July 28, 2009

why hiding doesn't work

When we were waiting for my mom to arrive at her surprise party, we got the call just ever so slightly sooner than we anticipated, and had to rush to change our clothes and put the finishing touches on our dishes and drinks, etc. I finished making my guacamole, ran upstairs, and quickly started to change in the same room my almost 5 yr-old nephew, Timmy, happened to be in at that moment.

Timmy, who is quite literally the funniest child I have ever met, said, “You’re changing?! I don’t want to see your booty!”

I laughed, and replied, “You won’t see my booty, silly, I’m all covered up!”

Then, with this look on his little face that screamed, “Even though you are a grownup I am maybe a little bit smarter than you,” he said this:

“Doesn’t matter Megs. I can still see how you are."

Out of the mouths of babes. Now, this was horrifying for a plethora of reasons, but the very first thought that entered my mind was this: I’m not as good at hiding as I think I am.

I haven't been able to shake those words from my slightly obsessive brain. It reminded me of my favorite part of Psalm 139:

Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become dark around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Even though I was changing very modestly, trying to keep Timmy from seeing my booty, as it were, he was right – I couldn’t hide “how I am.” I go to great lengths to keep my booty from being seen, figuratively speaking, to keep from being vulnerable, to keep anyone from seeing how I truly am. I think we all try to keep from being caught in the buff, at the peak of vulnerability. We don't want to be found out. My friend Kristin and I used to talk about new relationships and how we had to be sure and "hide the crazy" for a while. We were laughing at the time... but were we joking? I pretty much go through life trying to hide the crazy. Timmy’s words freaked me out. I laughed, but I was also shockingly anxious in that moment. I have to wonder if God doesn't look at us, hiding, and say to us the very same thing. I think all the time, "Surely, the darkness (or whatever else) will hide me!" But even the darkness is as light to Him. This is why hiding doesn't work.

I just finished reading a novel with a teenage girl in it who was desperately broken. She was making herself throw up several times per day, she was stealing, and had started regularly cutting her arms with razor blades. Towards the end of the book, she gets caught by her father, and I think its a beautiful picture of this whole thing:

The more my father yelled, the more tightly he held on to me. And here's the weirdest thing of all: now that the worst had happened—now that I'd been found out—it wasn't disastrous. It felt, well, inevitable. My father was furious, but me, I couldn't stop smiling. "You see me," I thought, my eyes closing. "You see me."
Even though being seen as we are is a concept that borders on terrifying, I really believe it’s what we all desperately desire: to be seen and loved anyway, maybe even more because of it. When Timmy said, "I can still see how you are," I realize that I was anxious because in hearing those words, I immediately felt shame. It was my biggest fear come true. I was waiting for the rest of the sentence, for the other shoe to drop. What I expect, what I think I deserve, is, "I can see how you are, and it's bad. I can see how you are, and it's wrong. Stupid. Not good enough. Ugly." But in Timmy’s little words there was no judgment or condemnation, he was simply stating fact. Timmy loves me. I saw, in him, a perfect picture of Christ's love for us. I think the sentence does have a second part, but I think it goes like this:

You're trying to hide, but I can still see how you are. And I love you anyway."

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:6-8]

I don’t have to hide, because Jesus sees how I am, which is less than perfect. And he died for me even though I don't deserve it. He loves me anyway.

July 27, 2009

the MOTHER of all birthdays

Dear World,
As you may or may not have heard, today, my lovely and talented mother, Tracy Lynn Lyday Farrell... is FIFTY!!!!!!!!
thats right. Book 'em Danno, she's five-0!
She dances (and looks, clearly), however, like she's not a day over 25. See?
We celebrated with a SURPRISE party in KC this weekend, which was way fun and took the birthday queen totally by surprise!

5 things you may not have known about my mother:
1. She takes tap dance with her friends and is, "the best in her class" (according to her)
2. She loves rap music and also hip hop and also has an affinity for Disco
3. She thinks I am hilarious, which I clearly love about her. Except when she asks me, quite literally, to perform for crowds of people.
4. I think she knows everything about everything. I feel like I could call with any random question and she would know exactly how to do it/who to call/what the answer is. She's kind of brilliant.
5. Her faith is amazing - she loves Jesus with her whole self... I have been so blessed to have such a great model for what authentic faith looks like.
So here's to you, Mommy Dearest, the queen of hip hop and censored rap music, the cutest Mom I know, on this, the first day of your 50th year! I love you so much!

July 26, 2009

celebrations, belated and otherwise

In my brief hiatus from all things blog, I have missed a LOT of really fun things to celebrate. So in order to properly acknowledge the celebrations of you, my faithful readers, here are some things we have celebrated in recent months, in no particular order (aside from the order that Blogger decided to upload them):

my sweet nephew Joel turned 12 in June!! getting dangerously close to the teens... here we are at the lake:
Emily, Joel's sister (which would make her my niece) turned FIFTEEN on July 14. Which is ridiculous. I feel like she should still be 5!! This was taken when we were at camp in Colorado, on the top of Mt. Chrysolite! Beautiful view, beautiful girl!
my sister, Amie's birthday was June 29! We spent it at the lake which was WAY fun... cake for breakfast, our whole family together, dance parties on the boat... it was a much needed mini-vacation. Here, Amie is singing her heart out on the boat. And Shelbs is plugging her ears.
We celebrated Ben's 21st in June.... the 28th, to be exact. Clearly, we had fun:
Kelly "Misdemeanor" Marhaver turned 24 on July 18! Not the 17th, which is when I called her, thinking it was the 18th. Fail. This picture is an oldie but a goodie. Look how young and cute we were! This was taken right before we went on a sweet double date to the Outback Steakhouse. Classy.
Lori Ingersoll (2006 Homecoming Queen of Trinity University: see picture) had a birthday on April 30... AND, ladies and gentlemen, as of a couple weeks ago is now betrothed to be MRS. Bobby Zabor!!! YAY weddings!!!!
My dear friend and lovely former youth grouper from FPC San Antonio, Wilson, has been kicking cancer's @$$ for the past year or so... and he just finished his last treatment!! Happy Remission, Wils!!!!!
Heeeeey Brother: Thomas turned the big 2-1 in May... much to my dismay! Here he is in his younger retainer days. FYI: this picture, when I stumbled upon it, made me laugh out loud.
Audrie's birthday was June 12. This was hard for all of us, but it is a wonderful reminder of the life of the sister, daughter, and mommy we loved and continue to love dearly. I found this picture in an old shoebox of pictures in my closet at home... I hadn't seen it in years. I always feel relief and comfort when I stumble on or remember something like this, a little reminder that even though Audrie isn't here, she will always be alive in our hearts and in our memories.
So there you have it. If I were to make a list of things I love, among them would most definitely be birthdays, engagements, and remission. More to come in the near future, never you fear...

July 18, 2009

a note on acclimating

ee cummings', "(finding and losing and laughing and crying)" has never felt more appropriate.

As some of you may already know, I like words a lot... so much so that I have a list of favorite words which I like to bust into conversation every now and then and knock the veritable socks off of all the people listening to me drop big words like they're hot. Definitely on that list, up high in fact, is the word "discombobulated," and I couldn't feel more so at this current moment.

I am back in Denver, trying to acclimate (another favorite) to regular life again. It is an oddly disconcerting (another) thing to be gone from a place for months at a time - even though lots of things are the same, lots of things are different, too. Like, for example, there are new people who hang around with my old people, there are things like my roomie Susan moving out today and my roomie Becca and friend Colin getting engaged, there are things like having to find a new place to live looming in the not-distant-enough future. The surfacey part of me is adjusting just fine, learning the new things, meeting the new people, saying goodbye to other people and things... and then there is a perhaps bigger part of me that wants to scream (or stay in bed all day, as the case may be) in protest of how different life is than it was in May. How different I am, too.

Just today I was thinking about if I might want to make it back to Wichita before school started and everything, just for a weekend, and I caught myself thinking about how I could do that, because it would be a good chance to see my fam, see Amie and the kids, see Emily and Joel, visit Audrie. It is things like this that make it impossibly hard not to want to rebel against life going on. I want to visit Audrie. And I can't. Acclimating sucks.

So while I am busy trying desperately to resist being Debbie Downer constantly and am trying to resist answering "TERRIBLE" every time someone asks simply how I am, I read about this thing called the gift of the desert road. I am 100% plagiarizing from Stuff Christians Like, which I unabashedly and shamelessly promote at any chance and/or opportunity.

While I protest and rage against God for all of the things in my life that, in my opinion, suck at this current moment, when I wonder why my week at Frontier was so very trying and hard, when I wonder WHY I am not this, that, and the other, when I am confused as to why I am not already a mature, problem-free Christian and also awesome counselor, friend, family member, and general human being, when I wonder why I am not engaged or married or on my way there, at least, essentially when I am just downright unsatisfied with everything, I read this question: "Why do you keep refusing the gift of the desert road?" (a big thank you, Jon Acuff, for asking).

Here's what he writes:
"That's kind of a weird question, but it comes out of some verses I've written about before. In Exodus 13: 17-18, as the Israelites are leaving Egypt, the Bible says:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
I love the simplicity of that. God knew that if the Israelites took the short way, if they took what probably seemed like the logical route, they'd face a war they weren't ready for and would probably willingly return to slavery. So out of love, out of a deep, big love for His people, he took them on the desert road."

Hmm. The thing is, I have no idea what the plan is. Based on what I believe about God, I am not the planner. I don't get to choose the timing, I don't get to pick the circumstances, I don't get to always have my way. But also, based on what I believe about God, I believe there are plans. That God's timing is perfect and I don't have to question that. Which is not to say I don't, because I do, but the point is, maybe I am not ready for war just yet. Maybe (probably) I have more to learn before I go through Philistine country because if I don't learn those things, I might duck and run before I get through. Who knows.

"What if God loves you too much to send you to war? What if He loves you too much to throw you into situations you're not ready for? What if that desert road is a gift?"

What if it is, after all, a gift? What if the long way around is the best way, for me? This is life, now. Getting to know the new people, loving the old people, finding a new house, finding (fingers crossed) a JOB for December, waiting for the day when I get to be the one on the receiving end of a perfect proposal, learning to live without my sister, and figuring out how to adequately honor her life with my own. I can stay in bed as long as I want, or I can dive headfirst into what God seems to be trying to teach me. I guess that's my choice.

So even though the desert road seems a little long and a lot sucky, I think I'll try to accept it. Better than changing my name to Debbie (last name Downer) and adding "WAH-WAH" to the end of every sentence, which I'm pretty sure is the only logical alternative.