7,671 miles away

I’m not sure what I was expecting-well actually that’s not true.

I knew it wouldn’t be instant of course, not day one instant.

But I thought she was here.
You know, her. The better one. The more impressive one. The one everyone’s been waiting for.

Her. The me I thought was waiting to be picked up here, the me I thought I’d step into straight off the plane. Like a gown that had been hand-stitched for 22 years, tagged with my name and left at Terminal 3.

I was home hoping someone had taken every single one of my personal hopes and disappointments and stitched them into a scarf I could wear in the moments where I sat wishing I would have a been a little better.

But it’s been a little over a month now and…she’s not here.

In fact, she’s no where to be found.

Which means the full space that has been reserved for her is being filled by-you guessed it-me.

I didn’t have an option you see. I came, she didn’t. I’m here now…And in a place where I thought you got to choose who you wanted to be and where some line from some movie about “reinventing yourself” was the news crawler in my brain, it’s nothing like that at all.

Rather than becoming the mysterious me I thought was waiting for me here, I’ve indeed only become very much more of myself.

I have taken that reserved seat and sat in it Indian-style, unafraid of the personal circle I am stretching to accommodate me.

I have taken ownership of my inconveniently loud expressions and of the ways I pronounce consonants too sharply in words. I’ve given up on trying to be good at directions and taken it as a chance to make quick friends when asking for help. I’ve decided to not be embarrassed when I’m putting a smile on someone’s face-I’ve found people to dance with me. I’ve owned the moments when I come off too sharp. I’ve committed to using my words more as a shield and less as a weapon. I’m growing of course, but it really still looks a lot like me.

And I don’t know why, but that’s kind of surprising.

And a little disappointing…

But then also quite exciting.

So.

If you knew me then-if you miss me now, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m very much the same. I still trip on things and my cooking is still hit or miss. I still mix up the times when you’re supposed to care what people think and when you’re not. I still can’t sit still for very long, I’m always almost late, and I still tear up at the thought of Jesus loving me.

If you’re holding out, I’d say you should just stop now. Because maybe a year 7,671 miles away will make me her, but what’s more likely is that it will simply make me a more brave me. And who knows, that could be even better.

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Hard to want to do again

It’s like moving into a new house, or playing a basketball game.

You prepare for it, the build up is undeniable. You’re ready, committed.

But then when it’s over, when you finally unpack the boxes, when the season ends-it’s hard to want to do again.

You already moved someone into your heart. You practiced teamwork and strategized how to pass the ball.

And now instead of that restful ‘well-done’ feeling, you don’t get to sit.

You don’t get to put the trophy on your top shelf. You don’t get to settle into the new recliner with an old book.

You’re expected to start over…

Love is hard to want to do again.

Have You Been Here? Pt. 3

They can’t. (*Here’s a good place to go back and read Parts 1 and 2 if you haven’t.)

I’ve tried.

Those things in Pt. 2 can’t fix the brokenness all around me. They can’t make me believe in love or fix marriages or make me confident or satisfied or purpose-filled. They can help yes, but they can’t do all that and sustain it too..and I think most of us have experienced this truth.

And this place or realization feels really, really hopeless.

But this my friend, is the great reversal.

In a world where failed attempts at control equal hearts left aimless and discouraged, this is where we begin.

On the path of faith, this is the first step. It is called ‘surrender’.

In a world where “I’m sorry” is never really enough to heal the wounds we so easily inflict, in this new world “You’re forgiven.” comes first.

In a world where each of us have PhD’s in wall building, we can realize they are all made of sand. And the walls we build may keep out the people, but they certainly don’t defend us from the tidal waves life sends in.

In this new world the place of “I can’t” comes a new louder voice of “You don’t have to.”

In the places that feel very alone, comes someone who says, “I am always with you.”

In the moments where you have onloaded every failure to improve, self-manage, self-promote, self-help, and have realized that you tried and failed, “so why am I still here.”

A very generous, and kind voice, comes in from the back and says,

“It’s not your job to save yourself from your story.”

And suddenly the weight is lifted.

Have you been here?

*****

If you’ve been in any of these places, from Pt. 1, 2 or 3 I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I know there’s power of knowing people get it, that you’re not alone, that the episode you’re living in isn’t as unpredictable as it seems. So do it down there!! xx

 

 

Have You Been Here? Pt. 2

“You gotta be rich to be insane, Hol. Losing your mind is not a luxury for the middle class.” And in a painfully relatable quote from a your favorite movie, you know they are right.

Because time isn’t afraid of the messes we make. It never backs away from its work or steamrolls quickly by in an effort to leave us behind. It consistently, reliably, carries on, and us with it.

Time certainly does not heal wounds, but it distances us from them a bit, and in that distance we are able to more clearly see the potential for healing than when we were in the eye of our storm.

The people who were going to stay stay, and the ones who were going to leave are gone. You realize that most of the paper planes flying around in your head all those nights eventually land on their own.

But even so, even when the dust settles, even when we are ‘getting over it’, that feeling, it’s still not whole…

Have you been here? You know when your friend calls to check in, and you give her the “I’m really doing better” followed by a list of proofs that show it’s true.

I know I know, I believe in the healthy lifestyle. The balanced days, the steps towards equal measures of gym time, me time, service time etc. on the path to the best you.

But there has got to be more…right?

Even on the best days where the check list is completed and my own self-satisfaction is at its peak…

there has got to be more.

There’s got to be more than balanced lifestyles, Keto diets, ‘family first’ mantras, the year of the ‘focus on me’, #hustlemore and #dailyinspo etc. etc. etc.

I’ve got to believe these things are the garnishes on an already fullness…they certainly can’t patch me up on their own.

Can they?

***

Read the “Have You Been Here?” Series from the beginning starting here. Or here for Pt. 3.

Have you been here? Pt. 1

I’m sorry.

Not because I loved you, but because I’ve never seen the side of me that hurt you before.

I guess I always knew it lived in there somewhere, but my self-righteous past made me believe it would never grow into something anyone else could see or feel.

I didn’t just hurt you you know, but you and someone(s) I really care about….and myself.

And now I’m walking into a place where my greatest desire is to love, and I’m looking around the room seeing people I need to dodge.

What was once a family reuinion now looks like tip toeing around a minefield of hearts-some of which I planted myself.

It makes you ask the question, “What happened?”

And I guess if you stay somewhere long enough the lines of hurt start to tangle around places you frequent like subway lines, but I like to hope those one day become veins of forgiveness.

It’s a hard thing for a man to become collateral to another man’s sin.

But I’ve watched this play out more clearly now than ever, and it really is a testament to the urgent words in Ephesians 6 that we only seem to bring up when trying to pat down a problem we don’t fully understand-

The words that say, we aren’t at war with each other, but with the roaming, hungry spirits.

You can’t damage control sin, and this is why that living scripture is both a warning sign and an ointment for black eyes after the fall out.

What better way for the darkest side to gain strength, not by killing us, but by turning us against one another. By smearing our names in the sand with the tongues of what we thought were safe people.

What better way for evil to distract us through lingering stares and bitter regrets.

“I’m sorry.” feels like a child’s weapon against the darkness, but use what you have.

****

Challenge Time

I’ve been reading a book called “Renovation of the Heart” and in it the author writes:

It is common today to hear Christians talk of their ‘brokenness,” But when you listen closely, you may discover that they are talking about their wounds, the things they have suffered, not about the evil that is in them.

I know I know, you’re thinking Emily, why must you always bring the hammer on my perfectly nice day? Well because I truly believe, a new freedom comes when we look in the mirror not with shame but with brave honesty. When we can stand before the darkness inside of us, it loses a little more power to hurt others, and that my friends is a victory.

What do you need to face today? (Either with yourself or with someone else)

Read Pt. 2 here.

Logistics got me sweating

Here again.
Not catching my breath, overwhelmed with the logistics of this life.
Trying my best to flip and turn puzzle pieces into their sisters places.
Trying my best to sort out the insignificant because I can’t get a hold of the of the
important.
But then I realize there are pieces on the floor I’ve been missing all along..
and under the rug…
and out the door.
There are pieces too far for me to reach, this is not my puzzle to solve.
In fact it’s not a puzzle at all.
But a story that you’ve written and are now producing. 
A story in which my leading role looks more like a reclined position than hunched over in strife.
A story in which I am less responsible for piece making and more responsible for peace making. 
I’m sorry I’ve spent so much time believing you were soverign over my life, but not over my next week. 

More than 60 Seconds

I refuse to turn on Netflix.

Because the only story I want playing in front of my eyes is my own.

It’s been a minute since my story was better than the ones distracting me.

It’s been a minute since the duplicitous narratives of my life were more provocative than that on the screen.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been this interested in me.

It’s been a minute since I felt challenged and comforted at the the same time.

And it’s been a minute since I had a secret worth keeping, not because of shame but because I saw the value standing in front me, and wanted nothing more than to fiercely protect it.

It’s been a minute since I was here…in fact, it might be the first time.