May 26, 2011


When I need to feel comforted, I pretty much always find myself in Lamentations 3. Sometimes I don't even believe what I'm reading, but still, I go there. I read the words. Without my permission, I am comforted.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
My friend prayed tonight that God would bring order. She said, "you are a God of order, and this is chaos."

Chaos: I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I don't know how to not be sad. I don't know how to comfort and I don't know how to be comforted. I don't understand. I don't know and I don't see and I don't get it. There is no explanation. There is pain I can't fix. There are problems I can't solve. There are things that no matter my education or experience or training, I can't handle. There is brokenness I can't mend. There is so little I can do. And if I'm being honest that is just skimming the surface. Of just this moment.

Yet this I call to mind...

I believe in a God who is absolute. In the midst of chaos, there is a promise. We are not consumed, because his compassions never fail. Like, not ever. Not once accidentally. Not even on the days when I think my head will explode from the chaos. There is no condition, no limit to God's great love. It is perfect, unchangeable, unlimited, unbounded, pure and unadulterated. Nothing is too broken. No one is too much or too messy. What I want to know when it comes down to it is that I will not be consumed. Because some days, I feel like I might be. And then I remember that I believe in a God of absolutes.

And therefore I have hope.

May 19, 2011

directionally challenged [doesn't begin to describe it]

When I turned sixteen, I was so excited. I couldn't wait to drive to the mall and meet my friends at the Orange Julius and buy crappy earrings at Claire's. I couldn't wait to get in the car and drive by myself to school, to roll up to Wichita Collegiate in my sweet '94 Ford Explorer, windows down, Cranberries blasting on the CD player. The world [or Wichita, at least] was mine for the taking. Because I could go everywhere.

So imagine my surprise when I get in the car that bright morning, the sun shining, the world fresh and new with possibilities - and I realized, suddenly, devastated - I didn't know how to get anywhere.

I probably could have guessed that I was bad at directions, but I didn't know for sure until that moment. And what a sad, pitiful moment it was. All I wanted to do was get to Towne East Mall. I'd been there two zillion times. Yet there I was, paralyzed; I didn't even know where to begin. But like, literally. It's quite possible I wasn't even sure which direction to turn out of my driveway.

Realizing what I had to do, I collected myself, I turned off the car, and dragged my Doc Marten sandals into the house. [literally, dragged, do you remember how heavy those things were?] I averted my parents [unprepared to face the mockery that awaited me if I told them the truth]. I slunk quietly into my little brother's room and asked him ashamedly if he would mind terribly shutting off his gameboy for just a quick sec... and teach me how to get to the mall? And to Kelly's? And to Ali's? And to... everywhere else I'll need to go pretty much ever? I'm pretty sure he started drawing a map. And I'm pretty sure I surrendered what little pride remained to ask him if he could please just tell me rights and lefts, because I was pretty sure I couldn't read maps either.

That pattern continued essentially until I moved away from home. But leaving home didn't really change much about much. Once in college [in Texas] I called my brother [in Kansas] and [I'm not kidding] said something like, QUICK, I need to get back to Trinity, which way should I go on 410!? And he told me. And he was right. And I died a little inside.

I got cocky though, when I moved to Colorado. Sure, the first week I lived here I cried for a solid hour because I couldn't find Target, but that's neither here nor there. Somehow, slowly, I kind of figured out where I was going. You see, in Wichita, my entire life took place in a 1-block radius. At Trinity, I barely ventured off campus and when I did it was pretty much just to one place. When I moved off campus, I moved to that one place. So Colorado was a new thing for me - I lived in downtown Denver, went to school in Littleton, nannied in Lakewood - and I did it! All of it! All by myself [mostly]! Up until a week or two ago, I was feeling pretty freaking great about my ability to get effortlessly from point A to point B.

My family still makes fun of me for the events mentioned above, and I have been fighting it recently, insisting that I have recovered from the directional challenges of my youth. I was rehabilitated, see, I can even get to and from my friends' houses without Google Maps. But a hard truth became abundantly clear to me today as I drove aimlessly around Denver trying to find places I've never been before. Less than two weeks as a case manager [where a great deal of my job is, apparently, to do just that] and I feel I need to confess the truth to you:

I am [still] bad at directions.

I haven't called any out-of-town family members yet, but hey - there's always tomorrow.

May 18, 2011

[whatever the mess you are]

For as disheveled and discombobulated as I can tend to be, I really hate when things are counterproductive. I hate when I can visibly see that there is a goal and everything that's happening seems to be happening as though the goal doesn't exist. If I have to go to Kansas from Colorado, I don't want to have a layover in Florida, you know?

I have a [probably over-simplified and emotion-fueled] theory about authenticity: I think everybody wants it but everybody's scared of it so nobody does it. Counterproductivity in it's ugliest, most hate-able form.

We all want to fit in, to be accepted, to look and sound and feel right. I think no one [and I do mean no one] is excluded from this category, I don't care how self-assured or well-adjusted or popular or good-looking a person might be. So we're all out for this belonging business, at certain points [read: middle school] willing to get it at any cost. The thing is, no one really knows what they're doing, in general. So they fake it. I see that Veronica is doing so great, so I think that if she has it figured out, I better follow suit and at least make it look like I do too. So I fake it. Then Genevieve and Cynthia and all my other fictional friends who sound like they were named after American Girl dolls see that I have it all together, and they start faking it too. We're faking it to prove something to someone who's just faking it to prove something to someone else. 

Everyone is faking it. And honestly, I don't blame us.

Authenticity is messy, highly unpredictable, and not always pretty; and that makes people very nervous. As such, [I've said it before and I'll say it again] there is a great deal of risk involved in being authentic. We fake it for a reason. Being authentic rocks the boat. People don't really like it when you rock the boat because it threatens the safety of their boat, and everybody wants to have control over their boat. Including me. 

The logical part of me [which to be fair is a very small part of me] just thinks it's kind of simple. If we’re all sort of faking it, let’s just all sort of stop. If we embraced authenticity, if we recognized the beauty in being genuine, we'd be ok. Yes, we'd all be quirky and screwy and more than likely super awkward but we'd all be in it together. We fear rejection because it's a reality, it's a thing that can happen if we're not careful. We spend so much time being careful, though, that life can get exhausting and lonely and maybe we're not even having any fun most of the time. 

I don’t know what your story looks like, but don’t you for one-half second believe the lie that it makes you any less lovable. Because exactly the opposite is true: people love people for their stories. If you don't tell it, I truly believe you are depriving yourself of one of the best things I have ever experienced: being you, and being loved for it. Authenticity opens you up to a level of intimacy that isn’t attainable any other way. Faking might feel safe. But being content with safe is just silly when you consider what's possible.

Brokenness is a reality, but exhaustion and loneliness and rejection don't have to be. This is a thing that can change. So be authentic. For every middle school girl and middle aged man in this world for whom faking it feels like the only option, and for the consequent exhaustion and loneliness they think is unique to themselves --

Embrace your mess so you can embrace theirs.

May 12, 2011

no matter how many years go by

i carry your heart with me[i carry it in my heart]

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
[here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide]
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart[i carry it in my heart]

we carry her in our hearts

May 11, 2011

I can tell that we are gonna be friends

So sorry my blogging has been sporadic. That may be the case for a while because I am busy being busy and important at my job that's full time and important and keeping me so busy. And important. Am I bragging? Maybe. I'll stop soon I'm sure.

So far, so good -- at least in that I completed day 3 and I'm planning on going back tomorrow. I'm just in that awkward new-kid stage where everything is new, and I hate that. I like not being new. I like knowing things and knowing people and having answers instead of infinity questions and I like having friends and not feeling like I need to be cool and fun always and wear pink on Wednesdays so I can get in with the popular crowd. [In my head, work is a lot like the lunch room in Mean Girls.]

The thing that's annoying is that I can tell I'm going to like this job, a lot. I can tell I might even be good at it when I learn how to be and what to say and do and pretty much everything else I don't already know. I can also tell - and I pray wholeheartedly that none of them read this until we are friends - that we are gonna be friends. I only have a few skills I'm willing to brag about [including but not limited to: the Target Lady impression, great handwriting, funfetti baking] but one of them is that I can usually tell pretty quickly if I'm going to click with people or not. It's only Wednesday of my first week, sure -  but I'm pretty sure my coworkers are great. I like them and I think when I stop being gawky and awkward they might like me too. Both of those things are great and hopeful - but I'm ready to get there. I sort of want to just stand up at lunch tomorrow and be like, "Look, everybody. We're gonna be friends. Can we just skip the part where we pretend we're not sure about that yet? Give me a nickname and let's go to happy hour or something that people who work and are also friends do with each other."

More than likely I will exercise some restraint; I will lay low for a while and ask my infinity questions and try not to drive anyone crazy while I do. I'm not terribly patient, though, never have been. If we're not all besties by Friday at 5, I can't promise I won't try to win them over with funfetti. Nothing brings people together quite like funfetti.

May 2, 2011

I am not just me

I have complained so much about being unemployed. Not just occasional whining, not just "I have nothing better to say" complaints but genuine, heartfelt, deeply rooted complaint. So as this transitional part of my life wraps up, it came as quite a shock to learn that I was actually going to miss some of these things I've been whining about. I'm going to miss the baby, even though some days he can be tyrannical in ways I did not know babies could be. I'm going to miss the Hedge Fund even though I still don't really know what it is and I hate loading printer paper and my hands are always paper cut from filing.

So I get that I sound utterly ridiculous. I am very excited to have a job. For real. And to the people who have fallen victim to my whining, I apologize in advance for the M. Night Shyamalan plot twist I am about to throw at you.

Even though I've been dying to move on, as it turns out, I'm sad about moving on.

Here is a fact about what it is like to be me: I am an attacher. I get attached. I pride myself in not being a stage-five-clinger [generally speaking] but I do, after prolonged periods of time with other humans, find myself often inexplicably attached to them. It doesn't matter if they are tiny and refuse to take naps or if they are brusk money-handling types. It doesn't matter if they are normal or exciting or crazy or wah-wah debbie downers.

When it comes time to leave them, I'm going to have to give myself a second to grieve it.

The annoying part is that I always forget this about me. At each transition, then, I find myself confused and startled at my emotions. Usually someone [my mom, mostly] will say, "oh yes, I expected this." And then I'm all, "Well why didn't you tell ME!??!?" because I am almost always caught off guard by it. When I got sad last week about leaving the babe, I wondered to myself if this attachy way of being was really good, in the end. Should I work on it? Maybe transitions don't have to be this hard every time. Maybe I can fix this about me.

But the thing of it is, wrong or right, I like this about me. I like that I get attached. I like that I feel the absence of people when they're not around anymore because it means they meant something to me when they were here. I like that when I say goodbye [even if it's not a real goodbye but just an I-won't-see-you-all-the-time-anymore goodbye], my heart feels a pinch that stays for a while. There comes a time to move on, and I usually can. But the person I am right now in this moment, the person who interviewed and was offered and accepted a big girl job wasn't just me as I am right now today.

It was Suzie's mentor. Bodie, Andrew, Gabe & Sara, Christina, Micah, Lucy [the kid who liked to rescue stray cats after school], and even Luke's nanny. The HF's trusty paper stacker. The most paranoid part-marker Weaver Manufacturing ever saw [I kept having dreams that planes crashed because parts were mismarked. It was traumatizing]. It was my childhood best friend and the bully from middle school art class and a bunch of roommates and the kid I taught how to fist bump at First Pres. It was the old lady who wanted me to help her decide [for hourssssssss] if she should buy Matchstick or Bootcut corduroy pants. It was everyone I've ever gotten attached to and it was a bunch of jobs I maybe didn't love with a bunch of people I definitely did. My point is, I did not grow up in a vacuum, but surrounded by people [for better or worse] who meant something.

I am not just me. Or at least, I didn't get to be me all by myself.

And I don't think I want to change anything about that.