In the Silence, In the Solitude

My mind is flooded with memories of noise, chaos — happy chaos — of laughter; the family we were.  And I “see” the family who we are now, and who we are yet to be.

Re-arranging the dining room/den (which has forever been called the “back-room”), there is now a corner for bird-watching and contemplation.  An antique black typewriter sits on a wicker stand, with a potted palm tree beside it — my little taste of Key West on an early Northeast spring morning.

In this room, our new family will be forged.   The same way the old one was, through times spent together, laughter, and a bit of chaos thrown in….

There is a growing to occur here.  And a pruning as well.  There is sorrow for the losses and the changes pruning brings, but excitement of what is yet to come; pruning is the way to new growth, new buds, new life.

But for now, there is a waiting on God in the silence, in the solitude, in the in-between ….. the waiting between the quiet times and the happy chaos.

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In Truth, I Am More Than A Conqueror

DSCN0133This is a truth I’ve learned: our lives are like a house built upon a foundation. And as the foundation is, so is our house. This foundation holds all our beliefs; all that we deem to be true. And as such, out of this truth comes our behavior; we act upon that which we believe to be true.

This foundation of ours is powerful for that reason. There are beliefs and truths here that bring us goodness, health, and solidify our faith. And there are things here that bring us self-injury, harm, and fear. The good news is that we get to choose what is in our foundation; we get to re-examine and throw out some old beliefs and truths that actually turned out to be lies, and replace them with some new thoughts, beliefs, and truths that we know to be valid, every single day.   So the question remains: What truths have we built our houses upon?

I have had some pretty damaging truths in my foundation: I have believed that I was the super-hero in my own story and that I could save my own little world. I have found out, through the years, that this is a lie. I am no super-hero; I cannot save anyone. In fact, I can barely take care of my own little problems in my own little corner of the world. When discovering this truth, I found I could breathe!  I could turn it all over —  it was ok to fail and make mistakes and not have the answers to every little thing. It was ok to just say: I don’t know. The world didn’t fall apart — it kept right on spinning! What a relief. My new truth: its ok to fall down. Its even ok to stop for awhile.

Recently, I did just that: in my mind’s eye I saw myself sitting down in the middle of the road of my life’s journey. I told a friend how concerned I was about this. I had never seen myself sitting down in the middle of the road of my journey before. I was always on the front lines of my battlefield, armed to the teeth and fighting — with sling-shot and rocks ready to take off heads. But God had been prompting me, over the last couple of years, to examine this behavior. And now, here I was, last winter, sitting down in the middle of the road on my life’s journey. I told this friend: “I don’t think I’ve taken off my boots though”. That was good. Because that worried me; if my boots were off on the long road of my journey then I was in trouble. That probably would mean I’d given up, or was in a depression. So I studied myself in my mind’s eye to see if my boots were still on …

This sitting in the middle of the road and taking a pause was actually the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time. It was a form of surrender, a form of “giving-up” my old beliefs, my old truths. Talking it out with friends, I discovered that I was sitting and waiting because I really didn’t know what the next step should be, in what direction I should go in. It reminded me, in a way, of Dorothy when she asks the Scarecrow about directions and he points in opposite ways; it was like that. So I sat down and waited.

It was at this point that I sensed there were more things in my foundation that needed to be cleaned out, but I didn’t know what they were yet. I had paused my life, and was waiting in the middle of my dusty road, knees pulled up to my chest, for God to show up. This was one of the scariest moments in my life because it was so out-of-character for me. So I continuously checked in with myself, with family, and with friends. No, I wasn’t depressed; I didn’t feel depressed, but I definitely felt different. Waiting, pausing my life, without being depressed. This was new.

As it turns out, this sitting in the road only lasted a few short weeks. Enough to give me a breather. A new pathway did open up — one that I didn’t push or make happen; one that just emerged, not all at once, but one step at a time. It’s still emerging that way — I cannot see the whole thing; God is only giving it to me one step at a time. My job is to walk it out; and so, eventually, I stood up and took a step … and found my boots were still on my feet.