me my moment of stillness. Living life intentionally- on purpose- is hard, and I need to remember why.

We don’t have forever, here. We’re not meant to have forever, here.

The moments of light and joy are beautiful, and so are the moments of dark and hope. They exist, side by side.

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Walt Whitman. 

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Family

Honestly, I love the church.

I know that’s probably obvious. I’ve attended (mostly) from my exit from the womb, and have amazing memories and experiences tied into living alongside of a community of people who love Jesus. And, uh, I give them my time and energy (read: life calling), and they give me money to eat ice cream and buy shoes. So, that’s pretty awesome.

And honestly, I love the commitment the church has made to family.

But. But as an upper-20-something-single-female, can I say something?

I have a family, too.

And I don’t just mean the one that was given to me through my Blue Eyes and Last Name, although that family is pretty sweet. I mean the one my life has formed. Built. Created.

All over this country, every place I’ve lived, there are humans I’ve lived life alongside of. Who I’ve stood beside in uncomfortable shoes during wedding ceremonies, and beside later as I brushed gently the soft heads of babies that were truly hours old. Who I’ve sat with and mourned the bitterness of death, and sat with at Happy Hour after long workdays. Humans who I’ve lived with through inconvenience, through 3 am airport pickups, lugging boxes for a move, through   sitting in the hospital awaiting an answer.

People I have deeply known and deeply loved.

People who have deeply known and deeply loved me.

 

These people are my family.

And while I love that we commit to families growing together, and leading together, and loving together, let’s not forget: Not everyone’s family is the same.

My family may look a little bit different, may be spread among miles and miles, but that doesn’t make them any less of a family. We may belong to each other through memories, and not through blood, but that doesn’t make the commitment any less.

Commitment. Living together despite brokenness. Baring both spirit and mistakes.

And gratefulness. To live among family, whether it fits the traditional definition, or just my own.

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