Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

Knowing

It is 9:18pm and I am spent, empty, listless. Mondays can be like this, but today cast a heavier burden than usual. I drove to the kid’s school three times – almost four when I realized Kayla forgot her gym clothes. I baked bread, did dishes, made dinner, baked chocolate chip cookies. Helped Zach with four times as much homework since he missed school today. I drove to two stores and got my eyebrows waxed in an hour’s time. My activity tracker should say I walked the equivalent of five miles, but it only says 2.5 – a typical non-exercise day for me.

This weariness started at 5pm when I realized that today was all “doing” and not “knowing”. I did a plethora of things for those I love, but I didn’t invest in knowing them more and for that, I am sorry. I spent my time unwisely today. Yet, this is a typical pattern for me and I’m not sure how to change it. I sit in the living room, at the table, and look at their faces. I marvel how much they have changed over the years. In a few weeks, Abby will be five and do I remember how she looked when she was nine months old? Memories fuzzy, tasks always at hand. I don’t know how to get to know them better, to help them understand that they matter to me.

My failure to know haunts me with icy words. “They will leave you and never come back.” “You are missing out on everything.” “Why try to know them better, the time is so short.” And I withdraw into this gnawing pain. I don’t have an answer, I only know the question. And I usually have it together, which makes this all the more difficult. I understand the mechanics of the solution, but not the heart of it.

So I am quiet and listening and looking towards tomorrow, searching for grace.

Not Safe


Three years ago, I witnessed a horrible tragedy that caused
the death of a friend.  The incident
replayed over and over in my head in those dark days afterwards and I pleaded
to God saying, “If this is how life is – ending in a twisted moment where one
human attacks another and it is over in an instant, I don’t want to live safe
anymore.  I don’t want to make decisions
that are predictable or expected.  I want
to live a different life – a life where I’m stepping out into what you want,
God.
  Into what I cannot see or
understand – a dangerous, jumping off a cliff kind of life for you.”  I was terrified of what I had just seen, but
this prayer was definitely the most dangerous prayer I had ever prayed. 

It was a prayer of despair and I didn’t fully realize it
then, but it changed my mind – how I thought about everything; transformed how
I wanted to live.
  I remember later that
day at home feeling frozen, unsure of how to move forward, what direction to
take. 

I remember praying again, “God, I am terrified to pray this,
but please take this life and this fear and I will do whatever you ask.  I don’t know how and why and when, but I will
do it.”  I didn’t know if I could follow
through, but I knew that God was with me.

Months later, I left my job under circumstances I never
could have predicted without financial plans to make that reality work.  For the first time, I was living that
“unsafe” life.  I wrote here about free falling.

As I look back three years later, I see that God has allowed
me to “jump off my cliff”.  I have a new,
calm rhythm to my life.  While from the
outside, it looks ordinary, quiet, and predictable.  Back then, today’s reality was unthinkable,
scary, undoable. 
 

I’m grateful for that “unsafe” prayer that I prayed.  I believe it opened a door for God to work in
my life in ways I never imagined possible.
 
I am humbled and honored that God brought me to this place. 
   

What “dangerous” prayer have you prayed and how did God
change your life because of it?

Restlessness

I’m restless tonight…I have this sense that I should be doing something, but when I look around at the messes made, to do list unfinished, books unread, sewing projects ½ done, I know that those are not the things that I should be doing. I look at my laptop on…then I turn it off entering the avoidance once again.


But this time, I walk through the rooms of this tired house looking for something, looking on my phone for something…always looking and not finding. Irritated I pick up the laptop and turn it on knowing that this is my destiny yet fighting it kicking and screaming.


The screen glows blue and then white…my fingers begin moving, creating, searching and maybe this time finding.


I stumbled upon a book recently called “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)” by Jeff Goins. I stared long and hard at the cover. I knew at that moment that I did not need to read this book, I only had to do what the title said – start acting like a writer. (I’m reading it anyway.) The truth is that I’ve been hiding over here and allowing the distractions of the day-to-day to get in the way of who I am and what I’m supposed to do. Only until now, there was no guilt or pain or discomfort in doing so. Over the last several weeks everything I allowed to distract me has lost its luster or has been removed. I can’t focus on anything for any length of time if I even have the desire to begin it.


This same author, Jeff Goins says in another short book he has written called “The Writer’s Manifesto” that a writer writes because he cannot NOT write. If I had read this six months ago I would have laughed at the idea of that. Now that I’m here in this desolate, unrelenting, purposeless place, I can’t agree more. These words will push their way out of me one way or another and it seems lately they are intent in coming out in painful ways.


So, I’m writing because there is this part of me, once small, yet growing and pushing and relentlessly calling me to put the words out there and maybe I will just find what I’ve been looking for.

The Swing

Kayla and I went to the park in the woods today. She played on the playscape a bit and then we both decided to swing on the old, sturdy, metal swing set – the kind they had when I was a kid.

As I climbed higher and higher I was surprised at how airborne I was and how every time I swung up how I hit that brief “sweet spot” where for a moment I was free falling. It was breathtaking and terrifying all at the same time. I kept up the pace for awhile amazed at how frightened I was. As we walked back home, I realized that right now, I’m in the “sweet spot” of life.

I’ve risen up pretty high up until this point and now I’m not quite falling and I’m not headed back down. I’m floating in space and completely out of control. My whole life is in limbo – everything I’ve known in my professional life is different – I’m no longer working. I’ve wanted to be home with the kids for some time, but we were not ready for that financial change. Through a series of unforeseen events, I’m no longer working and happy, thrilled, terrified, and hopeful all at the same time – I’m floating and looking around at the top of the trees in wonder of what can be.

When I got off that swing, I was surprised that my head hurt, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. When God allows changes to shift your whole mindset, it definitely hurts a bit, but the end result is always worth it. So, I’m giving up on controlling it all, because I have to. Instead, I’m looking forward to each new day as a way to see and view this world as He has called me to see it.

Windfall

Windfall – when we see that word, we think of money – an unexpected availability of money. While windfalls like that are nice, they are typically short lived and we usually don’t remember where the money went.

I’ve found myself in an unusual type of windfall these days – a windfall of time – time with family, friends, and my kids. This type of windfall has never really happened to me and quite frankly, I don’t quite know what to do about it. My initial thoughts are to take each day at a time, savor it, be thankful and intentional in all that I do and it’s got me thinking – why don’t I always do that? Why don’t I take this gift of time and spend it with others – really being there and engaging myself with them?

Time spent like this tends to be a strange mixture of joy, pain, chaos, and an overarching amount of intensity. I welcome it, yet fear the emotional toll it will put on me. But I’m here – standing on the precipice of it and praying that I spend this time wisely because like everything, we never really know how long it will last.

So, I ask that you pray for me as I am in this windfall of time. I’m very thankful for it and want it to be permanent, but don’t currently understand how it can last.

Thank you.

Fragments

There are pieces of thoughts, emotions, and experiences floating around in my head – fragments really of what happened. I think that overall I’ve gotten over the big stuff, but there are still things lingering that I haven’t fully dealt with.

There is a heaviness and dread that I sense near my workplace. Maybe it is all of us collectively hurting still from everything that has happened. Time heals all wounds, sure, but that process is slower for some than others. I try my best to stay away from it…to not let that outside influence steal my joy.

I am judgmental of people and how they treat others thinking that we should all be a little nicer to each other after what have been through. But then I turn around and I become angry easily over little things. (Fortunately I have learned not to direct this anger towards others.)

I think about how fragile life is and how it can be stolen in a moment. It makes me think that I’m not taking enough risks in life; not giving enough, writing enough, loving enough, reaching out enough. That realization is painful, but pain I have not allowed myself to feel and really deal with. For so long I have made excuses about all of those things and now here I stand at the crossroads and realize that I have to go down that challenging road…how can I not after all of this?

I think of my friend’s smiling face – always sunny even when others were cruel, when she faced personal struggles, when challenged with anything and everything. I’m so happy to have the memory of her smile.

As I put these fragments together I realize what I’m seeing is the picture of someone who is still healing…that someone who can’t admit these things to herself…because she always has it all together… Yes, it’s true, folks…that girl, she’s not perfect.

Whew, it feels good to get that out.

Ramped Up

So yesterday I wrote about joy and well, today, I’m just a little ramped up and not exactly of the joyful sort. I have found that the last couple of days I’ve been getting worked up pretty easily. As I look from the inside out and evaluate myself, I realize I’m just overreacting. I’m just trying to figure out why that is just so second nature of me.

I’ve been a pretty intense person since I can remember. My Mom recently told me about how when I was a little over a year old (about Abby’s age), I would do the throw-yourself-on-the-floor tantrums. Growing up, I always wanted just that one close friend and was always on the lookout for her. I had that best friend just about every year, but found my high school years to be a bit more challenging in the best friend department. I think that people were just overwhelmed with me. When I was your friend, I was your friend all the way – no holds barred and I think I just scared people away. Because of the experiences I had with people rejecting me through the years or not completely opening up to me, I got kinda choosy with my friends and that is where I am today…a little wary, a bit cautious, making sure I don’t bowl people over with me, me, me!!! (Ask my sisters about this. They put up with it because they have to! Love you both!)

I’m a bit intense, you see, but have found ways over the years to reserve the total freak outs for situations that require them. But every-once-in-awhile I regress. Today was one of those days. Every little thing just put me (mentally) over the edge until I could feel my heart just pounding in my chest. “What the heck is going on here?” is all I could think.

I start to pray…I realize it comes back to fear…fear of a situation, a memory, an unlikely possibility. You see, fear is what paralyzes me, what paralyzes all of us. Today it manifest in me in panic – a sense of being off kilter. I think of each situation and one-by-one I pray them off – handing each one to God. My heart rate slows down, the panic leaves.

Now I can breathe and welcome the joy. I re-read yesterday’s post – I return to this center. Oh what a challenging theme I’ve chosen!

What is your theme / resolution for this year? What keeps you centered?