July 28, 2010

and THIS is why I love Facebook.



this is a world filled with love & other things that have the sense not to waste time talking about everything under the sun & see how it glows with no help from us whatsoever? 

July 22, 2010

what love looks like

quality time, ice cream for dinner, & cards from Texas
shared tears, copious hand-holding, "me toos," & gifts of going second
emails, rainbow brite pencil sets, a UPS notification, & affirmation
cool whip & graham crackers & silly tv shows
hugs, a clean car, admitting, protection, so much grace, & laughter
I'm sorry & that's hard & it's okay
hearing hard truths, recognizing lies, & personal days
I was wrong, I screwed up, & please forgive me
acceptance, permission, honesty, coffee, a replaced straightener, & sarcasm
hope, help, & reminding me who I am when I forget
checking in, offers of street justice, lullabies, mix cd's, & validation
"she's my best babysitter, but you're my best Meggie" & "I want to sit in yours lap"
weakness, strength, hearing & being heard
consistency, forgiveness, & the sharing of intense irrationality
distraction, focus, talking, not talking, & sitting
feeling safe, not afraid, secure, & sure

When we were little, we had a boy babysitter, Jason. I thought he was so great. I remember lying in bed one night and Jason poked his head in my door from the hallway. He saw me, awake, and nervously said, "oh, hey, just checking to make sure you were still breathing" and then made a swift exit. I remember thinking that that was really weird, because why would I not be breathing? Now, of course, I know that he was checking on me (however awkwardly). And even though I didn't know why the heck he would be concerned about my breathing, I know that I felt safe. His care just looked different than, say, Holly's. (Holly was our other babysitter. Who was also great. Until one day the police came when she was over and told her there was a report of someone being on our roof and I'm pretty sure traumatized her so badly I'm not sure she ever babysat again ever. But that's another story for another time.)

It's a silly example, but my point is, just like Jason's weird way of checking on me made me feel safe, love, too, takes different forms. The delivery is inconsequential so long as the message gets across. Sometimes it's hard to come out and say, "I'll keep you safe." But even as a little girl, on some level, I knew that's what Jason meant. It may make things tricky sometimes, but I think I like that love looks so many different ways. I think I like that graham crackers & cool whip can leave me just as assured that I am loved as "I love you" can. I know I like that there are people in my life who know when we need ice cream for dinner or that sometimes I just need to hear that I'm somebody's best Meggie. I like that Jesus makes himself known in street justice just as much as in safety. I like that there are so many ways to give and receive love.

I like that I'm given it. Abundantly. Even when I suck or I'm crazy or I'm broken down.

I am thankful for love that was delivered to me in so many different ways today
& for the miraculous absence of emptiness at the end of a day I felt sure would end emptily

July 14, 2010

when things stay awesome

There are some things that, no matter how old you get, are always awesome.

When you're a kid, quite often things happen that are absolutely pee-your-pants awesome (for those of you with incontinence issues in your childhood (or currently, for that matter), I do not mean any disrespect to you and your formerly wet pants. Please don't take my language personally). And you think, "won't it be sad when one day I don't get pee-your-pants excited about awesome things anymore?" And then you're an adult and something awesome happens - and much to your surprise and joy - YOU WET YOURSELF! No, I'm kidding, that would be gross. But your heart starts beating faster and you are still excited as though you are 6 years old and you just walked downstairs on Christmas morning and, thank goodness, Santa Claus came AGAIN even though you were a little brat for 360/365 days of the year. It is a wonderful feeling to realize that all of the childlike glee is not forever missing from your now grownup and boring life. Here are some of the things I have discovered recently that are this kind of wonderful.

getting a new bike.
This is basically the end-all-be-all experience of being a kid - when on that aforementioned Christmas morning you get your first bike. Mine was pink (at least the one I remember was) and it had streamers and a basket for carrying dandelions in. (I'm pretty sure none of that is true, but who's to say? In my imagination its true and that's what counts here.) A bike is a rite of passage. A true sign that you have arrived. Walk to the playground? No freakin way. I'll take my new bike. No big deal. I recently was gifted a new bike (new to me) and it is just as exciting. Riding your bike in Denver gives you instant street cred. Second best is driving a Subaru Outback. I can't stop riding my bike places. (Ok, mostly I can't stop talking about how I'm riding my bike places. Street cred is important to me.) Especially the park. Few things make me feel cooler than rolling up to an ultimate frisbee game on my new little bike. I. have. arrived. Both literally and figuratively.
queen anne's lace.
There is queen anne's lace growing on the side of my house. I love it so much.
Yes, I know its a weed. No, that does not make me love it less.
making a new friend.
Sometimes when I get a new friend, I have to resist the urge to immediately grab their hands and jump up and down, invite them over for a sleepover at my house, and ask them if they can come to my birthday party (which is 11 months away at the moment, but that's not important). It all happens so fast! This is another thing that really doesn't get less exciting. There is nothing greater than meeting a person and realizing that you really like them. Like them so much, in fact, that you're going to have to exhibit immense amounts of self control in order to maintain your cool and not freak them out within the first 6 minutes of meeting them. Eventually, if you're lucky, you'll get to have the FDTR - the friend 'defining the relationship' convo - and you'll discover that the jump-up-and-down feeling is mutual. Then (and only then) you may jump up and down. Holding hands if you prefer.
lemonade stands.
I do not get less excited about lemonade stands at 25 than I did when I was 7. Of course, I'm not having them these days, but I tell you what - I stop every time I see one, and I love it every time. There are 2 boys (Max & Jake) who have a lemonade stand about a block over from City Park every Sunday during Jazz in the Park. This is brilliant. They have lemonade, dog treats, and homemade baked goods that are legitimately delicious. We've been there a few times (we are regulars, they know us) and they ARE SO CUTE. Last week they told us that all of the proceeds were matched by their mom and put in their college fund. The other half they get to keep. Which is adorable in writing and even more adorable coming out of their little mouths as they try to sell us another brownie "to take to our friends." Great little businessmen.

I'm pretty sure I've mentions 6 trillion times how much I love invitations. I love being invited places. If it were a love language, it would surely be mine. And now, yes, we've moved to a less exciting e-vite, facebook-vite style, which is sort of boring. I only like them slightly less than pink sparkly princesses telling me that YOU - ME? - YES. ME. (deep breaths) - have been invited to whatshername's pink sparkly princess party. Glory be.
the opposite sex.
9 year old girls talk about boys. 13 year old girls don't talk about anything other than boys. 15 year old girls maybe date some boys, but mostly just talk about them. (This continues into your 20's.) Somehow, it is still just as exciting as that time in 5th grade when Bradford called to ask me if I liked Steven, hung up, called Steven, called me back (Bradford, not Steven), to ask me if I'd like to "go out" with Steven (be still my heart!). Which clearly means maybe sit together at lunch once (but probably not), talk on the phone sometimes (through Bradford, more than likely), and essentially never talk again (to each other - you talk about each other with everyone, of course, because duh, you're going out). I moved to Kansas in the middle of 5th grade. Steven and I couldn't break up, because that would require a conversation. (We're still together. Technically.)
juice boxes & popsicles.
This is really a pretty random comment which I am making only because in the past week these two magical treats have significantly raised my quality of life. Juice boxes are always a mood-booster. Never not a good choice. I don't buy them often (because I'm a grownup) but when I do, it brings me such joy and delight to reach into the fridge and grab one. And since it's approximately 1 billion degrees outside each day, popsicles are a must-have. Having that cold treat when it is 96 degrees (in my bedroom) keeps me from hurling myself into oncoming traffic.
This is what I have on my list for now. What's on yours?

July 9, 2010

to live clandestinely (1 part remix, 1 part book report)

This is a little thing I like to call a REMIX. The original post was titled "love is a battlefield," a truth which I believe still stands. Love IS a battlefield. Thank you, Pat Benetar, for handing us said truth in such a catchy phrase and in such a great great song. I appreciate that about you.
In the aforementioned post (which has been coming up in conversation quite often, of late), I came to the general conclusion that I should give relationships the go-ahead, because as C.S. Lewis said, if you choose NOT to risk the vulnerability of love, "[your heart] will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." This does not seem like a great situation. In referring to this option as "the casket of your selfishness" Sir Lewis has made a fairly clear statement about which option he personally votes for. Not much ambiguity there.
Regardless, this whole concept is getting kind of hard. When I wrote that post, I meant what I wrote - I did (and do) think it is a worthwhile cause to love and be vulnerable, because obvi, caskets of selfishness are not the kinds of places I enjoy spending my time. But lately I am feeling less kindred with Lew and a ever so slightly more with Jenny Lynn (the song I posted last week) --
wounded - you let your guard down & feel stupid
you wish you never would have trusted
your heart in someone else's hands
Yes. At the current moment, this is far more accurate. I (among others) am tired of being vulnerable and getting kicked in the face for it. We want to be seen and heard and accepted and loved, but to let another person into those places opens you up to a whole horrific cocktail of hurt and pain. And because we are sinny, broken humans, we are, by extension, a race of heartbreakers. So the question was posed to me yesterday: what was I going to do about this state of affairs? Retreat to my casket of selfishness? Hide in my bedroom until the end of time? Was I going to quit? I thought, yes. Quitting is an attractive option.
Last night I finished a great book (and for the record, I did not always think it was great). It is a story of a highly intelligent, self-proclaimed "clandestine" woman in her mid-fifties. She is alone. She strikes up an unlikely friendship (my favorite kind) with a pre-teen who intends to take her own life because she has given up entirely on the worthwhileness (is that even a word?) of living. Seriously, for over half the book, I was incredibly bored. I thought the characters were fairly dull and their lives mundane and I wasn't terribly interested. But then - they meet one another and begin to interact and describe each other instead of just themselves and the whole story takes a huge turn. It becomes interesting. The voice, the tone, changed. The characters became deep and vibrant and beautiful - people I barely recognized - in the others' eyes and words. In relationship, in community, the characters came alive. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. 
Without giving away any crucial plot points, the whole novel points to a person's willingness to be vulnerable with another person. Which is funny. I have this long, tearful conversation yesterday morning about the possibility of quitting on relationships. Then in the evening I pick up this boring book (I hate to not finish books, so I had to press on) and this, unexpectedly, is it's entire message. Although this case is a little hyperbolic in comparison to myself (as I am sometimes a hider but am far too extroverted to cross over into full hermitude (also not a word)), the fact remains: to live clandestinely was miserable (not to mention boring). To watch as these characters - hiders, both of them - come out of hiding, and completely transform because of it? HOW CAN I NOT KEEP TRYING?! Ugh. I hate when the hard thing is the right thing. Hate it.
but it's all okay - I think you may have made the best mistake
I think we're made to give ourselves away
'cause there's no other way to live

I can almost hear the hearts of the clandestines, silently pleading: 

jenny lynn, I wish that I had your thin skin
I wish that I could let the love right in
maybe I'd rather feel the pain

'cause freedom is a naked heart that always dares to give

I guess if the alternative is to live clandestinely - a lonely hider sequestered to a casket of her selfishness - 
I will (reluctantly, today) choose nakedness. The metaphorical kind. 
 And, by extension - fingers crossed - freedom.